I love it when a video makes me feel like a prescient seer ;-)
So for the last couple of years I’ve stated I’m intentionally abandoning Intel chips in favor of ARM chips. While my reasons don’t directly match those given in this video, they are related. For example, I hate fans and want a silent machine. ARM dominates phones and tablets as they want low power usage / low battery drain – that also means low heating and no fan needed.
He does not mention the UEFI or Intel Management Engine issues. Too bad on that front. But does mention the cost advantages of lower transistor counts (and that M.E. does not come without more transistors and more power drain…)
Surprising to me is the idea that Microsoft is pushing for ARM chips. Then again, they know they have lost the phone & tablet markets so need to embrace that landscape as it stands.
Apple was an early adopter of ARM. Back about 1983 I sat a couple of hundred feet away from the guy who was evaluating it for the Newton device, and worked in the same department. So no real suprise that Apple is finding ways to expand use of ARM.
Also note that Apple has gone through 4 different processor types over the years. The Apple I & II were on very old arch chips, 8 bit MOS Technology 6502. Then there were the Motoroloa 68000 family in the Mac. Apple helped develop, and used, the Power PC chips for a good while, then lately moved to Intel chips. Their code base is designed for rapid porting.
Then there is just the point that for decades Intel has lived off of Moore’s Law (first stated by an Intel employee), and Moore’s Law is coming to an end. Chips are being made with 5 nm physical features. We’re running into quantum effects and the limits of light and stencils for masks. That wall is forcing multi-core with ever more cores. Much easier to do with small power efficient ARM cores.
So, 25 minutes:
Strange how companies that get in bed with TLA’s and align themselves against their customers best interests eventually run into troubles…
One of the features of the ARM business model is everyone can design their own particular mix of a kit of parts (CPU, GPU, etc) and then have if fabbed up at a general semiconductor fab (fabrication) shop. MUCH cheaper. Some ARM cores run a few pennies / CPU. Compare to Intel at $Hundreds. That is why the SBC (Single Board Computer) market is largely dominated by ARM chips. Hard to make a full computer on a board for under $30 when the CPU is $200.
Then there is just the fact that over time Moore’s Law has had an increasing chunk of the the problem space that can be done on ever cheaper platforms. In the beginning, even simplest problems took the biggest computers available. Then the mainframe gave way to the Minicomputer. It could handle much of the load. Then the PC carved off a large chunk of that. Over time this left a trail of dead companies behind as their niche moved to smaller hardware. Gone are DEC, Tandem, and others. Merged are Sperry, Univac, Burroughs. IBM moved strongly into services to make up for hardware sales losses. Even Apple moved into iPad, iPhone, and other dinky devices as the line of PC power class jobs moved into them.
The $40 Million Supercomputer of 1984 handled problems that now fit on my Raspberry Pi M3 with memory and computes to spare. Ever less of the problem space is left for the giant computers of today, and that inevitable march of the line of problem class is now crossing over the Intel CPUs. Some supercomputers now have an option of thousands of ARM chips instead of Intel.
As it stands now, I have ever less need for anything faster or larger than an ARM based SBC system. Everything I do can be done on them, with the possible exception of compile FireFox – though that looks to be a memory limit more than a CPU limit ;-)
Intel isn’t dead yet, but it has been stagnant for a while and it is certainly taking arrows. ARM chips are consuming it’s problem space / market. Nibbled to death by ducks is not a good way to go. They need a major rethink. A disruptive tech, not incremental Moore’s Law change. After 30 years of living from it, I doubt their corporate culture is capable of the needed change and disruptive leap that is needed.