ARM vs X86 – Key differences explained!

by: Gary SimsNovember 25, 2014
2.5K

ARM vs X86 - Key differences explained

Android supports 3 different processor architectures: ARM, Intel and MIPS. The most popular and ubiquitous of these three is, without a doubt, ARM. Intel is well known primarily because of its popularity in the desktop and server markets, however on mobile it has had less of an impact. MIPS has a long heritage, and lots of success, for both 32- and 64-bit solutions in a variety of embedded spaces, however it is currently the least popular of the three CPU designs for Android.

In short, ARM is the current winner and Intel is its big brand rival. So what is the difference between an ARM processor and an Intel processor? Why is ARM the more popular choice? And does it matter what CPU is in your smartphone or tablet?

The CPU

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is the “brains” of your device. Its job is to execute a sequence of instructions to control the hardware on your device (the display, the touch screen, the cellular modem etc.) to turn it from a lump of plastic and metal into a vibrant smartphone or tablet. Mobile devices are complex things and these CPUs need to execute millions of instructions to make them behave as we expect. The speed and power efficiency of these CPUs is critical. The speed affects the user experience, while the efficiency affects the battery life. The perfect mobile device is one that has high performance and low power usage.

Intel is the industry leader in desktops and servers.

This is why the choice of CPU is important. A power hungry, hog of a CPU will drain your battery fast, however an elegant and efficient CPU will give you both performance and battery life. At the highest level, the first difference between an ARM CPU and an Intel CPU is that the former is RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) and the latter is CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing). In simplified (and I emphasize , “simplified”) layman’s terms, RISC instructions sets are smaller, more atomic, while CISC instruction sets are larger, more complex. By atomic, I mean that each instruction roughly translates to a single operation that the CPU can perform, e.g. add the contents of two registers together. CISC instructions express a single idea, but the CPU will need to execute 3 or 4 more simplified instructions to perform it. For example a CISC CPU can be told to add together two numbers stored in main memory. To do this, the CPU needs to fetch the number from address-1 (one operation), fetch the number from address-2 (second operation), add the two numbers (third operation) and so on.

Intel_CPU_Pentium_4_640_Prescott_bottom

All modern CPUs use a concept known as microcode, an internal instruction set of the CPU that describes atomic operations that the CPU can perform. It is these smaller (micro) operations that the CPU actually executes. On RISC processors, the instruction set operations and the microcode operations are very close. On CISC, the complex instructions need to be translated into smaller microcode ops (as described above with the CISC add example). This means that the instruction decoder (the bit that works out what the CPU actually needs to do) is much simpler on a RISC processor, and simpler means less power and greater efficiency.

Fabs

The next major difference between an ARM processor and an Intel processor is that ARM has only ever designed power efficient processors. Its raison d’être is to design low-power usage processors. That is its expertise. However Intel’s expertise is to design super high performance desktop and server processors. And it has done a good job. Intel is the industry leader in desktops and servers. Every PC, laptop and server I have owned (with the exception of one) in the last 20 years had an Intel processor in it. However to get into mobile, Intel is using the same CISC instruction set architecture (ISA) that it uses on the desktop, but it is trying to shoehorn it into smaller processors, suitable for mobile devices.

When it comes to 64-bit computing, there are also some significant differences between ARM and Intel.

The average Intel i7 processor produces around 45W of heat. The average ARM based smartphone SoC (including the GPU) has a maximum instantaneous peak power of around 3W, some 15 times less than an Intel i7. Now Intel is a big company and they have lots of smart people working there. Its latest Atom processors have similar thermal designs as ARM based processors, however to do that it has had to use the latest 22m fabrication process. In general the lower the fabrication nanometer number, the better the energy efficiency. ARM processors have similar thermal properties at higher nanometer fabrication processes. For example the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 uses a 28nm process.

28nm-wafer

64-bits

When it comes to 64-bit computing, there are also some significant differences between ARM and Intel. Did you know that Intel didn’t even invent the 64-bit version of its x86 instruction set. Known as x86-64 (or sometimes just x64), the instruction set was actually designed by AMD. The story goes like this, Intel wanted to move into 64-bit computing, but it knew that to take its current 32-bit x86 architecture and make a 64-bit version would be inefficient. So it started a new 64-bit processor project called IA64. This eventually produced the Itanium range of processors. In the meantime AMD knew it wouldn’t be able to produce IA64 compatible processors, so it went ahead and extended the x86 design to include 64-bit addressing and 64-bit registers. The resulting architecture, known as AMD64, became the de-facto 64-bit standard for x86 processors.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The IA64 project was never a big success and today is effectively dead. Intel eventually adopted AMD64. Intel’s current mobile offerings are 64-bit processors using the 64-bit instruction set designed by AMD (with a few minor differences).

As for ARM, the story is a quite different. Seeing the need for 64-bit computing on mobile, ARM announced its ARMv8 64-bit architecture in 2011. It was the culmination of several years of work on the next generation ARM ISA. To create a clean 64-bit implementation, but one based on the existing principles and instruction set, the ARMv8 architecture uses two execution states, AArch32 and AArch64.

Cortex A53 and A57 Performance chart

As the names imply, one is for running 32-bit code and one for 64-bit. The beauty of the ARM design is the processor can seamlessly swap from one mode to the other during its normal execution. The means that the decoder for the 64-bit instructions is a new design that doesn’t need to maintain compatibility with the 32-bit era, yet the processor as a whole remains backwardly compatible.

Heterogeneous Computing

ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture is an innovation that Intel is nowhere near replicating. In big.LITTLE the cores in the CPU don’t need to be of the same type. Traditionally a dual-core or quad-core processor had 2 or 4 cores of the same type. So a dual-core Atom processor has two identical x86-64 cores, both offering the same performance and using the same amount of power. But with big.LITTLE ARM has introduced heterogeneous computing for mobile devices. This means that the cores can be different in terms of performance and power. When the mobile device is not busy, a low-energy core can be used, but when you start a complex game, the high performance cores are used.

ARMv8-A Processors - a single scalable architectue

 

But here is the magic. When talking about CPU designs there are a bunch of technical design decision that alter the performance and the energy usage of the processor. When an instruction is decoded and prepared for execution the processor (both Intel and ARM) uses a pipeline. That means that each minute aspect of the decoding process is parallelized. So the part to fetch the next instruction from the memory is stage 1, then the type of instruction needs to be examined and decoded- stage 2, then the instruction is actually executed – stage 3, and so on. The beauty of pipelines is that while the first instruction is in stage 2, the next instruction is already in stage 1. When the first instruction is in the execution step (stage 3), the second instruction is now in stage 2 and the third instruction is in stage 1, and so on.

This principle of using more complex logic in the processor for better performance, and less complex logic for high efficiency, doesn't only apply to the instruction pipeline.

To make things even faster these pipelines can be built so that instructions can actually be executed in a different order than in the program. There is some clever logic to work out if the next instruction relies on the result of the instruction ahead of it. Both Intel and ARM have out-of-order-execution logic. But as you can imagine that is some really complex technology. Complex means power hungry. On Intel processors the designers choose to implement out-of-order-execution or not. But with heterogeneous computing that isn’t a problem. The ARM Cortex-A53 uses in-order execution, meaning it uses less power. But the Cortex-A57 uses out-of-order-execution, meaning it is faster but uses more power. In an big.LITTLE processor there can be Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores, and the cores are used according to the demands being made. You don’t need super fast out-of-order execution to background sync your emails, but you do when playing complex games. So the right core is used at the right time.

think big.LITTLE

This principle of using more complex logic in the processor for better performance, and less complex logic for high efficiency, doesn’t only apply to the instruction pipeline. It equally applies to the floating point unit, to the SIMD logic (i.e. NEON on ARM and SSE/MMX on Intel), and to the way the L1 and L2 caches work. Intel offers one solution per Atom SoC, ARM, through its silicon partners, offers multiple configurations many of which can be implemented simultaneously in the same silicon.

Compatibility

ARM is the current leader in terms of mobile processors. ARM’s partners have shipped 50 billion chips based on its designs, all for mobile and embedded markets. For Android, ARM is the de-facto standard and this leads to a problem for Intel and MIPS. Although Android uses Java as its principle programming language, it also allows programmers to take their existing code (in C or C++, for example) and create apps. These “native” apps are generally compiled for ARM processors and not always for Intel or MIPS. To get around this Intel and MIPS need to use special translation software which converts the ARM instructions into code for their processors. This of course impacts performance. At the moment MIPS and Intel can claim about a 90% compatibility with all the apps available in the Play Store. That figure is probably closer to 100% when dealing with the top 150 apps. On the one-hand that is a good coverage, but on the other hand it shows ARM’s dominance in that the other processor designers need to offer a compatibility layer.

Wrap up

Building a CPU is a complex business. ARM, Intel and MIPS are all working hard to bring the best technology available to mobile devices, however ARM is clearly the leader. With its focus on power efficient processors, its clean 64-bit implementation, its heterogeneous computing, and its role as the de-facto standard for mobile computing, then it looks like ARM is set to remain at the top.

  • Sunny

    Wow great article!

    • DeLeon629

      Second that. Well written.

  • Clarence Alvarado

    Another must read from Android Authority! Thanks for this!

    I have a question BTW, does this mean choosing the right Android smartphone means opting for ARM-based SoC is a must need?

    • Luqmaan Mathee

      Always go for ARM. As the article says, higher compatibility. I also believe that there are less ROMs for x86 devices. Not sure about MIPS.

      • MasterMuffin

        The reason for x86 devices having less ROMs may be because they aren’t popular. If the next Nexus had Intel inside, it would have a lot of ROMs (and I think that would be a good move from Google).

        • Demigawd

          No, I don’t think so.

          Go read a book please.

          • Neeraj Yadav

            Try again Mr Gawd.

            No, because…?

          • othesick

            demigawd: ”subjective opinion.”
            demigawd: ”implies you are stupid for not having the same subjective opinion”

        • othesick

          yes. it would increase competition. competition is nothing but good for us consumers. it would push arm to bring out better processors. who wouldnt want that?

          • Olegas

            BTW, there are bigger cores and there are smaller cores, bla bla bla… OK, I agree, it’s good. But if an x86 has to fetch a number from address A and then fetch a number from address B and add them up, it takes 3 processes and requires huge additional amount of power. How about a multicore Cortex deciding which (big or small) core to send the process to? 8 cores: 4 big, 4 small, 8 addresses to choose from and furthermore, read which address routes to which type of the core. How much power does that take?

            I guess if Microsoft wrote a similar article, we would see some ideas inside out comparing to this one.

            BTW2, I read that a small number of apps is capable to use all 8 cores of MT6592 (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mediatek-MT6592-SoC.111604.0.html).

          • othesick

            I don’t think it would take a huge amount of power. I don’t fully know what you mean by huge additional amount of power. I’m not very well educated on this topic. that’s why I kept my point simple which is that it would be good for the competition.
            I don’t fully understand why you felt the need to tell me a lot about cores and processes. I never mentioned anything of the sort in my comment. were you talking to the others and not directly to me?

  • Pramod Lekkala

    Aweome article, thanks android authority for this

  • Anonymousfella

    Nice and informative article. Good job Gary!

  • MasterMuffin

    I think the next Nexus (phone or tablet) should have an Intel inside. Google has been giving chances to smaller manufacturers like LG and Asus, now it’s time to help Intel!

    Also since there was no mention of hyper-threading: HYPER-THREADING FTW :)

    • RGS

      Is hyper-threading even available in Intel’s mobile processors?

      • MasterMuffin

        I’m 99% sure that the answer is yes

      • Tomislav Nagode

        If you mean mobile pcs like laptops then yes. If you mean tablet pcs and phone then no :D !

        • Walkop

          Just sayin’, yes it is. Core M is hyperthreaded.

    • Green Droid

      No muffin, wake up.

      ARM is the best choice now.

      • Marty

        From what I read and understood, ARM wins. And Qualcomm-made ARM cpus are the choice.

        Can’t wait for the 810-equipped M9. :)

  • Vinícius Henrique

    We need Android Authority in Brazil!!!!!!!

  • Mr james bunt

    I would rather have a Intel chip inside my phone , tablet or computer. Why ? Because Intel is like a father of chip making and we should respect it .

    • Cloudy

      Are you totally derranged???

      Geez.

    • will

      Did you mean to post this in an apple forum?

    • Jake

      Intel is the main culprit in CPU business and should go bankrupt.
      For God’s sake, x86 is an ancient architecture from late 70s. The whole world is currently stuck with it only because Intel’s greed lead to the Itanium fiasco. It’s time to move on. For humanity’s sake, Both Intel and MIPS should die, at least in the mobile segment. AMD is still alive only because Intel allows it in fear of falling victim to anti-trust. See what’s happening: Noone gonna utilize the new AVX because it’s Intel exclusive. I don’t want this kind of inefficiency happening in mobile.

      • Jeansen

        I think you don’t really want Intel and MIPS to die. Just because they had a bad start doesn’t mean they are bad for all eternity in the mobile segment. And also, and that’s the most important reason why they should not “die in that market”, is because of competition. I actually want for Intel(and actually especially AMD, but they will probably never enter mobile market ) to get a good chunk out of it. So the prices drop and we get better mobile devises for less money. Just imagine if there was only ARM (or only Qualcomm) suddenly. Dayuuum ! Prices for these CPUs would suddenly skyrocket

      • abcdefgqwerty

        I dont know I think intel does a pretty good job. Competition is always good though

  • Dragonscourgex

    Very nice read. Good job.

  • tomn1ce

    Interesting read…

  • Jayanand Supali

    This was by far the most amazing article i have read here. Amazingly informative in every aspect. between the Desktop CPU wars, i have always stood by with AMD for price for performance factor. Power Consumption is not really a matter on desktops. But when it comes to Mobile devices which run on Battery power, the game completely changes. Reading about the way ARM has developed its CPU’s and the way it intends to, it most certainly will make a mobile device power efficient. And this is the key for mobiles which demand high amount of graphic and instruction processing.

  • One of the best explanations that I have ever seen on this topic. Now, just do away with the ads that literally cover up the phone’s screen.

  • Mikel Pr

    super biased.

  • Maestro

    AMD’s k12 design may be something to behold in the mobile market with it’s compatibility to both arm and x86 architectures. With a 14nm manufacturing process, AMD may be taking the mobile market by storm, ironic considering the efficiency of there past chips.

  • Jeff Thomas

    Thanks. Informative article.

  • Raj Sharma

    very sad tale of the giant chip maker and an English company, after all every war can not be won with mere might, full marks to the author for explaining the difference between RISC and CISC technologies so clearly…

  • TheDiamondGames

    “CPU…… to control the hardware on your device (the display, the touch screen, the cellular modem etc.)”

    This will be changed in spring because of… because of project ara.

    • Jake

      Ara = DoA.

  • abstrktionlyr

    “…latest Atom processors have similar thermal designs as ARM based processors…”

    Felt like you could’ve at least mentioned the specific figures of 2W and 4.5W being the lowest TDP competitively relevant Intel CPUs, on both the Atom (silvermont bay trail SoCs) and Core (core-M broadwell SoCs) fronts respectively, instead of using specific figures for irrelevant desktop CPUs (“average Intel i7 processor produces around 45W of heat”) and using vague relative wording (“similar thermal design”) for relevant mobile CPUs, so as to not make the gap between ARM and Intel’s best case CPU TDP seem drastically wider than it is.

    Whenever OEM executives and/or engineers are asked during interviews/AMAs why we aren’t seeing more Intel SoCs in phones, the near unanimous answer is always the one-two punch of ‘no integrated LTE’ and ‘great but still statically less great than ARM compatibility,’ in that order. When LTE is a concern, ARM [specifically Qualcomm] as we all know wins out. When LTE isn’t a concern, greater compatibility wins out over any price to performance ratio advantage Intels SoCs have. And speaking of Intel’s price to performance ratio advantage, you can dig up review comparisons of Motorola’s old ‘RAZR i’ vs their ‘RAZR M’ phones to see that even back in the medfield days, in the closest thing to an apples to apples comparison we’ve ever gotten between x86 and ARM on a phone, the Intel equipped RAZR was posting better synthetic and real world benchmarks while still managing to get better battery life. Granted ARM has made even larger strides in power efficiency than Intel since then, but I still felt like the whole lack of integrated LTE thing was worth mentioning since its always cited as a primary reason as to why OEMs opt out of offering more Intel equipped handsets. Still, I don’t think merely introducing an integrated LTE solution is going to solve Intel’s phone woes. ARM will still have the compatibility advantage due to the natural implications of ARM having won at phones first, plus their chip makers like Qualcomm and MediaTek have better relations with OEMs that’re known more for their phones [Samsung, LG, etc] while historical Intel’s best relations have been with OEMs that’re known more for their PCs [Lenovo, Acer, etc].

    All that being said, I must say, this was one of the best ARM vs Intel write up I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Fantastic job Gary!

    • NiceGuysFinishLast

      Sorry to bring up an old topic for you but I wanted to mention from your comments above that it’s easier for us, even devs at server/desktop level, to comprehend the narrative of comparing Arm vs. an Intel x86 chipset which we are much more familiar with. I’m a VB dotnet, C# & new Java programmer and don’t spend much time on assembly level OS programming but I need to be familiar w the basic thread I/O equivalent in Arm for app level optimization. I like many folks are just starting to venture into mobile programming and this article was very helpful understanding implications behind application design upon inception stage vs. planning for app/cpu optimization after an application is already built. However your points are very well made after as I read further along. I never understood why Intel couldn’t simply build an API/QPI transport bridge on a mobile atom chipset and have CPU instructions for integrated modules like LTE connectivity, dedicated GPUs, etc… But I guess that defeats the whole purpose of SoCs and manufacturers being able to offer rapid production/compatibility/support correct?

  • Raghavendra

    Wow! An amazing article! Well written, has a great direction overall! :)
    I found one Typo in the article – Change the 22m to 22nm for 22 nanometer technology.. :)

  • Ondra Lopata

    Great article!

  • Daniel Collins

    One interesting thing to note is that Intel subsidizes the cost of it’s processors, actually causing a big dent in it’s recent profits, as a result of it’s aggression in the mobile industry. I personally don’t like intel’s intrusion into the mobile market, and I don’t like the arbitrary features they implement into their processors. They are innovative, but ARM is certainly the future, and should remain the future, of mobile.

    • Dariolym

      Why don’t you let the future choice what will the future be?
      Isn’t it weird to decide “ARM should remain the future of mobile” ?

  • Jeansen

    Sorry I’m no computer specialist but I think how the cisc CPU is described is wrong. I think it’s more like that CISC can make one complex operation while RISC makes several simple operations. E.g.
    CISC: load number of address 1 and load number of address 2 and operate them together and the store the solution in address 3, all in one operation.
    While RISC:
    Operation 1: load number of address 1
    Operation 2: load number of address 2
    Operation X: ad them to each other
    Last Operation: store the solution in address 3.

    • Grzegorz Zawadzki

      Right. And isntead of Heterogeneous processors with different cores. we have Heterogeneous dekstops. Fast and simple ARM speed simmiliar GPUs and complex CPUS. That way we have something way better than ARM :).

  • tehkirby

    Intel has been coming out with better and better chips. This is good all around because it will force the whole space to innovate. People really shouldn’t count out either x86 or MIPS either. Also, ARM chips have manufacturers and Nvidia has been really spicing up the tablet market with their wonderful GPUs. This competition will force everyone to be their very best.

  • khizar_07

    If you look at the MIPS based Android tablets from Ainol you will see that they have a 20% better battery life.
    The reason being that the MIPS incorporates some of the CISC features.
    RISC is a good idea but it requires the memory to be very fast. Memeory technology has failed to keep up to speed with processor technology and that’s why the CICS processors have won!
    Android will be moving to MIPS once the satellites de-orbit. Android apps are written in a Java like language. Currently there are plenty of MIPS apps.
    ARM Ltd is just a pathetic company that knows little processor technology. Their design is an old IBM CPU design and merely changed the instruction set. Merely a Ponzi scheme on the Stock market. You can go to opencores.org and find a design that is just as fast. I can design myself something 10 times faster than ARM Ltd Reference designs.

  • kobla nyomi

    Great article. Your break down is superb.

  • GregoryGr

    Will Intel make an impact if they bring their 14nm cpus in the smartphone market?

  • noxxi

    loved this

  • gva

    Superb article, straight from Computer Science lecture! I like technology sites that actually know what they are talking about. Well done.

  • Arnab

    Awesome…

  • klaudyuxxx

    i7 5500u for laptops draws 15W. Far from the 45W specified in this article.

  • Mukundan Govindaraj

    clearly explained.

  • Mahesh

    Good!
    While this article has tried to address the key differences in different processor architectures, it also has a comprehensive coverage on understanding their significance in the user space.
    Appreciate the way this is represented to make even a novice Engineer understand it absolutely.

  • Iman Bagheri

    One of the most outstanding features of your article is the fact that you have high definition photos combined with high-tech information.

    As an electrical and electronic engineering student, I found your website very useful as well as fascinating.

    I knew some information of ARM and Intel architectures. However, I personally have never had such a clear justification between these two types of CPU architectures. To me, I strongly feel satisfied by your important information.

    God bless you and might protect you, GARY SIMS.

    Gary, If you need any help in designing electronic projects, advanced engineering mathematics and etc., just feel free to ask.

  • Faggot

    This article is very biased towards Intel. Please keep the shilling out next time

  • NiceGuysFinishLast

    Read this a few months back and read it again today, now that I’m further along in my learning curve. Makes much more sense now. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

  • Joe

    Excellent article!

  • thefanfx

    Agree ARM will stay for a while , but not as a leader in hi-end , it will never be , and sooner or later intel and even AMD will catch up , ARM have no future , because the future is always related with raw power , and we can’t squeeze more raw power from ARM than any x86 solution. And ARM will never catch up the available x86 software solutions especially the business one … so in conclusion … ARM is just a cheaper weaker solution focused on efficiency and low cost .. but cant bring any evolution in matter of raw power and software performance …

  • Borat Sagdiyev

    WOW!

  • Michael Parker

    With Windows giving free licenses with cheaper devices there’s a plethora of Windows 10 tablets to compete with Android and IOS so hopefully this extra competition pushes X86 development beyond the mediocre Z8000 series they’re putting out now.

  • John

    Great article. Thanks for the writeup!

  • Carrotroot

    Intel simply missed the boat on mobile, they were years late in re-tooling their processors to be functional in phones and tablets. This allowed ARM to secure a strong foothold early on.

    • coldspring22 .

      Not only that, business model of ARM vs Intel is totally different. ARM is low overhead licensing model for Android OEM, where as Intel model is to charge $$$ for premium cpu, which just doesn’t fly in mobile space.

  • Alex Ellis

    A very informative read. Thanks for the write up.

  • aa

    A very informative article I’ve just read right now! It’s actually the first great info. that I have read this 2016!

  • shakum

    This is an informative and still very relevant article indeed!

    to respectfully add a few notes, ‘Intel’ is not an architecture, rather it is ‘x86’. Although initially manufactured by Intel, Intel is just one of the companies that were signed on to build (what later became x86) processors for IBM, the other being AMD. This necessary dual production was important for IBM’s business model as well as to operate in mission critical environments that demanded layers of software/hardware redundancy e.g. aviation. It also helped popularize the x86 vs. the imo more superior 6502 and later derivatives used in the Apples and Commodores.

    CISC and RISC both have their benefits. Pure RISC is more hardware-efficient simply because it’s logic circuits are designed to operate on mostly just the minimum essential instructions needed to perform all the needed higher-level operations. While this approach is efficient from a hardware/transistor-count perspective and obviously suitable for battery operated devices, it is actually inefficient computationally for a majority of the diverse heavy workload tasks that tend to always require fixed pattern of instruction sequences, This is where CISC processors simply lump these commonly used operations into a single but more complex logic circuit and execute as a single instruction in fewer clock cycles than a RISC and call it a day. Today’s x86 processors are not completely CISC either. They are designed to take CISC code at the assembler level, but they actually break them down into RISC like micro codes that allows designers to simplify the x86 internal logic whilst being able to handle complex instructions. This evolutionary method was first invented by Nexgen and through acquisition quickly incorporated into the AMD processors. Intel followed by doing the same thing. At the end of the day, Processors will always evolve to provide the best balance of compute power and efficiency for our ever changing computation requirements.

    I also wouldn’t say “The story goes like this, Intel wanted to move into 64-bit computing, but it knew that to take its current 32-bit x86 architecture and make a 64-bit version would be inefficient. So it started a new 64-bit processor project called IA64. This eventually produced the Itanium range of processors. In the meantime AMD knew it wouldn’t be able to produce IA64 compatible processors, so it went ahead and extended the x86 design to include 64-bit addressing and 64-bit registers. The resulting architecture, known as AMD64, became the de-facto 64-bit standard for x86 processors.”

    It was widely accepted that Intel’s IA64 was an attempt by intel and their partners looking at billions of $$$ on monopolizing the industry and sidelining competition from AMD, VIA and Cyrix by possibly hijacking the large x86 consumer base (that was initially created by the compatible standards that IBM had setup for the personal computers). Intel failed on the IA64 project because the processor was complicated, buggy and poor performing and not aligned with what the industry truly needed; it was aligned to what Intel thought was a good business decision for capturing market-share. Intel decided to fall back onto the standard which was previously set forth by AMD’s 64 bit design, which was evolutionary and unselfish just like how the ARM 64bit was evolved. AMD till today still preaches open-standards and innovations that move the industry forward and favors the community. This is also why AMD recently released an ARM based high-end server chip “Opteron A1100” to help push ARM technology into the server market for specialized tasks that truly benefit from such architectures.

    As consumers, we should not favor one brand over the other despite the corporate battles that are fought in order to please Wall Street and lure us into a camp. Decisions should be made on performance and ethical reasoning behind what’s strategically best for the industry and the consumers.

  • Sam Greenaum

    Confused writing. Jumps around from one idea to the next with no greater structure in mind, no natural flow through the concepts. Looks like the author only half-learned the subject himself, from a combination of other websites like this one, and press releases.

  • Sim Ao

    Awesome! Was informative!

  • malikperang

    Great article!

  • hgoebl

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks a lot!