ARM is a dead end

Przemek Klosowski przemek.klosowski at
Fri Jun 15 16:52:45 UTC 2012

On 06/14/2012 07:57 PM, Kevin Kofler wrote:

> So even smartphones are going x86 now. It looks like x86 is going to defeat
> ARM just like it defeated all the previous attempts at changing the
> instruction set, even Intel's own IA-64. The fastest x86 CPUs are still
> worlds faster than the fastest ARM CPUs. This new smartphone's single-core
> Atom is competitive in speed with other smartphones' multi-core ARMs.
> So I would urge Fedora not to waste our time on a low-end architecture
> filling a temporary niche which will become obsolete as demand for
> performance increases.

There are three axis to this 3D space: performance, energy efficiency 
(MIPS per Watt or, rather, useful computation per Joule), and price. 
Intel did wonderfully on the first axis, but lags ARM persistently on 
the remaining two, and ARM seem to be catching up on performance.

Watch the price, especially. Low end ARM Cortex M chips cost less than 
one dollar, and require just few passive components in a simplistic but 
complete running system. Raspberry Pi runs Linux for a total system cost 
of $15 ($20? $30). The goal here is computers so cheap that if one falls 
behind a really big and heavy desk that's hard to move, you sigh and get 
another unit. Seriously, only at this price point it'll be practical to 
deploy massive amounts of computers into scenarios like 'white goods' 
and party photo-balloons and such, and Linux wants to be there, so it's 
worth to pay attention to ARM.

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