ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

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ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:51 am

(Note: I'm taking this conversation away from the Does a Strong AMD Really Drive Prices Lower? thread)

I believe that ARM and its licensees have become a real threat to Intel in the consumer space. Intel dropped the ball by missing out on the initial wave of the current (2007+) smart device mobile market. This is comparable to BlackBerry taking 5 years to develop their response to the iPhone. Intel was in much better shape than Blackberry so they survived the initial onslaught but their time as the dominate consumer CPU manufacturer is over.

x86 is no longer the only game in town. Look at how the market has changed over the past 5 years:

Image
x86 sales in the consumer space have dropped below 2008 levels while ARM licensees have driven all the growth.


Look at the impact ARM based tablets have had on x86 growth rates:

Image


The big problem for Intel is that they really can't do anything about it. The most successful ARM licensees know that ARM gives them a strategic advantage. Even if Intel releases better mobile CPUs the ARM licensees won't give up that strategic advantage.

My guess is that ARM CPU tech will continue to advance at a rapid rate. As it stands now ARM CPU performance is excellent. Look at what Apple has down with the A7:

The A7 SoC is seriously impressive. Apple calls it a desktop-class SoC, but I'd rather refer to it as something capable of competing with the best Intel has to offer in this market. In many cases the A7's dual cores were competitive with Intel's recently announced Bay Trail SoC.


I'm looking forward to getting my hands on an A7X device in the not too distant future.

I foresee big gains for ARM licensees in the server space over the next 5 years.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:22 am

Your pretty graphs do not fit - this forum engine doesn't do any automatic resizing so you must resize them manually.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:20 am

They'd fit if you bought a larger monitor.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:40 am

Thank you for your very intelligent answer, it was extremely helpful :roll: Especially to all people who use mobile devices to read forums:

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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:57 am

Here's a 1/25th size version:
Image
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:59 am

I cannot use Internet Explorer on my iPad.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:15 am

Looking at unit volume is extremely misleading. Go redo those charts using revenue (or better, find someone else who has, since it would take a fair amount of work to be accurate).

Also, Intel, like Apple, has all the profit, so they have a lot more margin for error than any of their rivals.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:19 am

End User wrote: Look at what Apple has done with the A7.
JohnC wrote: Your pretty graphs do not fit.
JustAnEngineer wrote: They'd fit if you bought a larger monitor.
JohnC wrote: I cannot... on my iPad.
Isn't the irony delicious? :lol:
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:59 am

Sorry, ARM is just a minor player to Intel.

Intel's #1 advantage has always been semiconductor production technology. They are at the cutting edge and this advantage allow them to ride out their worse moments (mid to late stages of Netburst generation). Their chip designs and architects are almost as impressive. Intel isn't called 800-pound gorilla and Chipzilla for nothing.

ARM just awoken up a sleeping giant in the ultra-portable market. Haswell and its upcoming successors are eatting away at ARM's power efficiency niche.

Intel still makes handsome income from its enterprise tier stuff and desktop stuff nets a decent return, despite the fact that fewer people are getting desktops.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:01 am

For now, x86 is the hardware equivalent of Windows in mobile: last century's horse supported by unimaginative nerds and ignored by most everyone else.
Their first beachhead into the mobile world has been the profitless Nokia Lumia 520 series.

I suspect Intel still has wild dreams of beating Qualcomm, but probably not longer deluded enough to dream of beating ARM altogether. It's MediaTek they should be going after.
Intel employees should hope and pray that Intel executives as not as deluded as the Intel fanboys on this forum.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:19 am

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Last edited by clone on Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:28 pm

End User wrote:x86 is no longer the only game in town. Look at how the market has changed over the past 5 years:


x86 has never been the only game in town. It's just the only one that mattered. Everything else was ensconced in a ivory town, or marginalized in the ghetto of neglected tech. x86 was for the middle class in suburbia.

Intel executed better and pushed it's tech harder then the others. Everyone eventually just gave up.

It's also been more user friendly then other platforms. ARM still doesn't have a unified way to bootstrap their devices. It's 2013, how do they not have a standardized boot sequence?

x86 has also built up a large base of knowledge, and workers who have that knowledge are easy to find.

The big problem for Intel is that they really can't do anything about it. The most successful ARM licensees know that ARM gives them a strategic advantage. Even if Intel releases better mobile CPUs the ARM licensees won't give up that strategic advantage.


They can and are doing something about it. The power consumption of their chips has steadily crept downward over the years, and since x86 has such a large base of knowledge, they just have to get into the ballpark to start making a dent.

I don't think most of the OEMs using ARM are that wed to it, besides Apple. They would probably switch to Intel quite easily. Qualcomm and Nvidia aren't going to switch, but they only sell the chips. Samsung is an OEM, but they only care about the BoM.

My guess is that ARM CPU tech will continue to advance at a rapid rate. As it stands now ARM CPU performance is excellent. Look at what Apple has down with the A7:

I foresee big gains for ARM licensees in the server space over the next 5 years.


We'll have to see how fast the ARM companies can innovate, and what they bring to the table. Apple can craft the whole stack; the other companies use off the shelf parts at some point.

I'd be more confident about ARM if the ISA was GPLed, or some other copyleft license. I'm not sure ARM can push out advances fast enough to keep the platform relevant, and I'm not sure the ARM licensees are even thinking about competing with Intel.

We'll have to see what gets released in the coming years. Avoton is almost here, and it's very compelling. AMD could produce a nice platform given their experience in x86, but that's not a given. There is so many levels they could fail on.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:28 pm

ARM, along with PC performance becoming good enough that an upgrade every 18 months is no longer necessary, is why Intel suddenly started getting competitive with their pricing. It's an indirect threat, not that they'll lose a given chip sale to a rival but that if they get lazy and imperious again the market itself will move away from their technologies.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:47 am

I recently bought Lenovo K900 and i couldn't have been happier. The Phone rocks X86 dual core Clovertail+ CPU at 2GHZ and its blazing fast.

Performance is at par with Snapdragon 600's performance (Galaxy S4 has this chip) and considering Intel's dual core CPU's are matching snapdragon's high-mid range chip's performance, the next wave should bring real threat to ARM.

PS: Battery life is also not that bad, i can pass 1 full day with heavy usage.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:31 pm

clone wrote:if and when Intel releases a full platform that is compelling, ARM could lose 50% to 60% of it's presence in the span of a year which because they are asset light wouldn't kill them but would most likely cripple them

Why would companies such as Samsung and Apple give up their mobile CPU independance to Intel? Samsung can design and build their own CPUs. That is a strategic advantage that they will not hand back to Intel. Do you honestly believe that Apple will switch to Intel in the mobile space? Thats not going to happen.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:39 pm

JohnC wrote:Your pretty graphs do not fit - this forum engine doesn't do any automatic resizing so you must resize them manually.

Fixed.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:43 pm

peartart wrote:Looking at unit volume is extremely misleading. Go redo those charts using revenue (or better, find someone else who has, since it would take a fair amount of work to be accurate).

iPhone revenue alone trounces Intels revenue:

Image
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:43 pm

That graph doesn't really speak to ARM's staying power in the mobile market. Nor does such a high bulk revenue from the iPhone 5 mean that much for Arm, other than, at least for now, they have a steady revenue stream and a high prevalence in the current market.

Arm's agreement with Apple probably works out to a few cents for each iPhone sold. Whereas, in a device with an Intel chip, Intel gets orders of magnitude (ie, tens of dollars) more per device in profit, never mind revenue. That means that as soon as Intel finally gets a an x86 chip that is in the same efficiency league as ARM and of as good performance, they are suddenly in a much better position than ARM could ever be.

As stated, other than Apple, no other mobile OEM device maker has much reason to remain invested in ARM for the long term, should a company like AMD (less likely over the short term) or Intel (more likely) come up with a cost-competitive, superior-performing CPU for these devices. At that point, all it will take is a couple of generations of iPhones lagging behind Samsungs or whomever with these new Intel chips for Apple to seriously reconsider their stance.

Yes, thanks largely to Apple and the complacency of Intel (and AMD's lack of resources to be able to focus on the mobile market), ARM, for now, has a strong presence in the mobile market. But this could change within a couple of generations. And Intel has the manufacturing/R&D prowess and, of course, the x86 license, to make this happen. Whether that be 2 or 10 years from now.

Most companies that fall asleep at the wheel like Intel has in the mobile sector don't realize it until it's too late. By that time, because their so heavily invested in one market, they've bled market share and hemorrhaged revenue streams to the point where they can't really afford to go back to the drawing board. Intel's current substantial revenue is not dependent on this sector. As such, it's probably not the end of the world if they are a bit late to the party as they have much more resiliency and resources to bide their time until they've finally developed something truly competitive (which they've finally just about achieved). 800 pound gorilla indeed.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:56 pm

End User wrote:Samsung can design and build their own CPUs. That is a strategic advantage that they will not hand back to Intel.


Samsung already jump to Intel for the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1". When asked why, a Samsung representative stated Intel gave them a better price which lead to a lower bill of materials. Each of Samsung's divisions are run as separate entities, so they need to make money from the other divisions.

Intel is Inside the New Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-Inch
http://newsroom.intel.com/community/int ... 3-101-inch

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1" Intel Atom Z2560 Dual Core 1.60GHz 1GB Memory 16GB Storage- White
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834131535
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:39 pm

From all the recent news, I see the total opposite.

Most ARM license are going to get squeezed between Intel and cheap Chinese SoC.
Biggest looser in the next 5 years ? Qualcomm

You only get from Intel markets Intel will let you have.

Do you have any idea how far, far away ARM and its license are to match the engineering of broadwell 14nm server SoC ?

And now that Intel got 14nm for its 2014 roadmap SoC , I would be very worried if I was an ARM of Qualcomm investor... Not a good time.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:16 pm

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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:37 pm

clone wrote:End User Apple isn't in competition with Intel

Of course they are.

clone wrote:they use Intel

Intel is the best option for desktop and laptop CPUs at the moment. I jumped for joy when Apple announced that they were moving to Intel back in 2005.

clone wrote:Apple uses CPU's they don't build them.

Apple designs their own mobile CPUs. This alone gives them an incredible strategic advantage in the mobile CPU space. Apple is not going to give this up.

clone wrote:the next generation could have Intel inside.

Not going to happen.

clone wrote:please explain why Apple would refuse to switch to Intel given they already work with Intel in every other segment and if Intel offered up a superior platform?

Look at how much money the iPhone alone brings in. Why would Apple allow Intel to have any major piece of that pie.

clone wrote:also why do you believe Apple would leave it's fate in the hands of ARM?

ARM has served Apple extremely well so far. Apple's history with ARM goes as far back as the late 80's. An ARM CPU has appeared in almost every iPod since 2001 and in every iOS device since 2007. I don't see this changing.

The CPU performance of Apple's new dual core A7 is on par with Intel's quad core Bay Trail Z3770. The GPU performance of the year old A6X blows away that of the Z3770. The upcoming dual core A7X (October 22nd) will offer even more performance.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:59 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Samsung already jump to Intel for the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1". When asked why, a Samsung representative stated Intel gave them a better price which lead to a lower bill of materials. Each of Samsung's divisions are run as separate entities, so they need to make money from the other divisions.

Intel is Inside the New Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-Inch
http://newsroom.intel.com/community/int ... 3-101-inch

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1" Intel Atom Z2560 Dual Core 1.60GHz 1GB Memory 16GB Storage- White
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834131535

Sounds like a real winner. The battery life is atrocious when you consider it has such a low res screen to power.
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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:50 am

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Re: ARM and its licensees are a real threat to Intel

Postposted on Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:28 am

iPhone revenue alone trounces Intels revenue: ...


That is still really missing the point. The portion of that revenue going to ARM itself is trivial. Even if you added on a prorated amount of what Apple spends developing chips, it's small.

On the other hand, when you or an OEM buy a $200 CPU from Intel, Intel gets more or less $200. How many SoC's is that?
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