Intel: We will trump ARM in power efficiency

The chipmaker told Reuters that it is confident its upcoming chips will be power-efficient enough to compete with and overtake its U.K. rival in the mobile processor market.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

Intel is confident it will overtake ARM Holdings in the low-power mobile processor arena and that its upcoming silicon chips will pull away from its competitor's offerings, according to a senior executive.

Justin Rattner, chief technological officer at Intel, told Reuters in an interview Tuesday that its upcoming Moorestown processor will "equal" ARM's processors in terms of standby power. ARM processors are predominantly found in today's range of smartphone devices.

Medfield, the next-generation chip after Moorestown, will equal ARM's chips on active power, he added. "I expect us to just pull away after that because we have a fundamental technology advantage, which [ARM] does not have," said the CTO.

An earlier ZDNet Asia report stated that Moorestown, which is the ultra-low-energy version of Intel's Atom range of processors, will help the company better compete in the smartphone market. The chipmaker noted that a Moorestown-run device could run continuously for two days--20 times longer than its predecessor, Menlow.

Shreekant Thakkar, chief platform architect for Intel's Ultra Mobile Group, said in the report that Moorestown will offer more performance than ARM's Cortex A8 and A9 platforms. He went on to add that its U.K. rival does not deliver the aggressive power management of Moorestown because the latter does not have chips with performance in that class.

The rivalry between the chipmakers has been sharpening not only in the mobile arena, but the server space as well. In an earlier report, ARM's marketing chief Ian Drew told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet UK that the company was conducting a handful of experiments to test out the viability of using its chip architecture in servers.

However, an analyst whom ZDNet Asia spoke to said that the U.K. chip licensing will face an uphill struggle trying to gain a foothold in the competitive server market.

Rajnish Arora, associate vice president for enterprise computing at IDC Asia-Pacific's domain research group, pointed out in an earlier interview that enterprise customers generally do not make changes to their computing platforms quickly.

This is because they tend to have an extremely long test, evaluation and qualification process to introduce new hardware into their IT environment, he added.

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