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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:30 pm

Pithagoros
Colossus at Bletchley Park was not developed to help decode Engima messages. Its purpose was to discover the settings for the centre 2 reels on the Lorenz cipher machines.
Yes, Excellent nitpick there. We should not allow the internet to corrupt the facts of history.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:45 am

GTR2Fan wrote:
Heater wrote:Do what? What is an 86000?
Maybe R61zt means the 68000?
No...he probably means either the 8086 (or it's entry level "little brother", the 8088) or *possibly* the almost never used 80186. Note that he goes on to spew conspiracy theories about "286", which would be the 80286.

The 68000 (with follow on 68010 and 68020, plus the later 88000) were Motorola chips.

He also suffers from the delusion that there is a possibility that everyone will eventually know enough programming to write all of their own applications code, or at least be able to read any source code they want an make sense of it.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:55 am

cyrano wrote:Intel is a monopolist. No trick is too dirty, but they are balancing because they need to keep AMD alive or face legal problems.
So was IBM in it's day. Do you think *any* company wants to be a minor player in it's field? Have you ever worked in a corporate environment, or are you just throwing rocks at the windows from the outside?
A recent example of their bad tricks: they paid a number of benchmark developers to optimize for Intel chips. These benchmarks show Intel's chips to be twice as fast as AMD's. With an independent benchmark, the difference is only 5% or less.
Again...nothing new. Pretty much every company that makes gear that can be benchmarked has been caught trying to get better looking results through chicanery.
And Microsoft is in on this game. They used to get information before anyone else. That has changed, as Apple has become such a big customer that Intel has decided to try and play them both. That's why MS has been looking at ARM a lot lately.
This may be news to you, but any company with a very large customer will provide early access to new products to maintain good relations and keep that customer happy. Oh...and Apple is hardly that big an Intel customer. Check the relative numbers of Apple PCs vs. WinTel PCs being sold. Indeed, if anyone is the big chip supplier to Apple, it's whoever is doing the work on their tablet and cell phone processors at any given time.
ARM is scaring the hell out of Intel. Intel is next to non-existent in the mobile arena. That's all ARM. And together, Apple, Samsung, HTC and the Chinese are so big they even scare Intel.
That's got at least a seed of truth to it. Intel does want into the mobile processor market. They've been working on it for a long time, with minimal success.
There's one thing Intel is not able to do: build processors that don't need a lot of power. They still control the X86 heritage, because of all the existing software, but they know quite well that it won't last.

And that's why they are trying to absorb the Linux community, together with Microsoft and a couple of others. It's sad the Linux community doesn't seem to understand that the recent intrest of both MS and Intel isn't any good for the community. It's just another example of "embrace, extend and control".
Intel really doesn't *care* whose software runs on their chips, so long as they can sell lots of chips at high margins. Windows, OS/X, Linux...it's all the same to Intel.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:20 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
cyrano wrote:Intel is a monopolist. No trick is too dirty, but they are balancing because they need to keep AMD alive or face legal problems.
So was IBM in it's day. Do you think *any* company wants to be a minor player in it's field? Have you ever worked in a corporate environment, or are you just throwing rocks at the windows from the outside?
I have worked for both Intel AND AMD. IBM too, for that matter. Intel has a dog eat dog mentality that is taken as "normal". Compared to Intel, IBM and AMD are gentle.
A recent example of their bad tricks: they paid a number of benchmark developers to optimize for Intel chips. These benchmarks show Intel's chips to be twice as fast as AMD's. With an independent benchmark, the difference is only 5% or less.
Again...nothing new. Pretty much every company that makes gear that can be benchmarked has been caught trying to get better looking results through chicanery.
True, but certainly not for every company I've ever worked for or with.
And Microsoft is in on this game. They used to get information before anyone else. That has changed, as Apple has become such a big customer that Intel has decided to try and play them both. That's why MS has been looking at ARM a lot lately.
This may be news to you, but any company with a very large customer will provide early access to new products to maintain good relations and keep that customer happy. Oh...and Apple is hardly that big an Intel customer. Check the relative numbers of Apple PCs vs. WinTel PCs being sold. Indeed, if anyone is the big chip supplier to Apple, it's whoever is doing the work on their tablet and cell phone processors at any given time.
That's not the kind of information I'm talking about. This is inside information from one competitor's doings given to another. Strategic information. And ONLY when it serves Intel's purpose.

The Intel NDA is the worst I ever laid eyes on.
ARM is scaring the hell out of Intel. Intel is next to non-existent in the mobile arena. That's all ARM. And together, Apple, Samsung, HTC and the Chinese are so big they even scare Intel.
That's got at least a seed of truth to it. Intel does want into the mobile processor market. They've been working on it for a long time, with minimal success.
There's one thing Intel is not able to do: build processors that don't need a lot of power. They still control the X86 heritage, because of all the existing software, but they know quite well that it won't last.

And that's why they are trying to absorb the Linux community, together with Microsoft and a couple of others. It's sad the Linux community doesn't seem to understand that the recent intrest of both MS and Intel isn't any good for the community. It's just another example of "embrace, extend and control".
Intel really doesn't *care* whose software runs on their chips, so long as they can sell lots of chips at high margins. Windows, OS/X, Linux...it's all the same to Intel.
Oh, yes they do care a lot. Preferably, they'd like to supply the software too. They know it's not realistic when it comes to size. MS, Oracle and a lot of others play ball too. And they have a bundle of cash to play with. So invading the Linux space is the only way to conquer ground. Buying MS and/or Oracle is too expensive. Linux is quite cheap.

The Linux foundation underwent an almost coup a few weeks ago. The new director, a lawyer from the corporate world, succeeded in silently taking away voting rights from ordinary members. Those who pay 99$ a year. Only entities that pay half a million or so will be able to vote.

The same strategy is used all over the place. Open your eyes...

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:17 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
GTR2Fan wrote:
Heater wrote:Do what? What is an 86000?
Maybe R61zt means the 68000?
No...he probably means either the 8086 (or it's entry level "little brother", the 8088) or *possibly* the almost never used 80186. Note that he goes on to spew conspiracy theories about "286", which would be the 80286.

The 68000 (with follow on 68010 and 68020, plus the later 88000) were Motorola chips.

He also suffers from the delusion that there is a possibility that everyone will eventually know enough programming to write all of their own applications code, or at least be able to read any source code they want an make sense of it.
I'm the one who suggested that if most people were computer literate then it would be more difficult to sell software without including the code. The reason this is relevant to the current discussion is that open source software is why people are even able to use non-Intel compatible architectures. However, I also do not know what an 86000 is.

In many ways we've come full circle: Legacy software written for IBM System/370 used to sell a lot of hardware and inspired binary compatible clones from Amdahl. Intel manufactured microcontrollers eventually became powerful enough to replace mainframes. Mainframes are now called the cloud. Legacy software written for x86 sells a lot of Intel hardware and has inspired binary compatible clones from AMD. Presently ARM microcontrollers are becoming powerful enough to replace larger x86 compatible machines.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 8:15 am

I often wonder why, with its relatively small market cap, ARM is still an independent company and not swallowed up as were CSR by Qualcomm. Intel, Apple or another tech giant could buy ARM with the change found down the back of their sofa.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:37 am

R61zt wrote:The 86000 was dreamed up by FBI nutjobs during the nastiest part of the cold war. Nobody ever admitted to hardwiring in backdoors and extra debug shift registers to copy anything really interesting straight to the NSA. It was so successful that they called the next one a "286" and wrote software to confirm that the extra proprietary circuits were working as intended before it would start. Windows 3.1 requires extra circuits of a "386" before it will boot and also before it will ok a connection to a network card.

You pay extra for all that.

ARM does not have it.
poppycock and balderdash
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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:48 am

Pithagoros wrote:I often wonder why, with its relatively small market cap, ARM is still an independent company and not swallowed up as were CSR by Qualcomm. Intel, Apple or another tech giant could buy ARM with the change found down the back of their sofa.
Intel actually own a large chunk of ARM shares, but on the whole, the industry AS a whole believes ARM is best left independant (they are the worlds biggest IP company). There are many many companies using ARM IP, and they simply won't let it be bought. There is a tacit agreement amongst industry that if anyone tries to buy them, then they will all pile in and increase their own shareholdings to prevent it.
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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:22 pm

W. H. Heydt wrote:Wow...Quite a necro...

As for the original question, I think think of several contributing factors. The big one is: Competition. There are really only two producers of x86 chips, and one of those is struggling. Basically, Intel can charge what it likes and there is very little price pressure from AMD.

...
There's plenty of price pressure from AMD - they are significantly cheaper - but the problem is market share: no one is buying AMD chips in the quantities AMD need them to. They need to get the big OEMs shipping tens of thousands of boxes with AMD chips in them in order to have a hope in hell of competing. To do that they need to either: produce something that can significantly undercut Intel's prices with "acceptable" performance (and without dumping out heat by the bucketload); or, produce something that can give Intel a serious run for their money in terms of performance and yet still be cheaper.

AMDs future is not a bright one. It's hard to see how they can make the investment needed to compete with Intel when they're haemorrhaging money at the rate they currently are. Separating the graphics division was a smart move, that's their one really competitive asset (but even then they're still smoked by Nvidia in many ways). I think Zen really will be make-or-break for AMD as a CPU company. Losing AMD from the x86 CPU market would be a huge loss
cyrano wrote:Intel is a monopolist. No trick is too dirty, but they are balancing because they need to keep AMD alive or face legal problems.

A recent example of their bad tricks: they paid a number of benchmark developers to optimize for Intel chips. These benchmarks show Intel's chips to be twice as fast as AMD's. With an independent benchmark, the difference is only 5% or less.
AFAIU Intel didn't just pay them, Intel owns the SYSmark benchmark. In mixed GPU/CPU scenarios AMD are indeed a lot more competitive, but their single-threaded performance still falls far short of Intel. Throwing more and more cores at something will only get you so far, and AMD are falling behind because not enough people are buying their processors. I've no doubt that Intel have, and will, play dirty, but if those opportunities are also available to AMD then you can bet your butt on AMD doing the same thing to Intel.

When I hear AMD complaining about SYSmark (a synthetic benchmark that is not really representative of real-world performance) being biased towards Intel, what I actually hear is "chips based on the Zen microarchitecture will not perform well in benchmarks, so don't expect something that can compete with an i5-6600K, let alone an i7-6700K."

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:36 pm

Actually I cannot agree with the argument being made. The real killer for AMD and INTEL is phones and tablets took market away from them and so did games consoles.

PC chips are over kill for a lot of people and systems on a chip provide cheap affordable experiences without the high price tag.

The touch phone and touch cheap tablets have met the needs of the users for doing what they need, not what marketing tell them they need. You do not need a £300 pound system to text, read or browse, although high definition images might have increased processor need the cheap socs have shown they can provide the experience.

Tying people to expensive hardware needs is one of the reasons they are now pushing cloud storage, so they can charge to store your data but most people do not need it. Despite the sales push back up hard drives are more use to business or TV recorders. The cheap fix will win over the big investment in a uncertain market. All it needs is a Android business PC and the market will quake. It would hurt Apple, Intel and Windows to much for them to produce one for main line consumers.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:29 am

I have some friends who had a PC filled to the gunwales with malware and they had lost their Windows disk. So I installed Linux Mint.

These were Mr and Mrs Ordinary People. All they cared about was Facebook etc. Their daughter needed a word processor. They didn't know anything else existed. They couldn't maintain a Windows PC, much less a Linux one.

They had no problem whatsoever. Everything worked, they could do anything they wanted. The only reason that they got another friend with less moral compass to install a bootleg Windows a few months later was that it wouldn't run PC games. Whereupon of course they started to attract malware again like a hoover picks up fluff. (To be fair this was before malware started to target the browser.) Apart from the games, they did better with Linux than with Windows.

Android has had ages to get its act together and offer a decent word processor, and it has failed. There's no reason for that that I can see; there are 10" tablets with decent keyboards and mice that have been around for years. If we can fit LibreOffice in a 4GB SD for the RaspPi, an Android tablet would be perfectly capable of running it.

Back when Microsoft was two guys in garage, there was a popular saying "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM kit." They had the market by the throat; there might be better hardware out there, but if you wanted a secure career, you bought IBM. Those days are gone. Now nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft or Apple kit, but as Attar of Nishapur said, این نیز بگذر.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:22 am

Microsoft never was two guys in a garage.

Couple of unergrads using their university's computer centre resources to write a BASIC interpreter more like.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:05 am

rurwin wrote: Back when Microsoft was two guys in garage, there was a popular saying "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM kit." They had the market by the throat; there might be better hardware out there, but if you wanted a secure career, you bought IBM. Those days are gone. Now nobody gets fired for buying Microsoft or Apple kit, but as Attar of Nishapur said, این نیز بگذر.
The irony of that approach was that, while the US Justice Dept. went after IBM for being a monopoly (they had 70% of the mainframe market), no one ever even thought about going after them for having 80% of the office typewriter market. If you ahve ever used a Selectric typewriter, you know why they dominated that market.

When IBM developed their PC, one of the goals was to have a keyboard with the "touch and feel" of a Selectric. They never quite achieved that, but they came pretty close. They have since licensed the key switch and spring system used in those keyboards and *that* is why I buy and use Unicomp keyboards. They are worth every cent I have to pay for them.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:35 am

I only scanned the thread, so sorry if this is a repeat.

Well it is simple. The x86 series CPU's are way more complex, do to having to deal with legacy considerations, as well as a wrapped CISC instructions set, variable size instructions words, as well as the use of a separate IO address space. This all contributes to extremely large development and implementation costs for x86 based CPU's. You add to this that implementing a system around an x86 CPU is needlessly complicated do to the buss architecture of the x86 CPU, and a few other strange considerations, and the cost of any board is going to be great do to the development cost alone. Then to get something that is close enough to being 'PC/AT' or 'PC/ATX' complaint to be able to run standard x86 operating systems, you are talking about a huge cost in legacy support, implementing a BIOS, etc.

This is why you see projects like ZetCPU implementing PC/XT class hardware, the development cost can be reduced with the older architecture.

There is a reason that the ARM is the most popular CPU on earth, it is powerful and simple to use in all aspects.
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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:41 am

Sadly, a lack of competition is a detriment to the end-users, leaving them vulnerable to predatory practices, which is (after all) the goal of monopoly.
The announcement that Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7 or 8 on processors other than Skylake is another example of the Wintel collusion, now more openly bare-faced than before.
As for Intel's view of it's customer-base, look up "delidding" Intel chips - where overclockers have discovered that Intel is now using cheap TIM (thermal interface material) between their chips and the IHS (integrated heat-sink) rather than solder, so like any thermal paste, it will dessicate over time and leave your chip overheating (time to buy a new one!). Those brave enough to delid and replace the Intel-supplied thermal paste with a higher quality paste have reported drops in temperatures of 10C or more.
The difference in companies can be seen on whether (and to what degree) they are predatory on their "clients".

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:12 am

DavidS wrote: Well it is simple. The x86 series CPU's are way more complex, do to having to deal with legacy considerations, as well as a wrapped CISC instructions set, variable size instructions words, as well as the use of a separate IO address space.
ARM also has the issue of backwards compatibility...and we should be glad about that, since it means that Model Zero/A/A+/B/B+ code will run on the Pi2B. This also extends to the 64-bit world, where 64-bit ARM chips have to be able to run 32-bit ARM code.
There is a reason that the ARM is the most popular CPU on earth, it is powerful and simple to use in all aspects.[/b]
Low power. Power use is a concern that overrides almost everything else in the mobile space. Batteries are bulky, so by the time you slim down the device, there isn't much room for batteries and your chips had better use as little power as possible, even if that means reduced capability.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:39 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
DavidS wrote: Well it is simple. The x86 series CPU's are way more complex, do to having to deal with legacy considerations, as well as a wrapped CISC instructions set, variable size instructions words, as well as the use of a separate IO address space.
ARM also has the issue of backwards compatibility...and we should be glad about that, since it means that Model Zero/A/A+/B/B+ code will run on the Pi2B. This also extends to the 64-bit world, where 64-bit ARM chips have to be able to run 32-bit ARM code.
True with qualification. The ARM started out well enough designed that extending the ISA to support what new is needed really does not make a huge change. While there is great compatibility between generations of ARM, this has yet to need to worry about legacy (except when there was still the option of running in either 26 bit R15 vs 32 bit R15 mode, even this was simple though). Now there is the ARMv8, and the little need of consideration is of little note, as it is still simple.

The ARM is still extremely simple in design down to any level, even with multiple instruction issuing, branch look ahead indexing, multiway associative caches, and the multiple non-ARM extensions that are provided next to the ARM base. This simplicity is do to the well thought and very future proof design of the original ARMv1. There are no legacy considerations on the ARM, as there has never needed to be a significant change to the architecture.

With the x86 the changes in operation going from real mode, fixed segmentation to 286PMode was extreme, then again with the transition to 386PMode, and the need to maintain 100% compatibility so as to always support even the earliest operating systems, then there is v86 mode, add to this maintaining the use of port IO despite it being a relic of low memory systems, all for compatibility. Then there is the addition of AMD64 bit mode (licensed by intel from AMD as IA64), none of these modes can be inter compatible do to the poor design that was at the beginning (good design for the time, just not extendable to newer designs with out hacks like these).
There is a reason that the ARM is the most popular CPU on earth, it is powerful and simple to use in all aspects.[/b]
Low power. Power use is a concern that overrides almost everything else in the mobile space. Batteries are bulky, so by the time you slim down the device, there isn't much room for batteries and your chips had better use as little power as possible, even if that means reduced capability.
Low power definitely contributes, though so does low cost, short development time for ARM based products, flexibility of the ARM architecture, etc.
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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:49 am

TheGuyUk wrote:Actually I cannot agree with the argument being made. The real killer for AMD and INTEL is phones and tablets took market away from them and so did games consoles.

PC chips are over kill for a lot of people and systems on a chip provide cheap affordable experiences without the high price tag.

The touch phone and touch cheap tablets have met the needs of the users for doing what they need, not what marketing tell them they need. You do not need a £300 pound system to text, read or browse, although high definition images might have increased processor need the cheap socs have shown they can provide the experience.

Tying people to expensive hardware needs is one of the reasons they are now pushing cloud storage, so they can charge to store your data but most people do not need it. Despite the sales push back up hard drives are more use to business or TV recorders. The cheap fix will win over the big investment in a uncertain market. All it needs is a Android business PC and the market will quake. It would hurt Apple, Intel and Windows to much for them to produce one for main line consumers.
Phones and tablets have taken a huge chunk of the home PC market, but that's not what's killing off AMD and phones/tablets are hardly a threat to Intel. Intel was very slow to respond but they are getting there: the Atom Z8300 is a nominal 1.44GHz quad core part with an integrated GPU which has a TDP of 2W. For an x86 processor, that's pretty damn impressive. That aside however; Intel's real money, like Microsoft's, comes from enterprise, HPC, and business users.

The idea of an "Android business PC" is, frankly, laughable, if it was a realistic concept then someone would have done it already. Android does not integrate into an enterprise environment; it's far too riddled with security holes and malware. Sure the same can be said about Windows -- and, though it's a tiresome argument, the same probably will be said about Windows -- but the difference is that Windows can be tightly integrated into the server operating systems that enterprises are running. Patches and updates can be tested in a clean environment before they're rolled out to all users; security features can be managed remotely; computers can be re-imaged and re-purposed remotely. You can't do any of that with Android. You can do some - perhaps all - of that with Linux though, and Linux does have a strong enterprise presence. Linux probably won't be running on or controlling the desktop being used by Joe in HR, but it's probably running the really mission-critical stuff in the data centres.

Hell, banks still use systems designed 3 or 4 decades ago, in fact we have an increasingly acute problem with bank mainframe systems because the greybeards who maintain these systems are retiring or - and I'm not kidding here - dying. That's why it took banks like RBS & NatWest so long to fix the problem when customers couldn't withdraw any money or process the transactions - very few of the people who know these decades-old systems inside and out are still in the industry. Anyhow, this is a tangent.

The market that AMD and ARM vendors need to target is the one that Intel are all over; companies to whom £10,000 would be considered pocket change; companies who don't have their own in-house "day-to-day" IT people and have outsourced it all to various vendors & contractors; companies who buy the 4U server units filled with enough processors, RAM, and HDDs to make you go weak at the knees. ARM has found some niches in the data centre, and AMD has tried hard, but neither of them have caught up to Intel. (Although AMD has found success in enterprise/business with some of their GPUs, just not their CPUs/APUs.) Whatever happens to desktop/home computers, so long as these big buyers keep buying Intel/Windows the market will respond appropriately.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:15 pm

When Apple introduced the iPad people said it was just a giant phone what persons or business would need that.

How about reducing the electric used per desktop each year and reducing the heat produced. Let's replace that monitor with a low power use tablet display adjustable for health and safety. Take away that hardrive for a quiet solid state drive.

Absolute madness what small office would want such a device. Where is the money in IT support for that, at least there is still the printer scanner profits.


The idea would never float :)

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:17 pm

TheGuyUk wrote:How about reducing the electric used per desktop each year and reducing the heat produced.
Power versus performance has been improving across all domains of computing. For example, electrical efficiency is an important performance characteristic even for supercomputers. I'm not sure many secretaries would agree to switch their 27 inch monitors for 10 inch ones to save electricity, but the noise reduction from using passive cooling and solid state storage would definitely be welcome.

Electrical efficiency considerations aside, a used Pentium 4 PC actually makes a far cheaper Linux programming environment than the Raspberry Pi. If it is powered up only when in use, one could make up the difference in electricity by eating bread rather than toast and drinking water rather than tea or coffee. Running a server 24 hours a day or living off the power grid is, of course, a different matter.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:25 pm

ejolson wrote:
TheGuyUk wrote:How about reducing the electric used per desktop each year and reducing the heat produced.
Power versus performance has been improving across all domains of computing. For example, electrical efficiency is an important performance characteristic even for supercomputers. I'm not sure many secretaries would agree to switch their 27 inch monitors for 10 inch ones to save electricity, but the noise reduction from using passive cooling and solid state storage would definitely be welcome.
On the other hand, replacing a 27" monitor that uses backlighting with an OLED 27" monitor (when those come along) would reduce power without sacrificing much of anything else.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:21 am

Except, in my experience so far OLEDs fade and discolour with time. You will need to replace an OLED monitor every year or two.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:25 am

Heater wrote:Except, in my experience so far OLEDs fade and discolour with time. You will need to replace an OLED monitor every year or two.
Which is to say...they're not ready for prime time, unless they can be made to be *very* cheap. I suspect that the solution will be to get the durability up to some reasonable level.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:21 am

I'm well aware that I'm firmly off-topic, but to succinctly answer the title of the thread: x86 is so expensive because it's Intel's tech and Intel do what they want with it, whether it's to the benefit or detriment of end-users.
TheGuyUk wrote:When Apple introduced the iPad people said it was just a giant phone what persons or business would need that.

How about reducing the electric used per desktop each year and reducing the heat produced. Let's replace that monitor with a low power use tablet display adjustable for health and safety. Take away that hardrive for a quiet solid state drive.

Absolute madness what small office would want such a device. Where is the money in IT support for that, at least there is still the printer scanner profits.


The idea would never float :)
I'm not talking about a "small office" (which to me means 50-100 employees). Businesses that size don't drive the overall direction of the market and they aren't the ones that threaten Intel, AMD, et al. I've never worked in desktop support or networking, but I could have a fair stab at spec'ing out a power efficient IT infrastructure for a company of that size. The companies I'm talking about are the companies with 50,000-150,000 employees - if companies like that started buying ARM-based computers and servers in vast numbers instead of Intel-based ones, then Intel really would have something to worry about.

And FWIW, the paperless office is largely a joke. Step outside of Silicon Valley/Silicon Roundabout/high-tech/whatever companies into the real world and you'll discover that, on the whole, people crave dead trees just as much as they ever did. And holding up Apple as an example doesn't wash with me; Apple are not, and never really have been, a company that caters to business. They do their own thing and to hell with what anyone else wants.

To be clear, I'm with you: at work I'd much rather have an ARM-based SBC mounted to the back of my monitor (though you'd have to pry my Model M keyboard from my cold dead fingers), and I utterly hate having to print things out. I'm not saying we shouldn't change, or shouldn't strive for change, I'm just saying that we aren't the ones with the real power to upset the market.

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Re: Why is ARM so cheap, and x86 so expensive?

Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:44 am

Surely the big consumers of Intel processors today are those building those gigantic server farms, Google, Amazon, MS, NSA etc. Then there are the super computer builders.

Intel may have a fight on it's hands in that server arena soon. ARM is going 64 bit and server class ARM hardware is being developed. It's all about lowering power consumption.

It helps that ARM can be cheaper too. With so many vendors making ARM there is a lot of competition to drive the price down.

See news here:
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/12504 ... -video.htm

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