The only way MS can succeed in the mobile business is with x86

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices & Gadgets' started by OneOfTheseDays, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    No, just because someone else is building better chips doesn't mean you will use them, especially if you've invested $500 million into your own CPU team. Also, Apple builds it's own hardware, so it doesn't matter what SoC goes inside the iPhone or iPad, it's not as if an end consumer gets to pick and choose.
     
  2. happysmiles

    happysmiles Senior member

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    power and programming efficiency is key now.

    in the GPU world, there simply hasn't been the need for it, I know that AMD wants to make the GPU just as equal to push for better efficiency and competition. (which more and more programs are using the GPU now)
     
  3. tfinch2

    tfinch2 Lifer

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    Apple has already successfully switched from one chip architecture to Intel/x86 in the last 5 or so years with Desktops/Laptops. Why are you so sure they won't switch again once Intel starts rolling?
     
  4. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    Apple designs it's own mobile CPUs now?
     
  5. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Diamond Member

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    Apple doesn't design any of the x86 CPUs, but they do design ARM SoCs. This is a huge difference.

    The only way I can see Apple switch is if someone does it better and faster. The iPhone is a very time sensitive device and that's something Apple needs total control of. This is how we're able to get the A6 and A6X.
     
  6. TuxDave

    TuxDave Lifer

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    Ding ding ding. The one problem of vertical integration is that you lose the flexibility to quickly swap out parts of your supply chain (in this case the CPU design part). They have to take a pretty huge loss now to justify giving up all the infrastructure and engineers to switch.
     
  7. OneOfTheseDays

    OneOfTheseDays Diamond Member

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    If Intel puts out something that nobody on the market can touch you can bet your ass that Apple will switch. They've done it before and I see no reason why they wouldn't do it again.
     
  8. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    It's just extremely unlikely to happen because of the following:
    1) All iOS code is compiled to native code, meaning you'd have to run an emulator underneath everything sapping performance and wasting battery life.
    2) Buying a chip from a 3rd party is always more expensive per chip than building it yourself (one time cost vs. cost for every device, which since Apple sells hundreds of millions of each device, adds up)
    3) Increased performance of a chip != increased performance of a platform. End consumers only care that the device is fast, not what chips are inside it.

    Unless we are going to go into fairytale land where Intel suddenly learns to build extremely power efficient chips under 1W, Apple isn't switching to Intel in mobile.

    For further proof of this, Apple has always had lower clocked CPU parts than the competition, but smoked them because of performance optimizations. So it is not just about the raw capabilities of the CPU but what a company does with them.
     
  9. Red Storm

    Red Storm Lifer

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    I for one am glad mobile devices don't have x86. Why do we want to give Intel another monopoly?
     
  10. tommo123

    tommo123 Platinum Member

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    customers can actually. they can choose ARM via apple or intel via android/winpho
     
  11. Dominato3r

    Dominato3r Diamond Member

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    That $95 rumor is just stupid. What's the point of volume licensing if Microsoft is going to charge a manufacturer what they charge you and me for a single copy?

    And Android is free in name only
     
  12. arod

    arod Diamond Member

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    When it comes to battery efficiency intel has a history of nothing but failure.... battery efficiency is THE most important aspect of mobile processors these days. I think everybody here is putting far too much faith in haswell to change the game. Not saying it won't be competitive but I very seriously doubt it will be as good as people think (and arm by then will be much better than it is now).
     
    #37 arod, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  13. BenSkywalker

    BenSkywalker Elite Member

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    We have been hearing that for years. Just wait until next gen, they will suck less! It gets a bit stale after the first four or five years of hearing about it. The Razer I does well in SunSpider, and that's about it. Intel can show up late to the game and lose against mid range devices in ~90% of benches while offering no real benefit? Intel still sucks, badly, in the ultra portable space. Medfield, Cedar Trail, Cloverfield- Intel's failures when they try to compete against ARM just keep growing.

    That is problem one, Intel just plain sucks at making an ultra portable processor. The greatest achievement they have managed to obtain is not sucking horribly in every way.

    Problem two, ~50% of the UP market is controlled by people who control their own SoC IP and have the means to get it made themselves. Apple and Samsung own their own SoC designs, Apple can get it fabbed themselves while Samsung can actually fab it themselves. You could also throw Sony into this group when looking at people capable of keeping everything in house(although as of right now Sony isn't doing it for their UP devices yet).

    Problem three- Intel expects ~60% margins. While people can expect pie in the sky type philanthropy from Intel the reality is that Intel, their board and their share holders expect them to keep in the range of 60% margins. That isn't a sustainable goal in the UP market. Do you spend R&D time, resources and fab space to go after a market where the margins are half of your norm? What benefit does this have when moving the company forward? x86 ceased to be the top computing platform some time ago, ARM has had the mantle for a while now and the rate is accelerating. At some point Intel may be in a position where they are forced to accept significantly lesser margins, but everything to date indicates that if they are going to enter this segment, they are going to do it on their terms which indicates they will continue to demand high margins for parts that aren't very competitive at all. This isn't going to work to gain them any sort of traction.

    Problem four- graphics IP. Intel has nothing to offer for competitive GPUs, they are going to be forced to rely on licensing from PowerVR- Mali isn't an option and neither nV nor Qualcomm are going to help them out there. The reason this creates a major problem is because Intel's CPUs in the UP space are already *huge* compared to ARM offerings, PowerVR's GPUs are even bigger. In order for Intel to bring a part to the market that has any hope of being realistic from the battery life perspective they are going to be forced to use long outdated PVR graphics paired with their monstrous CPUs. This isn't something they can really do much about as their graphics IP and development of it is *very* far behind what nVidia and Qualcomm have, not to mention ARM's own Mali division. ARM has the advantage of designing to be power effective from the ground up, Intel's entire GPU goal has been to catch AMD/nVidia as much as possible and it shows in terms of their designs and the amount of die space it utilizes.

    Problem Five- Developers are already going ARM native. On Apple it has been this way for a while now, Android devs are also starting to push native ARM development. Intel is already dragging around transistor baggage in terms of x86 to uOps translation hardware, having to deal with another abstraction layer converting ARM code to x86 is going to hamper both their performance and their battery life. The only way around this is to give yourself enough marketshare to stop this from happening, but it is already too late on that front. The Windows mobile platform is their best bet, but to say that has been been a failure to date would be a bit of an understatement. While some people on these forums like to ignore it, BlackBerry is still doing better then Windows Phone. Trying to make decent headway before this trend becomes concrete is paramount for Intel, unfortunately it may already be too late on that front.

    Besides that though, Intel should be fine :)
     
    #38 BenSkywalker, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  14. tommo123

    tommo123 Platinum Member

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    how many times they fail is irrelevant. they only need to succeed once and continue that path
     
  15. Puddle Jumper

    Puddle Jumper Platinum Member

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    Samsung has never had a problem using outside SoC's when it benefits them to do so, they use OMAP 4 in the Galaxy Tab 2.0 lineup, Snapdragon S3 in several GS2 models, and Snapdragon S4 in the US market Galaxy S3.

    If I remeber correctly Intel does have their own basebands so they can compete with Qualcomm on that front.
     
  16. dagamer34

    dagamer34 Platinum Member

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    They only use Qualcomm chips when they are forced to or honestly in products they don't care about. Exynos chips always go into flagship models when they can (they weren't in US models due to lack of a good LTE baseband chip up until recently).
     
  17. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    Why would anybody care about monopoly?
    Only the best product(performance/watt, performance/price, or whatever metrics you want to use) will earn my dollars. I don't care whether the company is a monopoly or not.

    If you feel like buying Bulldozer/Phenom over an IvyBridge/SandyBridge processor, that's your prerogative.
    May the best product win...
     
  18. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    How much does Amazon pay to Google?
     
  19. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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    Have you been living under a rock the past decade? o_O
    What AMD processor since 2006 has had better performance/watt than Intel on desktops?
    What AMD processor since 2003 has had better performance/watt than Intel on laptops?
     
  20. pm

    pm Elite Member <br> Super Moderator<br>Mobile Device
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    You know, I look at this page and I don't see failure:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/13

    The battery life looks pretty good to me.

    Then I look at this:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6330/the-iphone-5-review/10

    and the performance seems pretty good too.

    And Penwell's die size (according to Anand's estimate) is 62mm^2 which - from my perspective anyway - is more than competitive.


    I work for Intel in the enterprise division and so I'm inclined to look at things a bit more optimistically, but I also respect BenSkywalker's opinion and as usual, Ben, you make good points. Although I would say Xeon was a nice step outside the x86 mainstream that was not a failure. And I don't see anyone talking about how few leading-edge foundries that are left....
     
    #45 pm, Nov 6, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  21. lothar

    lothar Diamond Member

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  22. tommo123

    tommo123 Platinum Member

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    i agree. i just wish intel would speed up the atom shrink. i'd love to see what they have in line 2-3 years from now