Windows 8 ARM support: A blow for Intel and a boon for NVIDIA

Now it is confirmed that Windows 8 will be supported by ARM processors. ARM processor, which is widely used in smartphones and tablets, is going to get a huge boost by this. With Microsoft announcing ARM based Windows 8; it is more or less guaranteed that it won’t go well with Intel. Microsoft’s move is clearly an indication of what is happening in the tablet PC market. Yes, Microsoft wants a share of the tablet PC market which is now dominated by ARM based devices.
Intel may be the topper in PC market, but ARM is the king of embedded devices. So, to have a stronghold in the embedded devices market, Microsoft needs the help of ARM. Intel is certainly reeling under the growth of tablet PCs and to add in salt to injury, here comes the move by Microsoft. It has to be said that, one of the major beneficiaries of this move will be NVIDIA. With their ARM-based Project Denver Chip which focuses on the production of CPUs based on ARM, NVIDIA CPUs are ready to hit the market this year itself. NVIDIA and Texas Instruments have already planned to put ARM-based chips in laptops to reduce the market share of Intel.
Windows 8 ARM support
But Intel seems to be untouched by the event (or pretends to be). Intel CEO, Paul Otellini said, “We have always had to have the best chip to run on Microsoft software, when you have the best chip you win. It is not just the architecture that is important though as there is a vast library of legacy applications out there, supporting the x86 platform. In PCs the value of legacy in compatibility of the 6 million applications to billions of users is pretty substantial. I don’t think the users will easily walk away from that”.

What makes ARM different? Certainly, ARM provides more flexibility for tablet manufactures. Arm saves more power, which is ideal for portable devices. The pricing is more generous as compared to Intel. The x86 market is dominated by Intel only, so we are forced to buy what Intel offers and pays the price Intel asks for. On the other hand ARM processors are available from multiple suppliers, with new ones appearing all the time, fully able to compete.

I think Intel is having a hard time but will the reputation built over all these years go in vain? No, not really. With some improvement in their technology, Intel can make a strong comeback. The news is that Intel’s research team is now focusing on decreasing the power consumption. ARM is more than useful for iOS style applications but it is not suitable for running multiple apps at the same time, playing high resolution video games and last but not the least, high performance computing. ARM is not good for high end laptops which require high performance. That is where Intel scores, Intel chips are fully capable of operating under the above said conditions. ARM in PCs is now facing a similar challenge to x86 in handsets. The road to glory won’t be that easy.

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