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ARM shakes fist at X86 notebook hegemony

by on31 May 2018

And Microsoft seems keen too...

We've waited years and years for ARM to offer a real challenge to Intel on the notebook front, and judging from what the company announced today in Old Taiwan, 2019 could be when Chipzilla discovers it has an Achilles' heel. Intel isn't invulnerable, despite its size, demonstrated, for example,  by the way it totally missed the boat on the smartphone front.

Speaking at a briefing in Taipei, Ian Smythe, senior director of the client business at ARM, announced three new bits of intellectual property (IP), spanning a range of devices from smartphones to laptops.

He said that ARM is ready to go-go on its Cortex A76 CPU aimed at laptops and smartphones, the Mali G76 GPU for high performance gaming, and the Mali V76 VPU.  The last will be licensed to vendors aiming at 8K HD displays.

He said ARM is looking “at a more connected future with 5G, multiple types of devices linked, and the potential for immersive reality”.  He said the Cortex A76 is “a really significant step up”. The A76 achieves twice the performance for smartphones and laptops, he said.  It will reach 3GHz plus built on a seven nanometer process, with 40 percent better power efficiency. “The battery life will outlast the work day.” And, he claimed, it will give twice the performance of its existing IP.


Naturally, we were interested in laptop share in the next year or two, but Smythe backed away from answering this directly. 

He told Fudzilla: “We're not making direct predictions but we're pleased we're working closely with Microsoft. We're focusing on improving the user experience in terms of Win 10, and we expect Microsoft to make some announcements.”

If Smythe is right, perhaps in 2019 we'll see ARM based notebooks that really give Intel a performance run for its money. This is the time when we expect the 7nm Snapdragon parts powered with 5G modems to appear. 

After totally missing the boat on the smartphone front, we've no doubt that Intel – and to a lesser extent AMD – will be watching these developments very closely indeed.

Last modified on 31 May 2018
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