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  • ARM versus the Intel Atom -

    We are watching closely the move of ARM into the netbook arena - is anyone familiar with the advantages of the ARM processors versus Intel's Atom -can the Atom really compete with ARM?


    HP is now considering using ARM in its netbooks.
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  • #2
    ARM processors do not run Windows so the question really is can ARM compete with Atom.

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    • #3
      False, they run windows CE (as well as many distros of linux).

      Most operating systems compiled to run on ARM processors are real-time operating systems, which don't operate a conventional event loop. This is great for applications such as robots where you have certain code that needs to be run at a certain time, and can NOT be late, however this is not so good for a general use operating system which has no real use for real-time support.

      The ARM does however use significantly less power (wattage) for the same amount of processing. Many smart phones run an ARM processor, as well as GPS units (My personal GPS has Windows CE + StrongArm 200mhz cpu). I don't think ARM processors will take over the netbook market, at least not until there is a version of windows that feels like XP, yet runs on ARM (XP Embedded?). People just aren't looking for something they have to administer to run such as linux. They want ease of use, and familiarity.

      Just my 2 cents.
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      RevFE
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      • #4
        Is there performance chart between ARM and ATOM ?

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        • #5
          there is alot of 7 inch touchscreen with arm processor on ebay, i guess they use them for industrial equipments. if they are things that i imagine, we can have both the touchscreen and computer in single place, and not troubling by the cables. it will be tidy option

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          • #6
            Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
            False, they run windows CE (as well as many distros of linux).

            Most operating systems compiled to run on ARM processors are real-time operating systems, which don't operate a conventional event loop. This is great for applications such as robots where you have certain code that needs to be run at a certain time, and can NOT be late, however this is not so good for a general use operating system which has no real use for real-time support.
            Don't BMW Nav systems run on a real time OS? Thought I remembered reading that somewhere


            Yea malcom summed it up pretty well. The main thing carPC users would be concerned with is that not only the operating system but any application that ran on it would need to be specially compiled for the arm processor. Even though linux could be compiled to run on ARM processors, all of the software would need to be native Linux apps compiled for an arm processor or run in a virtual machine. Wine translation wouldn't work.
            openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
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            • #7
              Intel still can't hold a candle to arm on low-power devices. When was the last time you heard of a mobile phone with an intel chip in it? For many years, if if your mobile phone didn't say "Motorola" on the front, there were pretty good odds that ARM designed it. There *still* pretty good odds that ARM designed the chips are running most of the things in your house that isn't an outright "computer".

              Nowadays ARM have been rapidly catching up with intel on crunching power, too. As others have pointed out, regular windows doesn't run on ARM. That's the only "downside" to ARM chip. I put downside in quotes because, at least for low power systems [netbooks], the truth of the matter is that linux is a far more appropriate system. Your games, and MS Office, run on Windows. If you're buying a netbook, and you want your high-graphics-quality games to run, you're in for a major disappointment.

              Write down a shopping list of the things you need out of a modern netbook; most of the time you'll find that Linux meets your needs. Honestly, it's no greater a learning curve than moving from XP to Win7. [Heh, heh. Vista. heh heh]


              Fun fact: ARM design chips, they don't mass manufacture them [at least, they didn't until very recently. I learned that while interviewing there for a job, many moons ago].

              Gary (-;

              PS Loooove my SheevaPlug. It has a 1.2GHz ARM chip in it, which handles all my OBDII needs, and a bunch besides, with absolute ease.
              OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
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              • #8
                Wine translation wouldn't work
                I thought winelib runs on ARM, no? You could still build and link your windows programs on Linux using it. I mean, I hate wine as much as the next guy, but it's not totally out of the question

                Gary (-;
                OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
                OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
                mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chunkyks View Post
                  I thought winelib runs on ARM, no? You could still build and link your windows programs on Linux using it. I mean, I hate wine as much as the next guy, but it's not totally out of the question

                  Gary (-;
                  Winelib would...but that requires recompilation. Wine itself doesn't, so for things like commercial GPS software....your outta luck.
                  openMobile - An open source C# Front End (why choose openMobile?)
                  - Always Recruiting Developers -
                  Like what you see? Donations are always welcome

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                  • #10
                    ARM based netbooks will be targeted at lower prices than intel. ARM chips are usually less power hungry than the Atoms. Sub-$200 Linux based netbook with great battery life.

                    Putting windows on the thing would be pointless. The reason why people buy windows based netbooks are because either they are just generally more comfortable with windows (as chunky said, that comfort is disrupted when upgrading from xp to 7 anyway), OR they have some app that they already own that they want to use on their netbook: ie, photoshop, msOffice, Centrafuse, etc. Of course, none of those apps are going to run on a Windows CE device. On Linux however, every open source app that runs on your desktop, will run on the ARM device. The end-user running Linux doesn't even care what his CPU arch is.

                    Furthermore, windows CE adds cost to the device, which puts them in the atom price range.
                    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chunkyks View Post
                      I thought winelib runs on ARM, no? You could still build and link your windows programs on Linux using it. I mean, I hate wine as much as the next guy, but it's not totally out of the question

                      Gary (-;
                      wine is not an emulator, it's not a virtual machine either. any ARM build of linux will likely have wine ported as well. But the problem is, Atmel Wine can translate x86 windows binaries. You need a virtual machine to emulate x86. I've seen Qemu + winXP and WOW on the PS3, but it was awfully slow (as are most things on the locked down PS3).
                      Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                      Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                      Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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                      • #12
                        Actually I played a bit last night. winelib builds fine on both my ARM and my PPC. As justchat said, that doesn't help with the closed source windows apps, but it is a semi-legitimate migration path for many tools.

                        Gary (-;
                        OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
                        OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
                        mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

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                        • #13
                          It occurs to me that ARM-based ICE units have been around for several years now. CD / DVD / MP3 / IPOD / NAV / BLUETOOTH...you name it and you can probably find it on eBay for under $400. But these are all essentially fixed-function devices. Typically, the entertainment side of the house runs in firmware and the Nav pieces run on WinCE or something similar.

                          So why is that? If the ARM architecture held any real promise as a viable carPC platform, surely the enterprising Chinese would have flooded the market with low-cost products.

                          I think the question posed in this thread has already been answered: ARM devices are well suited for low power, fixed-function applications, but bring no compelling advantages to a general purpose device. Just looking at the developmental toolsets currently available suggests a relatively narrow product focus.

                          In their particular pond, they are certainly the big fish, but its a small pond for a reason. As AMD has learned the hard way over the years, the only way to prosper in the processor marketplace is to be where Intel isn't. There's usually only room for one 800 pound gorilla in any given cage.

                          VegasGuy

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                          • #14
                            Just looking at the developmental toolsets currently available suggests a relatively narrow product focus.
                            Ah, a true windows user.

                            I'm developing on my Linux ARM box using *exactly* the same tools as I am on my {x86,x86_64,PPC} Linux boxes, and cygwin. The toolchains are there. Fundamentally, cross-platform development isn't hard - but you have to use cross-platform tools.

                            For as long as people stick with the microsoft toolchains, ARM will continue to look like a difficult target [eg, Visual Studio for desktop apps, but a differently-targetted set of tools for WinCE].

                            Get a real cross-platform build tool [eg this, this, or this], use some real cross-platform toolkits [eg this, this, or this], and you'll magically find that it's possible to end up with software running on windows/cygwin, linux, OSX, solaris and others, with ARM/x86/x86_64/PPC/other hardware. In my case, I don't even have a single platform-specific #ifdef in my code. This isn't the only project I'm working on right now that can make the same claim
                            </rant>

                            IMHO the real reason for lack of ARM popularity is still, and will continue to be, "Windows inertia".

                            I maintain hope that one day people will realise that moving from Win98 to WinXP, or WinXP to Win7, or Office2002 to OfficeNET, or Office95 to Office2002, is actually no harder than moving from WinXP to a modern Ubuntu or Fedora, and a lot harder than moving from Office97 to OOo.

                            [Witness: The Ribbon]

                            So why is that? If the ARM architecture held any real promise as a viable carPC platform, surely the enterprising Chinese would have flooded the market with low-cost products.
                            And now, replace "ARM" with "Intel". I can't help but notice that most carPC stuff on these forums is using American built hardware.

                            Gary (-;
                            OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
                            OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
                            mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by chunkyks View Post
                              Ah, a true windows user......

                              Gary (-;
                              Well said and true enough if your goal is to become the BetaMax of CarPCs... superior performance, outstanding specs and rave reviews all the way to your grave.

                              You haven't answered the ONLY important question: What value does it bring the customer? I'll give you every single point you make about tools and cross platform and so on, but the custormer doesn't care about any of that crap. All they want is everything, right now, and for free. They don't care how you deliver it, or what the secret sauce is, only that it looks cool and plays loud.

                              So I'll restate my point this way: If the virtues of the ARM are as compelling as you present, why hasn't someone (anyone) taken advantage of it to dominate the market?

                              You claim "windows inertia" is a problem, but surely not if a manufacturer's research showed that an ARM-based product would lay waste to the competition. It has been my experience that very rarely does the technical superiority of a particular product secure its place in the market. I wish that wasn't the case.

                              I'm not really much of a free market kind of guy, but in this case, I think the market has placed the ARM processor EXACTLY where it is most effective. That doesn't mean you couldn't build a super one-off carPC out of one, it's just hard to economically justify the need or effort.

                              Then again..maybe...."If you build it, they will come"

                              Happy Halloween,

                              VegasGuy

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