ARM, which currently is a non-factor in the PC chip space dominated by Intel, will see its share grow to 13 percent by 2015, according to IDC.
already dominates the smartphone and tablet chip spaces, and has said it plans
to cut into Intel's significant server market share. Now, it could become a
player on the PC scene, according to market research firm IDC.
In a report
issued May 5, IDC said that by 2015, ARM would hold 13 percent of the PC chip
market, an area in which the company doesn't register right now. According to
IDC figures, Intel in the first quarter held 80.8 percent of the market,
followed by Advanced Micro Devices with 18.9 percent and Via Technologies with 0.2
things are changing in the industry that could boost ARM in the space.
Microsoft has said its next version of Windows will support SoC (system-on-a-chip)
architectures, in particular, chips made by the likes of Samsung, Qualcomm and
Texas Instruments based on ARM designs. Having that support from Microsoft, by
far the largest PC operating system vendor, could cause ARM's PC profile to
given the prevalence of ARM chips in the burgeoning tablet space, users for
consistency purposes may be interested in getting a PC that has the same chip
architecture as their tablets. With ARM-based PCs running Windows, that idea
could become more plausible.
Intel and ARM
are increasingly on a collision course, as both are looking to muscle into the
other's domain. Intel executives have been candid about their intention to
extend their x86 architecture into the tablet and smartphone markets. The chip
giant in April unveiled its Atom Z670 "Oak Trail" processor, which offers
greater performance and lower power consumption than current Atom chips. Intel
officials expect at least 35 system designs based on Oak Trail to start hitting
the market this month.
On May 4,
Intel unveiled a new transistor technonology-dubbed "Tri-Gate"-that executives say will lead
to significant performance and power-saving gains, starting with the first of
its 22-nanometer "Ivy Bridge" chips, which should begin appearing in servers
and PCs early next year. The new transistor architecture moves away from the
traditional flat "planar" design and offers a three-dimensional structure that
will continue to drive Moore's Law over the next two years, at least through
the 14-nm processors.
officials see the new technology at play in chips that will find their way into
a variety of systems, from servers and PCs to tablets, smartphones and embedded
devices. The Tri-Gate design not only will further fuel Intel's mobile
ambitions, but it will also help it ward off competition from ARM and its
partners, who are looking to drive the ARM architecture into the data center
with low-power servers.
Research analyst Richard Fichera noted the tightening competition between Intel
and ARM in a May 4 blog post talking about the Tri-Gate
that came through loud and clear was Intel's focus on low-power devices, SoC
designs and pre-empting competition from ARM-based and similar low-power
microprocessor products, which while they may not be a reality yet in the
server space, have been an inhibiting factor in Intel's success in low-power
devices, with the exception of Atom-based netbooks," Fichera wrote.
interview with Bloomberg News in December 2010, ARM CEO Warren East said he
expects ARM-based processors to begin chipping away at Intel's dominance in the data
center by 2014, fueled by the growth of such technologies as virtualization and
cloud computing and the need of many businesses to drive down data center power
manufacturers as Marvell and Calxeda are working on server chips based on ARM
designs. In addition, ARM in September 2010 unveiled the Cortex-A15 design,
which officials said would help drive the architecture into the data center.
Systems with Cortex-A15-based chips could begin hitting the market in late 2012
or early 2013.
design will have features that many systems makers find attractive, including
support for virtualization, greater memory capacity, five times the performance
in a power envelope similar to current ARM designs, up to 2.5GHz in speed, and
as many as 16 cores.
also will be important in PC chips. In the meantime, Intel and AMD continue to
hold the bulk of the PC chip market, thanks in large part to the new platforms
each introduced earlier this year-"Sandy Bridge" for Intel and Fusion for AMD.
Intel and AMD grew unit shipments sequentially, which indicates some decent
strength in their new platforms," IDC analyst Shane Rau said in a statement.
"Due to the first full quarter shipping their Sandy Bridge and Fusion
microprocessors with integrated graphics processors, processors with IGP grew
to slightly over 50 percent of market shipments for the first time."
2011 PC chip shipments to grow 10.3 percent over last year's level.
the demand environment for the second half of this year looks decent. The
earthquake and tsunami had minor effects on the PC supply chain," Rau said.
"However, the real near- to mid-term concern there is the effect on
Japanese demand for PCs, and so microprocessors."