ARM CEO Warren East said he expects ARM-based server chips to begin to erode Intel's dominant market share by 2014.
As Intel pushes to expand its technology into the rapidly growing mobile
device space, officials with ARM Holdings,
whose chip designs dominate the smartphone market, say they plan to take on
Intel in the server arena.
an interview with Bloomberg
Dec. 13, ARM CEO
Warren East said that his company's chip designs will help drive up the energy
efficiency of data center systems and that server makers "are actively
considering ARM architectures."
that will take time, East said, predicting that ARM
won't start to eat into Intel's dominant server market share until 2014 or so.
Intel currently owns more than 90 percent of the overall server market.
don't want to raise expectations that next year there are going to be a lot of ARM
servers," he said. "Of course, there aren't."
ARM, and some chip designers using ARM
designs, has begun the work to move in that direction. ARM
officials in September introduced
, their next major chip design that they say will offer features
that are important for server designers, including support for virtualization
and greater memory capacity. They also said the Cortex-A15 will include a
five-fold increase in performance in a power envelope similar to current ARM
designs, and that chips using the design will be able to run at up to 2.5GHz
and with as many as 16 cores.
a pretty big bump in performance," Nandan Nayampally, director of
product marketing for ARM, said at the time
of the announcement. "It opens up our markets to very new [products]."
number of chip makers, including Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Samsung, use ARM
designs in manufacturing their processors, most of which go into such mobile
devices as smartphones and tablet PCs. However, there are several other chip
and systems makers looking to take advantage of ARM
designs to create low-power servers for such environments as cloud computing.
officials in November started demonstrating their quad-core
Armada XP chip
, which is based on ARM
designs. The chip runs at 1.6GHz and includes features that can be used in
servers, including four enterprise-class networking ports, up to 2MB of Level 2
cache, four PCI Express Gen 2.0 units and multiple USB
ports. Another company, Calxeda
also is working on server chips based on ARM's
Cortex-A9 design, with plans to release samples next year and start
manufacturing the processors in 2012.
East said the key for his company is the ability now to free up its chip
designs from the battery constraints found in mobile devices. Without those
constraints, the ARM-based chips can run
faster. They're also more energy-efficient than Intel processors, he said.
could certainly halve the power of these things," East said, noting that
with data centers packing more servers, "the challenge is delivering the
energy and taking the heat away."
Intel and x86 rival Advanced Micro Devices are eyeing the mobile device space
as a way to expand their businesses beyond PCs and servers. At an event earlier
this month, Intel President and CEO Paul
Otellini said that he expects smartphones powered by his company's upcoming
32-nanomater "Medfield" Atom processor
will start hitting the
market in the second half of 2011. Medfield is sampling now and will ship later
in 2011 and into 2012.
also said that PC makers-including Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba-have said
they plan to use Atom chips in 35 different tablet PC designs. Intel has two
Atom platforms for tablet PCs-"Oak Trail" for tablets running
Windows, and "Moorestown" for those running Google's Android mobile
OS and MeeGo, a Linux-based operating system developed by Intel and Nokia.