With the upcoming release of Windows 8 which is scheduled to be released soon, the war of words between Intel vs ARM has heated up. Both sides are gearing up for the release of their new touch based devices with their processors. The recently concluded Comptex trade in Taipei acted as a perfect platform for both companies to lay out their claims. According to Intel, windows operating system grew up on x86 architecture and is perfectly suited for them. But ARM is the new kid on the block and cannot be trusted. In their defense, ARM claimed that ARM based windows devices will attract a fresh user base who likes to have few ties with legacy PCs.
The new operating system Windows 8 comes in different editions – Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows RT. While the first three are designed for x86 architecture, Windows RT is the tablet PC version. Though Windows 8 and RT share common features such as touch interface, the apps included in it are platform specific. With the release of Windows RT, Microsoft is hoping to compete with Apple iOS and Google’s Android.
Microsoft recently demonstrated two tablets named “Surface”, one with an Intel chip and the other ARM chip. Microsoft admitted that they had to re-engineer Windows 8 to work on ARM chips.
Intel has already started their campaign against ARM based RT. According to Intel CEO Paul Otellini, ARM devices will be incompatible with existing Windows applications and drivers. According to him, Windows always run the best in Intel architecture. Intel architecture is optimized for Windows for generations and also the developers of applications are also tuned to that. With the release of Windows 8, Intel chips will run a wider range of utilities and apps on Ultrabooks and tablets. Most importantly legacy software customers will continue to use Intel devices.
Fight about legacy software
The main fight between Intel vs ARM is regarding the support for legacy software. One thing is sure, because of the difference in architecture, ARM processors won’t be able to support legacy software. But according to Simon Segars, the executive vice-president of ARM, tablets achieved a 10% penetration rate in US in less than 2 yrs. It means if legacy software was the problem, it may not have happened at all. He added that legacy software issue is “overblown” as there are always incompatibility issues whenever a new OS is released. ARM is also confident that the low power consumption and long batter life of ARM based devices will compelling for a lot of people.
Intel vs ARM: Which is the right one for you?
Most of the PC and tablet manufacturers are taking a pragmatic approach on this issue. They are unanimous on the fact that Intel is well established and works better for Windows. However, they are not under estimating ARM. PC maker such as Acer has high hopes for ARM based devices. Jim Wong, corporate president of Acer is more than happy to give ARM processors a chance on their devices. According to him, more people like to come out of the burden of legacy software and like to enjoy a brand new experience.
From a user’s point of view, if you are not willing to take any risk it is better to go with Intel processors. Also for those who like to use their legacy softwares in Windows 8, Intel should be the right choice. Intel with its improved architecture should provide a better performance for Windows 8.
User’s who don’t want to be dependent on legacy softwares can go for ARM based processors. ARM processors also consume low power and got long battery life. Also the arm processors will be cheaper compared to Intel processors. Since this is the first time ARM processors are used, we need to wait and find out how successful it would be for Windows 8.
The battle is yet to begin and soon we will find the winners in Intel vs ARM war.