What's with the resurgence of ARM?

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Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be vindicated in my thought that RISC
based chips are superior (less wasteful) but does anyone have any insight
as to why they weren't developed like this from an earlier point? And
why, for example, Apple choose Intel over continuing with PPC? I was/am
right with my initial assumption that risc i.e. ppc and ARM, are more
efficient platforms?

Was the explosion of CISC Intel Clones and now the resurgence of ARM
purely political or is there a technological explanation?


Re: What's with the resurgence of ARM?

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You could debate which is more efficient at length, once the debate over
how to define efficiency finishes.

To me, they're really just different approaches to certain problems.
Both have advantages and disadvantages.

As for why Apple switched to Intel, personally, I believe Apple finally
noticed that many of their former exclusive products were available in
the Windows world as well whereas the massive PC software market wasn't
clamoring to develop for OSX-PPC, so their niche was slowly
disappearing.  Not wanting to become another Linux-on-the-desktop
(sub-1% market share), they needed a change.

Allowing Windows applications to run on Apple hardware (live via
Parallels, or by running Windows natively via bootcamp) is, in my
opinion, what saved Apple from a slow eventual death in the
desktop/laptop world.  A significant percentage of people need Windows
for something, whether it's gaming, line-of-business applications,
government or banking sites that require ActiveX or whatever.  Apple
needed a solution for these people that still included their high-margin
hardware, but without having to risk competing with Dell/HP/etc
directly.  Changing to Intel CPUs gave them this compatibility while
retaining exclusive rights to OSX helps keep Apple in a separate market
where they can over-price commodity hardware while still maintaining a
differentiating incentive rather than having to compete on the bottom

This is really a win-win for nearly everyone involved, Microsoft got the
competition it needed to start moving forward from XP, Apple got a huge
boost when suddenly their hardware was a viable choice for people who
occasionally do work from their personal laptop, and the user benefits
by the increased competition from both sides.

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A little of each, really.  The "resurgence" is primarily as a result of
the current focus on power consumption rather than raw performance.  I'm
not sure it even is a resurgence of the chip or architecture itself as
much as just ARM dominated devices are gaining popularity.  PDAs and
smart phones have long run ARM or similar, but this group as a class are
finally reaching mass-market appeal instead of being specialty geek or
executive toys.

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