Originally Posted by Firefly7475
Have you got anything that actually backs up that statement?
Instead of asking for data go out and do your own research. By doing so you will have a richer understanding of the trade offs between ARM and x86.
I know that Atom is more expensive and doesn't have the performance/watt of ARM, however I had the impression that not only do Intel's chips totally spank anything from ARM as far as raw performace goes,
The thing you need to realize is that when buying ARM an engineer has a very wide array of performance options. The latest Cortex chips are very powerful and in some ways more advanced than ATOM. Beyond that an engineer has a much freer hand in implementing the hardware required, thus can tailor performance to the application.
ARM also has very little chance of getting to Intel's performance levels any time in the next decade.
With respect to ATOM this simply isn't true or at least needs to be qualified. For many apps a Cortex A9 based system would be an overall winner. Beyond that many ARM based products are under clocked in order to manage power better. Also ATOM comes with what amounts to a terrible GPU, these days Cortex A9's are being coupled to some pretty impressive GPUs. In the end ARM based designs often out perform the ATOM based designs by a large margin. A good GPU and a few special (dedicated) logic circuits can go a long way to delivering better performance at a lower cost.
The other tricky thing with ARM is the configurability. A SOC might be Cortex A9 based but that does not imply it is built just like every other A9 based SOC. For example there are different options for the FPU. So there can be a considerable delta between SOC built on the Cortex A9 platform itself. You really have to be careful about the specifics of a comparison between ARM and ATOM.
As a side note there is a great deal of speculation about Apples A5 and it's chip size. It is actually rather big compared to many Cortex A9 chips. One of the more common speculative assertions is that Apples A5 comes with a fully pipelined FPU. Unfortunately we really don't know what all Apple has stuffed into that chip but eventually we will see some benchmarks that might actually be useful to compare to ATOM.
On top of all of this we have to remember that the overall architecture has a lot to do with the perception of performance. Again looking at Apple and their new AIR laptops we get the impression that even a very slowly clocked CPU can demonstrate good performance, from the user perspective, if the other subsystems helps it out a bit. In AIRs case the GPU and the flash memory help balance the system out. One can not underestimate the importance of a good GPU and dedicated logic blocks in a modern computing device. It is no mystery that iPad 2 got a significantly beefed up GPU as it directly impacts what the user experiences on the platform. In the end Intel can't compete because the ATOM hardware simply isn't balanced to service the mobile devices world needs.