Originally Posted by Snowdog65
This ARM switcher talk is nothing more than naive ARM fan dreams
with no basis in reality. ARM has no magic pixie dust, their CPUs are MUCH slower than state of the art desktops like Sandybridge.
This is very true and for those of us looking for far more power in our next machine it kinda rules out ARM based products. However not everybody is concerned with performance or they are concerned with facilities that require special hardware like video decode.
Of course the problem with the low end is this, ARM won't be competing with Sandy Bridge but rather chips like AMDs Zacate and Ontario chips. Possibly also Intels Atom if they ever fix that family of chips. in this regard AMD has a rather huge lead over ARM giving good enough performance for some in laptop like machines.
The complexity/power use of modern desktop chips is a symptom of the performance level not the ISA (Instruction Set Architecure).
Well again yes and no. I86 carries around a lot of extra baggage from way back. Current i86 processors are not what you would get from an attempt to do a ground up processor design today. Not all of that baggage is benign. Outside of the processor core though I have to agree, processor performance is dependent upon high performance gear supporting on and off chip.
For any ARM chip to get anywhere near desktop levels of performance, ARM chips will need more complex OOO architectures, huge caches, high performance IO, high performance memory interfaces. ARM Power consumption would be similar at this point and the advantage of ARM would be what?
Well yes this is true in the sense of traditional architectures, however most organizations going the ARM route are also going the SoC route. The more hardware that can be put on that SoC the more you turn the power equation to your favor. The other thing is that these days cores count and so do specialized execution units.
Every Apple CPU transition (68K-PPC, PPC->x86) had two factors in common:
1) The new architecture was already or projecting to eclipse the previous on performance.
2) Extensive CPU emulation of the previous architecture.
Yeah this one I've always had problems explaining to people that truly believed their G5 was oh so fast. G5 never was in a general sense.
ARM is unsuitable from both perspectives, it is only projected to stay well behind x86 desktops on performance for the foreseeable future. Since it is so much slower it is completely unsuitable for emulation of the previous architecture.
Apple has already placed it's ARM bet and it is in iOS, if they want to create an ARM netbook, it will use iOS, not OSX.
This I agree with 100%. What they create might not even be a traditional net book/notebook. IOS gives them a great deal of freedom to experiment with other formats. For example if Apple could do a book format, that is a device that open like a book to produce a seamless screen they would. The technology isn't there yet but I'm sure Apple is looking into it. Another option would be a tablet with a slide out keyboard.
It is fair to say Apple has many options when it comes to ARM. I just don't see ARM running Mac OS/X as viable as it would lead to significant market confusion. This might all change in a couple of years, but right now there are to many negatives with respect to ARM driving a MBP like machine.