ARMed Explosion – 2016 Edition

We’ve seen ARMed processors coming on strongly in consumer markets and dipping a toe in servers but 2016 seems to be the year that everyone can have what they want using an ARMed processor. Personally, I want a new motherboard for my Beast so I can change from 95W+ with several fans running to fanlessness in ~20W or so apart from hard drives. Last year, few motherboards sporting ARMed processors were available in my price-range, say $200 maximum. This year there are 96Boards/AMD/ARM have developed the “HuskyBoard” which has just about everything I want in an ARMed motherboard:

  • *TX form factor, so I can just screw it in
  • SDRAM sockets so I can have enough RAM
  • 8 core ARM A57 CPU
  • USB
  • SATA
  • A PCI slot so I can add video or networking or storage if necessary

This thing has not been priced yet, but apparently it’s even suitable for desktop users, finally… We are almost there. Later this year there should be competitive models possibly with other/more features or different CPUs. There’s one with 4gB soldered RAM for $600… I think that’s too expensive. We’ll wait and see what else emerges in 2016.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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38 Responses to ARMed Explosion – 2016 Edition

  1. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “There is a difference. None of the evildoers in the case of IBM are living whereas the Wintel monopolists still breathe and continue to be a threat.”

    Actually the big difference Robert Pogson is that Microsoft is guilty of NO crime except in your mind, but IBM has been shown to have been very guilty (if un-prosecuted).

  2. DrLoser wrote, “I am prepared to let bygones be bygones in the case of IBM, no matter how much I despise their actions in the 1940s.”

    There is a difference. None of the evildoers in the case of IBM are living whereas the Wintel monopolists still breathe and continue to be a threat.

  3. luvr says:

    Robert Pogson said, “M$ is still out to get us as far as I know and IBM is harmless.”

    I’m not too sure that IBM is harmless. As far as I can tell, they are staunch supporters of software patents, which are anything but harmless in my book.

  4. DrLoser says:

    How many deaths were caused by tyrants using M$’s blasted OS in Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, etc.?

    Somewhat less than the six million Jews, the half a million Gypsies, the rather large number of Slavs, the almost accidental but still significant number of Jehovah’s Witnesses, random communists, presumably even the odd Brown Shirt or two from the good ole Roemer days …

    Stop being obtuse and bovine, Robert.

    You insist that Intel … and in this case we can, I think, separate Intel from M$ … is responsible for degree X of “past harm.”

    I insist that IBM … and in this case we can, I think, firmly insist on IBM … was responsible for THE ACCOUNTANCY FOR TEN MILLION FERKING INDIVIDUAL SNUFF MOVIES.

    Now, how shall I put this, Robert?

    I am prepared to let bygones be bygones in the case of IBM, no matter how much I despise their actions in the 1940s.

    You, for some as yet to be explained reason, are not prepared to extend the same courtesy to Intel.

    I suggest, Robert, that you are not merely a victim of self-imposed double standards.

    You are morally blind.

  5. DrLoser, keeping on losing with, “you, Robert, should be any more concerned about the — admittedly more recent, yet quite clearly not so fucking lethal to 10 million people or more — regrettable back-story of Intel.”

    How many deaths were caused by tyrants using M$’s blasted OS in Russia, China, Africa, the Middle East, etc.? You can’t blame technology for its illegal uses. Rifles killed a lot but are not culpable in any way. Neither is IBM. M$ is definitely guilty of monopolizing IT to the detriment of millions. IBM did that too in the era of mainframes and they anchored M$. That was a sad error of the past and not my concern today. M$ is still out to get us as far as I know and IBM is harmless.

  6. DrLoser says:

    I really don’t like Intel because it was a part of Wintel …

    And yet you do like IBM because IBM (a very large corporation that loves to leverage “free” software at “expensive” consultancy prices) is, in some way, pro-Linux.

    Despite the fact, the blatant fact, the documented fact, the fact that we will continue to repeat to you, Robert, that IBM was responsible for DeHomAG, and that DeHomAG was responsible for a tabularisation of the accountancy for mass murder.

    Thing is, Robert, I’m not particularly concerned with this when I deal with IBM in the 21st century. Even though I am appalled at the history.

    It’s not immediately obvious why you, Robert, should be any more concerned about the — admittedly more recent, yet quite clearly not so fucking lethal to 10 million people or more — regrettable back-story of Intel.

    Is there a Statute of Limitations in your mind for whatever dire sins Intel committed against the lowest of the low, the slaves, the forced consumers, the poor fools who were not Jewish nor Slav nor Gay nor Jehovah’s Witnesses nor Gypsies nor … there are probably a few tens of thousands more whose death was “accounted for” by IBM, Robert.

    But I freely admit that you are quite prepared to have those 10 million deaths on your conscience. Which is fine. They don’t count.

    What particular Pogson-canted bit of pseudo-sin has Intel committed recently to incur your putrid and pointless and feeble ire, Robert?

  7. Deaf Spy wrote, “just do so.”

    I’ve already mentioned AMD A1100. It’s a SoC so the motherboard is mostly a platform for connectors and RAM, not very costly. The top-end model is expected to cost $150. see AMD Unveils 64-Bit ARM-Based Opteron A1100 SoC With Integrated 10GbE For The Datacenter. I wouldn’t begin to call my rack a “data-centre” but it serves that role in this house. One of these babies would do the trick and it’s affordable and future-proof as far as RAM/NIC/storage goes. I’ve already seen systems under $500. I can probably replace Beast with one now or a bit later at an even better price. Then there are the A-72 models… I don’t think I need state-of-the-art stuff like that. The A1100 family has three stages. Even the lowest level would likely do for what I need. That’s probably quite a bit lower in price.

  8. Deaf Spy says:

    I can show you them

    Then just do so.

    …I really don’t like Intel because it was a part of Wintel and I don’t want to reward them for previous bad behaviour, not one penny.

    See, wasn’t that hard. Stick to that, and your opinion will be well respected.

  9. Deaf Spy wrote, “You still can’t show us here an ARM setup, which is cheaper and more efficient both power and performance wise than an x86 setup.”

    I can show you them but you are deaf and blind apparently. Atom is the only thing that comes close to these ARMed systems I’m configuring and Intel has zero price-advantage and little if anything in performance. The only advantage of Intel is that it often comes on ATX forms so it can just plug in. I don’t care about that. I can cut and solder with the best of them. While I like the performance/watt/dollar of ARM I really don’t like Intel because it was a part of Wintel and I don’t want to reward them for previous bad behaviour, not one penny.

  10. Deaf Spy says:

    I still fail to see where the economic effect of ARM in your case, Robert. You still can’t show us here an ARM setup, which is cheaper and more efficient both power and performance wise than an x86 setup.

    If you simply want an ARM for being ARM, well, fine. Just say so. But please don’t come up with fantastic statements to support your wish.

    You see, for example, I purchased recently a R9 380 video card. Perhaps an NVIDIA offering would be better, especially when comes to drivers. But, I have a personal liking for ATI (now AMD), so I simply ignored technical arguments in favor of subjective personal ones. I admit it and I never even dare recommend my choice to other people. I would only share my own honest experience, but never pretend AMD is a superior company than NVIDIA.

  11. DrLoser says:

    Nonsense. Beast’s original mobo was about $200 as was the CPU and then I bought 4gB ECC RAM and a handful of 500GB hard drives. That’s about $700. Case and PSU came to around $200. Then there’s monitor/keyboard/mouse.

    $700 + $200 + monitor/keyboard/mouse, say $1K for the lot.

    I apologise, Robert. I underestimated the insane amount of unjustified money that you were prepared to spend to luxuriate in your cheapskate Saturnalian delights.

    A thousand smackeroos it is, then. With the occasional top up for a broken bulb and what-not.

    But I jest. Tell me, Robert — do you have a prospective cost estimate for the server you will set up in 2016? Because I have one.

    We can compare and contrast, Robert.

  12. DrLoser wrote, “I doubt you’ve even spent as much as $1K on the Beast, Robert. And $1K has never delivered much of a server.”

    Nonsense. Beast’s original mobo was about $200 as was the CPU and then I bought 4gB ECC RAM and a handful of 500GB hard drives. That’s about $700. Case and PSU came to around $200. Then there’s monitor/keyboard/mouse. The monitor kept growing but I still use the original keyboard. It’s that good, a Lose ’95-era steel-framed battleship with mechanical keys with uniform hysteresis and a curved layout. Prices today have come a long way down, probably about half, so $500 reusing case and PSU would buy a lot. I guess I will use the keyboard until it dies, if it does die before me. The mouse is wireless and the wheel hasn’t worn down to nothing like the first one.

    Beast at first served as a portable server for schools where I taught. Any old piece of junk could be a thin client and have the performance of a powerful machine on familiar hardware. Students loved it and it sure made GNU/Linux look good compared to M$’s obsolete junk on same. Beast was worth every penny I paid for it but it’s going to retire sooner or later.

  13. DrLoser says:

    Over the years I’ve spent a bundle on Beast with upgraded CPU, mobo, memory, and storage, so modern prices are quite comfortable for me.

    I doubt you’ve even spent as much as $1K on the Beast, Robert. And $1K has never delivered much of a server.

    You might be about to get a whole lot less comfortable, therefore.

  14. Wizard Emeritus wrote, “Because in the end it is very doubtful that he will see the high end ARM chips at the price on motherboards that he is willing to PAY for any time soon if ever. This is because a market that is based his notion of good enough will take forever to make enough desktop ARM motherboards to allow the proice point to go from the $600-$1400 price point that is available now to the $200.00 “white box” pricepoint that Robert Pogson is willing to spring for.”

    That’s nonsense. Over the years I’ve spent a bundle on Beast with upgraded CPU, mobo, memory, and storage, so modern prices are quite comfortable for me. It’s true that last year prices were high if you could even find them because they were charging ~$fewK for early adopters wanting to ship something for ARM. This year, they are even mentioning “desktop” in PR and prices for clients are easily less than $100 if you can live with <4gB RAM. The few server boards now available certainly will have socketed RAM and that last problem is gone. Also the server mobos have lots of SATA and NICs, a bonus. $500 + RAM and storage is a bit rich for me but I certainly can afford it now that my pension is actually working.

    I bought a tractor and hundreds of trees on the partial pension last year. This year, I’m laughing. I’ll buy an alternator, parts for inverters, and another hundred trees this year in addition to garden and lawn stuff. I might even spring for a northern fishing trip for me and my son. The beauty of ARM in part is that fanlessness means there’s less to go wrong and probably less thermal stress on the innards. I won’t be going for compute-density, just enough compute power, storage and networking to live well in the 21st century.

    I could even look at SSD storage this year but I think it’s still a bit expensive and unreliable compared to magnetic discs. I’m likely to use Beast’s old case loaded with extra storage and the new motherboard. It can hold ~10 drives although I’ve never had more than 6 in it. The PSU does have a fan but it’s large and slow, not a siren. With ARM, I could probably downgrade the PSU a bit but that’s not necessary.

  15. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “but will never actually stop sucking Beast’s (and by extension, Intel’s) tit and get himself and ARM board. I wonder why…”

    Because in the end it is very doubtful that he will see the high end ARM chips at the price on motherboards that he is willing to PAY for any time soon if ever. This is because a market that is based his notion of good enough will take forever to make enough desktop ARM motherboards to allow the proice point to go from the $600-$1400 price point that is available now to the $200.00 “white box” pricepoint that Robert Pogson is willing to spring for.

    The only technology that so far has done that is x86-64.

  16. kurkosdr wrote, “will never actually stop sucking Beast’s (and by extension, Intel’s) tit and get himself and ARM board. I wonder why…”

    Beast has some Intel chips on the mobo but the CPU is AMD. I will buy several ARMed boards this year. Some I’ve mentioned in this blog would certainly do for TLW. Beast will need something more for replacement but I’ve no use for Intel/AMD in that role. The ARMed server SoCs are certainly good enough. The big problem with 2-4gB RAM is the web browser. They do love RAM. We may have to keep her instance on the server so it will have sufficient RAM to avoid swapping. With a gigabit/s link between server and client that should work well, much better than her current 100mbits/s thin client. So, all I’m stuck on is getting ~16gB RAM on the server replacing Beast. I could just update the RAM on Beast but there’s still the noise/heat.

  17. dougman says:

    Regarding your WD Green drive, you may want to start mirroring that after it is over three years old.

    I had a 2TB drive reallocate ~900 sectors of late and I pulled it from my NAS and replaced with with a 4TB WD Red Pro, which has a 5-year warranty.

    The NAS uses an i3 cpu with XFS and BTRFS, however I think in all honestly I may look into an ARM cpu with a backblaze case.

  18. kurkosdr says:

    I know my ancient 32-bit 512MB Android/Linux smartphone works for me.

    What browser are you using Pog? I assume you use your Android for browsing, right? Please don’t tell me you are using the default “Internet” browser which crashes a lot and has documented (and unpatched, since you can’t update it from PlayStore) vulnerabilities.

    I have a phone with 512MB RAM (LG Optimus 3D with ICS). Only ~115MB free after boot. Launching AdBlock Browser or Firefox brings everything to a crawl ’till they force quit. Same for Chrome. Only Dolphin works, somewhat. Also, no messengers are installed. You do not want to chip away that precious RAM (Facebook messenger fills 70MBs of RAM at times, others are similar).

    So much for “works for me”.

    But the 1GB HTC Evo 3D works for me, despite being so old (not as well as the SGS3 of course, but it does).

    Moral of the story: No 512MB Android phone ever worked right, only somewhat “worked”, so Pog please don’t mislead. But every 1GB phone is “good enough”.

    No, because you don’t know if it will ever work for you. You have never tried that.

    It is kinda shameful you bring an 8-year old CPU to prove your point without discussing its peripherals.

    This. Pogson will keep lamenting how bad Beast has it (you constantly hear him say “poor beast” etc) but will never actually stop sucking Beast’s (and by extension, Intel’s) tit and get himself and ARM board. I wonder why…

  19. Deaf Spy wrote, “Put such a HDD on a XEON E7 and the machine will still lag”.

    Nope. The HD is WD10EARS-00Y, a 3.5″ 1TB 110MB/s drive with 64MB cache. The rotational speed is “IntelliPower”, which could cause some lag but the drive when busy does run reasonably fast.
    hdparm -tT /dev/sda1

    /dev/sda1:
    Timing cached reads: 1382 MB in 2.00 seconds = 690.31 MB/sec
    Timing buffered disk reads: 298 MB in 3.00 seconds = 99.32 MB/sec

    That machine is on a 100 mbits/s link but it’s still very slow:
    time firefox -v

    (process:18227): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed
    Mozilla Iceweasel 38.5.0

    real 0m2.389s
    user 0m0.044s
    sys 0m0.052s
    htpc:~# time firefox -v

    (process:18231): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed
    Mozilla Iceweasel 38.5.0

    real 0m0.064s
    user 0m0.024s
    sys 0m0.040s
    pogson@beast:~$ time iceweasel -v

    (process:25913): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_slice_set_config: assertion 'sys_page_size == 0' failed
    Mozilla Iceweasel 38.5.0

    real 0m0.021s
    user 0m0.008s
    sys 0m0.012s

  20. Deaf Spy wrote, “you don’t know if it will ever work for you. You have never tried that.”

    I know my ancient 32-bit 512MB Android/Linux smartphone works for me. Interpreted, it works for me. Imagine how well compiled code runs. I know a bunch of */Linux developers use ARM. That was the main market for these guys last year, apart from a billion smartphones and TVs and IoTs and tablets. Folks build the Linux kernel on ARM…

    In 2012, before any of the current ARMed devices were available, folks were complaining that it took much longer to build GCC on Fedora 17 on ARM compared to other architectures. This is not cross-compilation but building on ARMed hardware.
    x86_64 1h25m
    armv7hl 24h17m

    Since 2012, ARM has developed ARMv8, 64-bitness and many more cores, rapidly catching up. ARM had tiny caches, like 64KB whereas now they have ~2MB.

    Recent results:
    GCC 4.9 build took 100s on 3.4Ghz Intel Core i5-4670
    GCC 4.9 build took 500s on Exynos 5410 (1.6GHz Cortex-A15)

    That Exynos is a product of 2014, BTW, and can’t compare very well with products of 2015/2016. Clearly, it’s good enough for most desktop users. Building stuff is 10X harder than what they typical desktop user does because of all the I/O and CPU utilization.

  21. Deaf Spy says:

    I’ve shown you nice affordable systems that will work for me.

    No, because you don’t know if it will ever work for you. You have never tried that.

    It is kinda shameful you bring an 8-year old CPU to prove your point without discussing its peripherals. I believe the storage is a HDD, very likely a 5400-rpm one. Put such a HDD on a XEON E7 and the machine will still lag, Robert. I expected something more of you.

    But hey, let me give you another chance. I already bought my X5, powered by Z8300, which runs everything out there. Now, your turn. Buy and ARM and let’s compare our experiences.

  22. kurkosdr says:

    you claim I must suck at the poisonous teats of Intel

    (forgot to quote in previous post)

  23. kurkosdr says:

    Oh gawd (Zeus), the RISC vs CISC wars, they have began again.

    It’s a good thing the company that invented the mouse (xerox) doesn’t really do computers anymore and can’t count as an “evil empire”, otherwise we ‘d have the Pogsons of the freedomite world tell us how we should control our computers with trackballs or theremins or whatever else.

  24. DeafSpy wrote, “The prices you show and the ones I do show clearly that ARM offerings are actually more expensive.”

    You are comparing apples to oranges. Show me an Atom that works in such a tiny space as a smartphone, runs Debian GNU/Linux, and only needs a hint of power. You will notice the makers of devices rarely publish wattage, just hours on some battery. Again, not easily comparable. I’ve shown you nice affordable systems that will work for me. Instead you claim I must suck at the poisonous teats of Intel which can’t even build a proper CPU, apparently because they have too much complexity. See Intel Skylake bug causes PCs to freeze during complex workloads. Sorry, I don’t need/want that. I just want IT that works for me, not Intel.

    Intel Atom prices by the thousand are around $20-$40. ARMed SoCs by the thousand are around $20 and I’ve listed some boards with connectors that start at less than $100. There are Atoms that start around $100 and you can buy them by the truckload if you want. I’ve seen what Atoms do and I don’t like them. The one in my livingroom is embarrassing. It’s far slower than they typical smartphone people run all day on a battery.
    vendor_id : GenuineIntel
    cpu family : 6
    model : 28
    model name : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU 330 @ 1.60GHz
    stepping : 2
    microcode : 0x219
    cpu MHz : 1600.015
    cache size : 512 KB

    Impressive numbers but it sucks, huge hesitation to start the browser or download or save anything. Many simple tasks take twice as long as on Beast.

  25. DrLoser says:

    @Pog
    Prove me wrong.

    Robert does not approve of “proof,” Kurks. In fact, Robert despises the concept. It’s not at all scientific, is proof, unless it confirms your scientifically based axioms.

    Haven’t you spotted this, yet?

  26. kurkosdr says:

    @DeafSpy
    Keep waiting and he ‘ll eventually do it (yeah, right…)

    @Pog
    Prove me wrong

  27. DeafSpy says:

    ◾Lower capital cost
    No. The prices you show and the ones I do show clearly that ARM offerings are actually more expensive.
    ◾More performance per watt/unit volume
    No, as I showed with the article.
    ◾Fanlessness
    Same goes for Intel.

    I showed you an Atom PC, the Ara X5 machine. It costs $140 on newegg. It is fanless, too, and the CPU consumes only 2W.

    Now, Robert, I dare you. Show me:

    1) A cheaper ARM alternative with the same desktop-relevant CPU performance (not core count and frequency, but actual results),
    or
    2) Same-priced ARM with better desktop-relevant CPU performance.

    Of course, RAM, storage, network and ports should be same or better.

    Come on, now is your golden chance to prove your point, Robert.

    As for your video, here is something that works actually better:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMGT1k0a0zY
    Do you see how the small thingie has its mobile, touch interface (not some unusable miniature) while you have a full desktop on your external monitor?

  28. Deaf Spy wrote, “Show me a real advantage ARM has on desktop. Real facts. Real experience.”

    • Lower capital cost
    • More performance per watt/unit volume
    • Fanlessness
    • It’s not Intel

    See it all here.

    So, you get all of Android/Linux apps and all of the wonderful Debian GNU/Linux desktop experience on a large screen monitor/keyboard/mouse. Yes, you can carry your PC around all day in your pocket without a care.

  29. kurkosdr says:

    Show me a real advantage ARM has on desktop. Real facts. Real experience. No synthetic benchmarks and meaningless specifications.

    Bahaha… Good luck on that. Pogson is the typical old guy who likes to instruct youngsters to do pointless things he would never do (Android ARM boards) and thinks this makes him sound smart.

  30. Deaf Spy says:

    I quote a desktop-usage benchmark. You quote a very special use-case, which you will never ever come even close to, Robert.

    Show me a real advantage ARM has on desktop. Real facts. Real experience. No synthetic benchmarks and meaningless specifications.

  31. kurkosdr says:

    so you should choose according to what your biases are. = so you shouldn’t choose according to what your biases are.

    BTW, I have to ask Pogson: How many ARM boards do you currently have and what OS do you run on them? Is it a number above zero?

  32. kurkosdr says:

    GNU/Linux and Android/Linux can run on ARM very well and have tons of software that billions of real people use daily.

    Yes but all the good stuff of GNU/Linux is on x86: Steam, VMWare, MATLAB, the Wine Platinum apps etc Even FOSS apps are developed on x86 systems and tested on x86 systems, and you cannot expect the ARM version to be as well-tested as the x86 version because 99.999% of people use the x86 version.

    So, what is the benefit or running GNU/Linux on ARM, beyond being some basic bitty box for your torrent downloading/porn surfing needs? And maybe the occasional music playing? With x86, you can have all these for your gnu/linux plus more

    And Intel actually has skin in the GNU/Linux arena (Tizen) so they have an interest in making sure drivers work on X.org (and dare I say Wayland) in a way that isn’t completely broken. How many of those “boards” actually ship full drivers for GNU/Linux and offer ready-to-download ISOs of linux distributions? Evil Intel sells a product (ComputeStick) with a GNU/Linux pre-installed (read: tested to work at a basic level).

    The only “ARM board” anyone should buy is the cheapest Raspberry you can get hold off. Stick some basic stuff on it (storage, some spare hdmi cable and mouse and keyboard), see first-hand that Touch Android-on-the-desktop sucks, and then disassemble the whole thing and cross it off your “being there done that” list.

    The claim that x86 ISA suffers an inherent efficiency disadvantage to ARM does not hold true when you break down the power consumption of currently-available platforms sporting both architectures.
    I LOL that RISC fanboys used to whine and whine that x86 sucks just because it’s “CISC” and “wastes silicon to break down the instructions” when their own posterchild, SPARC, has to duplicate entire registers in order to implement the mandated-by-spec minimum of 3 register windows (which offers no measurable advantage, which is why even beast processors only implement the minimum the spec requires).
    It’s just shows that what matters is what is delivered on silicon, so you should choose according to what your biases are.

  33. Deaf Spy wrote, “Few people are going to sacrifice their needs just to have an ARM. Actually, close to zero. And, you can’t just install Android on an ARM you buy out there. You need officially supported BIOS. Some Linux distro is your only option.”

    All the major SoC-makers out there have their stuff in the Linux kernel. Many of them supply Android/Linux or GNU/Linux or both.

    Deaf Spy also quoted an article from 2012 on power-consumption. Both ARM and Intel have moved on in 2016. Both have been helped by Moore’s Law. ARM still uses less silicon to get the job done. That costs less and uses less power.

    Ask Morgan-Stanley. They like ARM on their servers. Their key point is not power but performance, and they prefer competition instead of monopoly for CPUs. So do I. Intel’s Atom may be good enough but I won’t pay a premium for “Intel Inside”. There’s a reason Atoms exist and that’s ARM.

  34. Deaf Spy says:

    Those will take care of many needs.

    Many, but obviously not all, Robert. Few people are going to sacrifice their needs just to have an ARM. Actually, close to zero. And, you can’t just install Android on an ARM you buy out there. You need officially supported BIOS. Some Linux distro is your only option.

    So, quit claiming facts not in evidence

    Hello, Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

    You quote some numbers, Robert, which mean little in real-world. Here is a link for you. Somewhat old, but since then, both technologies have evolved (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/atom-z2760-power-consumption-arm,3387-5.html).
    Here is a quote I’d like to bring your attention to:

    “The claim that x86 ISA suffers an inherent efficiency disadvantage to ARM does not hold true when you break down the power consumption of currently-available platforms sporting both architectures. They finish neck and neck in most cases. And, when it comes to Microsoft’s Surface compared to Acer’s W510, the Atom-powered tablet consistently edges out Nvidia’s Tegra 3.

    In general, our analysis suggests that the ARM-based CPU core is excellent at doing nothing, but starts to require considerably more power during computationally-intensive workloads. Even at idle, though, the Acer W510 uses less power than Microsoft’s Surface. In this scenario, the CPU cores aren’t cranking away, but the graphics core is still refreshing the screen and reading from memory. This constant reading taxes the memory controller, and is one reason why the Atom maintains low power consumption. Under heavier loads, we saw the Tegra 3 take a double hit as CPU power use ramped up quickly, along with the memory controller’s draw. ”

    Here are my facts, Robert. Where are yours?

  35. Deaf Spy wrote, of ARMed systems ” There is no really productive software available for it, and it will be just a glorified media player. Ops, you can get that for $50.” and “Intel’s Atom Z8300 consumes 2W. And, I can tell you, this Atom can beat the crap out of any ARM on desktop. Then, you have Core M, which goes as low as 4.5W.”

    GNU/Linux and Android/Linux can run on ARM very well and have tons of software that billions of real people use daily. I happen to prefer GNU/Linux and lack very little except GEBC in PASCAL so I can tweak it. I have LibreOffice, GNUmeric, and FireFox. Those will take care of many needs.

    Of the Z8300, it’s competitive but still lacking. Some of the systems I’ve been watching include 8 cores rather than 4 and can reach 2gHz plus, not 1.84gHz. There’s a reason for that. ARM is just more efficient with less legacy-bloat. Look at the memory bandwidth too, 12gB/s versus 25 for ARM. Then ARM has up to 256 GPU units while Atom has what, 12?

    So, quit claiming facts not in evidence. I have several Atomic systems around here (not obtained by me…), and it sure is a drag to SSH into them. They are ripe for replacement by ARM, particularly with a *TX motherboard. They just need a good NIC, SATA, and RAM. The only reason Atoms are at such prices is because ARM exists and has market share. Appreciate that. Intel would otherwise charge a premium of ~100%. I’d rather not pay outrageous amounts for IT, either in hardware or software. The fact that Beast is mostly idling at ~1% CPU utilization and can satisfy both TLW and I working FireFox hard with barely 30% utilization with 4 cores at 2.5gHz, suggests ARM could certainly do the job as well as or better than Intel.

  36. DeafSpy says:

    I’m still annoyed that the ARMed folks haven’t produced a whole-hearted desktop system with lots of USB ports, RAM and video.

    Of course they haven’t, Robert. Because such a system will be utterly worthless. There is no really productive software available for it, and it will be just a glorified media player. Ops, you can get that for $50.

    As for your Math, if has two flaws:
    1. You make assumptions, therefore, you risk to be very incorrect.
    2. You are biased to the extend of being zealot, which denies all logic by definition.

    For your info. Intel’s Atom Z8300 consumes 2W. And, I can tell you, this Atom can beat the crap out of any ARM on desktop. Then, you have Core M, which goes as low as 4.5W.

    Time to get back to the calculator, Robert.

    Btw, just purchased a Tronsmart Ara X5 thingie (http://www.tronsmart.com/products/tronsmart-ara-x5). 95 GDP including postage. Has no fan, quiet. Got it as a home theater PC and local backup, which will also constantly maintain a backup on a cloud. It consumes less than the external HDD I will attach to it.

  37. Deaf Spy wrote, “that will end up way more expensive than an x86 offering.”

    Don’t worry about me. I will mind the price.

    Most AMD64 machines will use a lot more power than one of these ARMed boards, probably at least twice as much power. Say 20W is wasted 24×7. What’s the cost of that over 8 years? 8*365.25*24*20/1000*$0.10 = $140. What’s it worth to be free of Wintel? That’s priceless. When loaded up with 8gB or 16gB RAM to be future-proof, the cost is not much greater. I’m still annoyed that the ARMed folks haven’t produced a whole-hearted desktop system with lots of USB ports, RAM and video. I have to go to a “server” board to get enough RAM. Thank Goodness the price is coming down rapidly. I expect what looks like a high price today will be quite affordable by mid-year. Beast is hanging on by its hard drives…

  38. Deaf Spy says:

    For a fraction of this money, Robert, you can buy a fanless low-power PC with 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, 4-core CPU, USB slots… Why even go to this? By any means, that will end up way more expensive than an x86 offering.

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