With the success of iPhone and Android as a smartphone platform the developer focus has shifted to ARM vs. x86. Many will scoff at the ARM processor for not being able to do the work in the data center, but when you look at price performance and power performance the ARM chip is competitive.
CNET has an interview with NVidia's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang.
I also asked Huang about the company's strategy for central processing units, or CPUs, used in smartphones and tablets. Nvidia has been supplying its first-generation Tegra chip to portable music device makers such Microsoft, which used Tegra in the Zune HD. The second-generation Tegra 2 is targeted at smartphones and tablets but has yet to make an appearance in a product from a first-tier device maker. All Tegra chips are based on a design from United Kingdom-based ARM.
"Our CPU strategy is ARM," Huang said, referring to the fact that Nvidia was, unit last year, only a supplier of GPUs. "ARM is the fastest growing processor architecture in the world today. ARM supports (Google's) Android best. And Android is the fastest growing OS in the world today," Huang said.
Huang said that its dual-core Tegra 2 chips currently come in two flavors, the AP20 for smartphones and the T20 for tablets. "And both of them are being designed into products," Huang said.
Smooth-Stone is preparing a product line for data center performance with cell phone power.
Long time ago, x86 processors were laughed at as incapable to run data center IT. It was a world of mainframes and minis. Dominated by IBM, Digital, and others. Where are those companies now in the server business? Meanwhile Intel was selling tons of x86 processors in desktops and with Microsoft's help, Intel's x86 made inroads into servers.
Why can't ARM processors move from smartphones to the server businesss as well? HP, Dell, IBM, and the dominant server vendors will help to fuel the anti-ARM server. Meanwhile the ARM processors growth is fueled by smartphones.
There are technical issues like ARMs not being 64 bit, but people have figured out how to get around this issue. Note: some supercomputers have 32 bit low power processors to keep their power footprint lower.
Is the future green data center going to have ARM servers?
How can it not?