NVIDIA TegraARM-based processors have come a long way in the past few years. While the low power chip architecture was once best known for powering relatively slow smartphones and PDAs, we’re now seeing dual and quad-core chips with high performance graphics in modern phones and tablets. Now that Microsoft is planning on making Windows 8 compatible with ARM processors as well as x86 chips, it should come as no surprise that PC makers are thinking about giving ARM-based laptops a try.

According to DigiTimes, Acer, Asus, Samsung, and Toshiba are all working on notebooks with ARM chips. Asus is reportedly developing a 13 inch notebook with an NVIDIA Tegra processor and Google Android operating system.

ARM-based chips are generally more energy efficient than their x86 counterparts, but they’re also cheaper. DigiTimes suggests that laptops with these processors could run $299 or less — although I suspect the price will be a bit higher for laptops running Windows 8.

thanks Iau!

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5 replies on “ARM-based notebooks in the works”

  1. 3 ARM laptops are available :
    – Hercules E-cafe
    – Efika MX
    – Toshiba AC100 : not bad with ubuntu, but a pain to install due to lack of support from toshiba (bad guys)

  2. Wow, so a newly resurgant AMD, possible viability for ARM in ‘computer’ formats be they whatever flavor, and Intel starting a shooting war with it’s own motherboard manufacturers…  Exciting times in tech.  You can almost feel the wind of change blowing full force for the first time in a few years.

  3. Bring ’em on… at last!

    Though until the native application support is there (and for most legacy stuff that will inevitably never be the case), Windows on ARM will never really take off, and emulation has apparently been ruled out.

    But still, all the more fun for those of us who’ve been crying out for some decent non-Wintel platforms to play with and load our own systems.

    1. Anything built entirely on .NET should run just fine on ARM, probably without being recompiled…  So software from the last 10 years, or there abouts should run fine if my experience with running .NET code using Mono is any yardstick to measure these things on.

      Time will tell.

      1. It still unknown the level of backwards compatibility that Windows 8 will actually support.  There have been some rumors that .net won’t be supported at all as MS is reportedly strictly pushing HTML5 and javascript development.  Though this may just be a push to develop apps that will be cross platform before Windows 8 comes out, but we have no confirmation from MS either way right now.

        While another consideration is price, ARM may be cheaper to make but they still follow the healthy profit margins that pretty much all other computer products are sold with.  Like Apple charges a little over twice the actual build costs for their iPads and some other products have even higher profit margins.

        Also new bleeding edge products especially will be priced higher to help companies make up the cost of the R&D that went into the product, and is why it takes at least a few months before product prices start to drop.

        It should be remembered that ARM is steadily going more powerful but they’ve yet to reduce their manufacture size.  So many are still 45-40nm and all are still 32bit processors.  While significant improvements to efficiency don’t really go beyond quad core designs.  So cost of production is likely to go up until they do manage to shrink the manufacture size.

        Meanwhile Intel is going 32nm and will quickly push for 22nm.  Even AMD will soon enter 28nm next year.  So while x86 production still cost more, the costs are coming down and the low profit margins of netbooks means they can be offered for less than the equivalent ARM solution.  While ARM still won’t offer anything to compete against the higher end x86 offerings.

        So initial prices for ARM notebooks aren’t likely to be as low as many are predicting, unless they go with lower performing solutions, and when they do eventually drop then it’s still likely that netbooks may still be priced cheaper for equivalent performance.

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