Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Home Breaking News Surprise! Windows 10 ARM runs better than ever on M1 Macs

Surprise! Windows 10 ARM runs better than ever on M1 Macs

ENZOLIV wrote:

Does that mean that all those years of hard work improving the power of x86 chips was like stubbornly stuck in a dead end?
The weak gains observed for 10 years were an indication of this, and the slap given by this chip ended the demonstration.

It’s a little more complex than that: the gains in x86 were led by a company, Intel, which for 10 years took advantage of a clear monopoly to release its innovations in a trickle and limit its investments for the long term. From then on, AMD arrived to kick in the anthill in 2017, but also and especially TSMC continued to improve its engraving factories (reminder that Intel uses exclusively its in-house factories). So when Apple decides to call on TSMC for its chips, on the one hand, they have unprecedented architectural expertise for having designed the chips for iPhones and iPads for 10 years, but they call on the very best founder of the industry. Yes, we have taken a leap forward, but that does not mean that the growth in computing power will continue because one architecture is better than another.Where it gets fun is that there are architectural concepts specific to ARM which have been well known for a few years and which have never been “ported” to x86, in particular the big.LITTLE (quickly said, processors strongly heterogeneous, with cores with different architecture). Intel had tried it very coldly with a very uninteresting chip (4 economical cores type Atom + 1 powerful core type Core) but it was not very conclusive. The novelties in the ARM architecture, they are of this type, of the order of the paradigm shift. Computing power does not change so much, but we do better and better by specializing parts of the chips. Apparently the M1 chip even has specific instructions for running JavaScript …

So yeah, the move to ARM should not necessarily be seen as a revolution that will relaunch Moore’s Law (spoiler: when your transistors which are 50 atoms thick, there’s not too much way to go further than that), but it brings an interesting change of perspective: yes, we can do better, by specializing more, by accelerating to the lowest level of usual calculations, and by modulating the energy supply as close as possible to what the machine needs. And, aside from making mind-blowing license price savings by getting rid of Intel, Apple’s goal is to show that.

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