Intel vs. ARM: From the World of Servers

It is a well-known fact that Intel dominates the world of personal computers and ARM owns the world of mobiles. Moreover, while Intel has taken its first baby steps towards making mobile processors, ARM has also made a slow entry to the personal computing world. Nevertheless, there is another market where this Intel vs. ARM war can go, and it is the market for servers.

Recently, ARM started showing its head in the server market and as it turns out, there are some impressive reasons for using ARM over Intel for servers. Look at this presentation for some interesting facts on ARM servers. In a few months, Dell and HP are going to enter the ARM server market with all guns blazing. While Dell showcased an ARM based server product back in May, HP has the advantage of being the early adopter. Things have started moving in this competition, and to spice things up, our beloved Ubuntu is ready for this ARM revolution, from version 11.10.


However, the biggest piece of news came yesterday when Intel hit back HP’s ARM server partner Calxeda over a benchmark. According to a benchmark carried out by Calxeda, ARM’s Cortex A9 based ECX-1000 servers could outdo Intel’s Xeon processors in performance, and Intel was not ready to accept this. Therefore, it went ahead, performed its own benchmarks, and came back with another set of results in its own favor. Apparently, both Intel and Calxeda used Apache HTTP benchmarking, but Calxeda used Intel’s Sandy bridge Xeon E3-1240 processors to carry out the tests instead of the latest Ivy Bridge. Additionally, Calxeda limited the Xeon for I/O for the benchmark, and effectively, the CPU was running only at 14% of its total capacity.

Intel and ARM are fighting on multiple fronts, and this is just another battle in the ongoing war. While Intel has the advantage of high performance, ARM has the advantage of power efficiency. They are both masters of their fields, and this war will only leave us spoilt for choice.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.