Published in PC Hardware

Nvidia thinks Bay Trail will miss ARM optimizations

by on18 September 2013

x86 not always an advantage

Bay Trail seems to be just around the corner and it looks like it is coming to tablets, calmshells and many other devices.

Despite its quite decent performance and favourable first reviews, Nvidia thinks that Intel might face issues with the lack of optimization for x86 in the mobile market. We didn’t see a big issue for Intel so far, but it is rather clear that most Android market players clearly chose ARM based processors rather than x86.

The development of most games is done with ARM instructions and performance in mind, and x86 is definitely a runner up instruction set at this point. Intel is a big company that will try to make itself presentable and the fact that it can ship 22nm tablet chip when the competition does 28nm parts speaks for itself.

When we talked to Nvidia, an obvious competitor, the company representatives pointed this out. It was interesting that both Intel back at IDF and Nvidia at our recent meeting were using the word “experience”.

Apple proved that despite some clear disadvantages in some of its products, e.g. much smaller screen compared to the competition, people still chose Apple over the competition due to a superior user experience, or UX. Intel and Nvidia learned to recognize that experience is something more important than higher performance.

Nvidia even has a desktop software product called Geforce Experience, a software tool that tweaks your games to run and look the best on your hardware. The UX focus is more than a marketing gimmick, it means companies are trying to do more with less silicon – and that’s good news for mobile devices.

Intel will still do fine with Bay Trail, but the push for Windows 8.1 over Android at IDF is rather interesting and we don’t think it is just a matter of timing, as the launch coincides with the upcoming release of Windows 8.1. There’s more to it than that and the competition is becoming really interesting.

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