ARM chips may prompt x86 PC exodus

A number of Intel’s biggest customers and partners are reportedly “exploring” the use of RISC-based ARM chips that could ultimately find their way into future PCs and servers. 

According to the MercuryNews, both HP and Dell are considering using processors in some devices based on ARM’s energy-efficient design. 

In addition, a number of analysts believe Apple – which already uses ARM chips in its iPhone, iPad and iPod – may eventually adopt the same architecture for its MacBook Air and Pro lineups. 

“It’s starting to get interesting,” Mike Feibus of TechKnowledge Strategies told Mercury News.

“Everything that we sort of knew and took for granted is being thrown out the window.”

Nathan Brookwood of the market consulting firm Insight 64 expressed similar sentiments.

“Of course they [Intel] are worried about [ARM]… Former CEO Andy Grove’s legendary paranoia about competition is still very much alive.”

However, Intel spokesperson Jon Carvill insisted Santa Clara wasn’t overly concerned about ARM’s incursion into the x86 dominated PC and server market.

“Our view when working with our customers is to build the most compelling products with the best hardware and software, rather than worry about what our competitors may or may not bring to market,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Mercury Research analyst Dean McCarron said he suspected the current explorations of ARM into various lucrative markets – aside from smartphones and tablets – are just the beginning.

“What we’re looking at right now are toe-in-the-water kinds of experiments… But for Intel, the stage is being set for some potential market-share erosion.”