Urs Holzle, who's in charge of Google's data centers, once published a paper on the topic titled "Brawny cores still beat wimpy cores, most of the time." But that was in 2010, and the ARM architecture has evolved a lot since then.
James Niccolai A test version of Qualcomm's ARM server chip, shown last October
Qualcomm disclosed its plan to sell ARM server chips in October, joining rivals like AppliedMicro. It showed a test chip with 24 cores running a Linux software stack, but it still hasn't said when a finished product will go on sale.
Derek Aberle, Qualcomm's president, told investors last week that shipments would begin "probably within the next year or so." But he suggested significant sales are still "out a few years."
A vote from Google could do a lot to boost its chances. But it's also hard to know where all of this will end up. The only sure thing is that the processor business is a lot more interesting than it was a few years ago.
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