Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Processor architectures


ARM is designing and licensing high-performance chips requiring a relatively low power envelope, which would constitute an ideal basis for netbooks, and has touted these as an alternative platform. Despite this, ARM has had very little success in establishing a market for their chips in netbooks, likely because of incompatibilities of their ARM architecture to the established x86 software ecosystem (primarily the dominant Microsoft Windows operating system, Linux is fully compatible). Freescale, a manufacturer of ARM chips, has projected that by 2012 half of all netbooks will run on ARM and there has been much speculation as to a version of the upcoming Windows 7 compatible with ARM. In June 2009 nVidia announced a dozen mobile Internet devices running Tegra, some of which will be netbooks.


Some Ultra-Low Cost netbooks feature a MIPS CPU. The 64-bit Loongson MIPS microprocessor is also used for higher-end applications.


One report at the end of 2008 suggested the typical netbook featured a 3-lb (1.4 kg) weight, a 9-inch (23 cm) screen, wireless Internet connectivity, Linux or Windows XP, an Intel chip, and a cost of less than US$ 400. The x86-compatible VIA Technologies C7 processor is powering netbooks from HP and Samsung. VIA has also designed the Nano, a new x86-64-compatible architecture targeting lower priced, mobile applications like netbooks.

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