Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

Half the world is betting on ARM chips for the future of the PC. Intel ignores them and considers them “insignificant”

When Apple launched its M1 chips in November 2020, the stir was notable. The ARM architecture had always dominated mobile devices, but had never made the leap to our computers. Since then, those chips have shown that this option was absolutely valid, but Windows-based PC manufacturers continued to rule it out. Until now.

AMD and NVIDIA bet on ARM. Microsoft, which more than a decade ago launched its Surface RT based on ARM chips, has once again shown clear interest in this architecture, and is now supporting two promising projects in the industry: both NVIDIA and AMD are preparing ARM CPUs for 2025.

Qualcomm ups the ante. Long before these solutions arrive, we will already have with us the new Snapdragon Its arrival, yes, will not occur until mid-2024, and by then there will be fierce competition with both Intel’s Meteor Lake and the Apple M3 that we will foreseeably know in a few hours.

And yet, Intel moves on from ARM. This news poses a clear threat to the future of the x86-64 architecture, which until now had been the absolute protagonist in the world of Windows-based PCs, but Intel is not even bothering. In a recent conference with investors Pat Gelsinger, CEO of the company, explained that Windows computers with ARM chips “have been relegated to fairly insignificant roles in the PC business.”

They see no danger. For this manager, it is clear that the competition must be taken seriously, and they do not see that these chips “are potentially so significant in general. Our momentum is strong. We have a strong roadmap.” With that roadmap referring, of course, to the aforementioned Meteor Lake.

The promise. In recent years we have seen how PCs with ARM chips based on Windows have not caught on, not so much because of the hardware but because of the software. The promise they offered has been demonstrated in Macs: there are no potential compromises, and the advantage in efficiency is spectacular. Now it remains to be seen if that promise also ends up reaching ARM chips in Windows systems.

Danish Kapoor