ARM will also have to enable key hardware improvements for chips to fit the profile of PCs, Rau said. Capabilities such as 64-bit addressing, fast internal connections and more memory and cores need to be designed into future ARM architectures to cope with the performance needed by PCs.
ARM in September announced the Cortex-A15 processor design, which can run at speeds of up to 2.5GHz and stretch to 16 cores in certain configurations. Cortex-A15 is a 32-bit design that can extend to 40 bits, and ARM officials have said they are considering 64-bit addressing in future processors. Tablets and smartphones with Cortex-A15 processors are expected to appear late next year or in early 2013.
Intel is also ratcheting up the heat on ARM with fast advances in manufacturing technology. On Wednesday, Intel announced a 3D transistor design that is faster and more power-efficient than two-dimensional transistors used in its current chips.
"If [ARM] does succeed, it will be because of proper execution of the features for PC end-users," Rau said.
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