Craig discusses the new firmware architecture being used in the newer computers and laptops and why this architecture is preferred.
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Hey, we’ve been talking about how computers are everywhere. What can we expect from our computerized cars? What can we expect from computers? Intel has had a monopoly with Microsoft called the Wintel monopoly.
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When you’re thinking about your computer and what to buy. There are a lot of choices. Of course, the big ones nowadays are a little different than they were just a few years ago. Or a couple of years ago, you used to say, am I going to get a Windows computer, or am I going to get a Mac now?
I think there’s a third choice that’s really useful for most people, depends on what you’re doing. If what you do is some web browsing, some email, and also might do a couple of things with some video and pictures and organizing you really should look at the third option. Which is a tablet of some sort and that is your iPad.
Of course, the number one in the market, these things last a long time. They retain their value. So their higher introductory price isn’t really a bad thing. And they’re also not that much more expensive when you get right down to it and consider the resale value of them. So have a look at the tablet, but that’s really one of the three major choices also today when you’re deciding that you might not be aware of it, but you are also deciding what kind of processor you’re going to be using.
There is a lot of work that’s been done going on arm processors. What they are called A R M. I started working with this class of processor, also known as RISC, which is reduced instruction set processors, many years ago, back in the nineties. I think it was when I first started working with RISC machines.
But the big difference here is that these are not Intel chips that are in the iPads that are in or our iPhones, they aren’t Intel or AMD processors that are in your Android phones or Android tablet. They’re all using something that’s called ARM architecture.
This used to be called advanced risc machine acorn risk machine. They’ve been around a while, but ARM is a different type of processor entirely then Intel. the basic Intel design is to try and get as much done with one instruction as possible.
So for instance, if you and I decided to meet up at a Dunkin donuts, I might say, okay, so we’re going to go to the Duncan’s on Elm Street, but the one that’s South of Main Street, and I’ll meet you there at about 11 o’clock.
And then I gave you some of the directions on how to get to the town, et cetera. And so we meet at dunks and to have a good old time. That would be a RISC architecture, which has reduced instructions. So you can tell it, okay, you get to take a right turn here, take a left turn there. In the computing world, it would be, you have to add this and divide that and then add these and divide those and subtract this.
Now to compare my little dunk story. What you end up doing with an Intel processor or what’s called a CISC processor, which is a complex instruction set, is we’ve already been to dunks before that dunks in fact, so all I have to say is I’ll meet you at dunks. Usual time. There’s nothing else I have to say. So behind all of that is the process of getting into your car, driving down to dunks the right town, the right street, the right dunks, and maybe even ordering.
So in a CISC processor, it would try and do all of those things with one instruction. The idea is, let’s make it simple for the programmer. So all of the programmers have to do if the programmer wants to multiply two double-precision floating-point numbers, the programmer that if he’s just dealing with machine-level only has to have one instruction.
Now those instructions take up multiple cycles. We can. Get into all the details, but I think I’ve already got some people glazing over. But these new ARM processors are designed to be blindingly fast is what matters. We can teach a processor how to add, and if we spend our time figuring out how to get that processor to add faster.
We end up with ultimately faster chip and that’s the theory behind risk or reduced instruction set computers, and it has taken off like wildfire.
So you have things like the iPad pro now with an arm chip that’s in there designed by Apple. Now they took the basic license with the basic ARM architecture and they’ve advanced it quite a bit. In fact, but that Ipad processor now is faster than most laptop processors made by Intel or AMD. That is an impressive feat.
So when we’re looking a little bit forward, we’re no longer looking at machines that are just running an Intel instruction set. We’re not just going to see, in other words, the Intel and AMD inside stickers on the outside of the computer. Windows 10 machines running on ARM processors are out already.
Apple has announced arm based laptops that will be available very soon. In fact, there is a scheduled press conference. I think it’s next week by Apple, the 15th. Give or take. Don’t hold me to that one, but they’re going to have a, probably an announcement of the iPhone 12 and maybe some delivery dates for these new ARM-based laptops.
So these laptops are expected to last all day. Really all day. 12 hours worth of working with them, using them. They’re expected to be just as fast or faster in some cases as the Intel chips are. So ARM is where things are going.
We already have the Microsoft updated surface pro X. That was just announced about two weeks ago, which is ARM-based. We’ve gotten macs now coming out with their ARM-based versions. In fact, I think they’re going to have two of them before the end of the year. Both Apple and Microsoft are providing support for x86 apps. So what that means is the programs that you have bought that are designed to run on an Intel architecture will run on these ARM chips.
Now, as a rule, it’s only the 64-bit processes that are going to work. The 32-bit processes, if you haven’t upgraded your software to 64 bits yet you’re gonna have to upgrade it before you can do the ARM migration. We’re going to see less expensive computers. Arm chips are much cheaper as a whole than Intel. Intel chips are insanely high priced.
They are also going to be way more battery efficient. So if you’re looking for a new computer. Visual studio code has been updated optimized for windows 10 on ARM. We’re going to see more and more of the applications coming out.
And it won’t be long, a couple of years now, you will have a hard time finding some of the Intel-based software that’s out there.
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Stick around. Cause we’ll be right back and “it won’t happen to me.” That’s our next topic.
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