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A rumble in Amazon's jungle: AWS now rents out homegrown 64-bit Arm server processors

Lee D Silver badge

The world is slowly turning ARM and I think it's about time too.

ARM is powering all kinds of things and even 10 years ago we had handheld games machines with ARM running Linux and pumping out 3D graphics at Ghz while running off a pair of AA's (e.g. Gamepark Holdings GP2X but also things like the Nintendo DS do the same without the Linux!).

ARM is more than a capable architecture of anything you want to do. The only restrictions are like the restrictions of old... if you absolutely MUST have x86/64 architecture because your software is only available for it, then you cooked your own goose long ago. But even Office is available for Android etc. nowadays.

I would happily run ARM everywhere. The only problem is the "second class citizen" factor - Windows on ARM is nothing like Windows on x86/64. If they were equivalent, it would be a very different board game.

Saying that, I've been tinkering with RPi's a lot lately (I was an early adopter, but there were lots of problems with the early models and their networking/USB when you pushed them hard). I could happily see myself using an RPi for everything I do, if the right software existed. I ran a Linux desktop for many years, I could happily do it again on the RPi. And £30 for a machine like that isn't to be sniffed at. The only real problem is lack of RAM but there are clones that have more RAM if you need it.

It's literally getting to the point now where for daily use people are using ARM (tablets, phones, even the iPhone itself, etc.) and only going to x86 for "real work" which is usually just basic browsing or remoting in anyway (and ARM Chromebooks are the next logical step for them). If Amazon are able to bring ARM into the datacentre, others will and it won't be long before you can buy ARM dedicated servers as easily as x86 ones. The only thing missing is the software offering.

Honestly... if the world went boom tomorrow, I think ARM would take over overnight. Cheap, "open", low-power, widely available, all the programming tools in place, powerful, etc.

Is there any reason that an ARM couldn't sit in a standard motherboard socket and access just the same resources as a "standard" machine (BIOS upgrade aside as presumably that's x86 code)? There's nothing to stop them getting to the same speeds, interfacing with the same hardware, working with standard kit.

Sell me an ARM-based desktop today with, say, PCIe and a serious nVidia graphics card in it, and I'll be digging out my wallet.

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