Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:06 am
For me, it's very odd that a computer company (Acorn) should be designing CPUs. From link:
The team worked to create a chip which met their requirements of a processor which retained the ethos of the 6502 but in a 32-bit RISC environment, and implemented this in a small device which it would be possible to design and test easily, and to fabricate cheaply.
They seemed to think that designing and building a better CPU was the key to making a world-beating computer. My intuition is that this idea is silly, and so it proved to be: the new CPU did not turn Acorn into a world beating computer company. Had I been in charge of Acorn, no money would have been spent designing CPUs, and the ARM CPU would never have happened.
I suspect that when the ARM CPU was originally designed and built (1983-1985), nobody (and I mean LITERALLY nobody) made the investment case for it that would later make it the world's top CPU: portable computing devices that need to run on the smallest amount of power possible!
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:36 am
A bit more from me:
1. The ARM CPU did not make Acorn computers successful: I agree that it's helpful to have cheaper components in a product - but after the ARM CPU was introduced, Acorn computers continued to decline, until it left the computer business altogether
2. The ARM CPU continued after Acorn's demise as ARM Holdings. For a long time, this continued as a small company with 12 employees (link). At this time, I used to wonder how long it would continue to exist, and why anyone would invest in it. It didn't even make a profit until 1993. My assumption was that it wouldn't be long before it folded, and that the chances of it making a decent return to investors were remote
3. Then came a time when portable computers with a good CPU running sophisticated software became worthwhile products. I hold up my hands and admit that I had absolutely no idea how good ARM CPUs were for this market!
In summary, for a long, long time ARM (and before that, Acorn) were a bad investment. Then, out of nowhere, it became a world beating product!
Posts : 2312 Join date : 2020-11-17 Age : 55 Location : United States of Europe, Germany, Ruhr area
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sat Aug 28, 2021 11:47 am
But the decline had not much to do with the RISC CPU that was superior. When I am finished to study the acorn electron I will maybe try to get a RISC machine and relate it with the machines by Atari, Amiga, IBM, apple etc.
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sat Aug 28, 2021 12:31 pm
But the decline had not much to do with the RISC CPU that was superior.
It certainly didn't help:
* distracted management from the things that they should have been focusing on
* took away resource (money, software development needed for computers to use the new CPU, management time) from the more important things that Acorn should have been doing
* if it was "superior", then clearly the advantage it provided was nowhere near enough: the devices based on it (Acorn Archimedes, RISC PC) had relatively low sales. For all their technical excellence (they were a lot faster than most of the computers they were competing against), they just didn't get enough market penetration, and the software (RISC OS - still available to this day, but massively overshadowed by Linux) just didn't get good enough quickly enough to compete with the PC and the Mac
* "PC compatible" lead to cheap hardware and software, which was probably the better outcome for consumers in the long run
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sat Aug 28, 2021 10:37 pm
You have to remember that at the time archimedes and atari ST and amiga were fighting against each other, the PC area and apple had no graphical GUI.
It looks as though Apple had a GUI OS first, and GEM was successfully sued by Apple for being too similar to their GUI. However, TOS, the version of GEM for Atari, had special licensing that allowed it to continue to be used unmodified on that platform (link).
At that time, my best friend was selling Apricot computers to businesses. The company was a local to us (link), and their computers were were both very good and phenomenally innovative. In the end, though, it turned out that consumers wanted "standard and cheap", not "good and innovative" (unless they were Apple fanatics).
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:02 pm
Interesting article: why buying a Windows laptop in 2021 may be a huge mistake - link
Here are the three reasons given in the article:
1. The Apple MacBook Air, which uses the Apple M1 processor (an ARM processor) costs less and performs better than equivalent Windows laptops (one drawback: the maximum memory is 16 Gb)
2. Current Windows laptops based on the Intel CPU architecture are now obsolete because the world has now been shown by Apple that ARM delivers better performance for less power (longer battery life or a smaller/lighter battery), so a new Windows laptop right now is going to lose its value more quickly than usual
3. Now the world has been shown how good ARM processors are in laptops, it won't be long before most Windows software is available in ARM compatible versions. Windows will start moving from Intel to ARM.
Subject: Re: The british CPU/SOC that changed everything Wed Sep 01, 2021 9:38 pm
Damir Desevac wrote:
I would not trust anything that comes from the ''rotten'' apple and their insanely expensive hardware...
I'm not a fanboy either: in the first half of the 2010s, when they were trying to block competitors by aggressive legal action, I was strongly against them. However, I have to admit that, while I wouldn't buy an Apple device, I was VERY impressed by their M1 ARM SOC: it has PHENOMENAL specifications, and the team that designed it deserves a HUGE amount of credit. They have greatly raised the bar for other ARM SOC manufacturers!