ARM vs. Intel Processors: Which Is The Best?

ARM vs. Intel Processors: Which Is The Best?:

Today, most computing devices are likely to have a processor that uses either x86 design, like Intel processors, or ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) Design for example CPU in your smartphone or tablet. ARM CPUs are also making it a laptop.

These days you can choose between a computer with an Intel or AMD processor (x86) or a device with an ARM processor. So when it comes to ARM vs Intel processors, which one is better?

ARM vs. Intel: Differentiating Origins

Modern Intel and ARM-based CPUs can trace their technologies to computers brought to market in the early 1980s, notably acorn computer bbc micro And this Intel 8088 First found in the IBM PC. These paved the way for the two main CPU designs of modern times.

It is important to note that while they have two separate evolutionary lines, they use these CPUs for today.


Under the hood, the main difference between Intel and ARM-based CPUs is the type of instruction that each device understands. Are ARM-Based CPUs RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) Device and Intel CPU are CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) equipment. RISC and CISC designs differ in how processors perform their jobs. In Intel (and AMD) CPUs they use a CISC instruction set called x86.

However, most of their strengths and weaknesses come from the fact that RISC tools handle short, simple, equal-length instructions while CISC tools process multiple instructions simultaneously into long, complex instructions.

software compatibility

Intel processors cannot understand ARM code and vice versa. So, the operating system and software have to be written specifically for a type of processor.

It is possible for software to run one type of CPU over another, but this usually comes with a large penalty in performance and inefficiency.

The exception to this is Apple. rosetta 2 Code translation software. Their custom ARM CPUs are specifically designed with Rosetta 2 in mind and allow for nearly seamless software execution designed for Intel-based Macs. Overall, the performance penalty with Rosetta 2 is low, while not perfect.

A more specific example is from Microsoft ARM based surface equipment. When these attempt to run x86 code through emulation, the performance impact is so severe that the software may become unusable.

power consumption

The significant advantage of ARM-based CPUs over Intel and other x86 processors is power consumption. It turns out that the RISC approach combined with the distinctive innovation of ARM’s design makes CPUs incredibly frugal. This is why ARM dominates the smartphone and tablet markets.

That’s why you can get 24 hours or more out of your phone, whereas your Intel laptop with a bigger battery might only last a few hours, if you’re lucky. Of course, if you go with the M1 Mac, you can get around 20 hours of movie playback, which is pretty impressive for a laptop.

net performance

Intel and other x86 CISC processors stomp on ARM-based RISC CPUs when you take power consumption out of the equation, such as when a computer is plugged in.

But, since so much money is going into ARM CPU development due to the rise of smartphones and tablets, the performance of ARM CPUs continues to grow exponentially with each generation.

Mid-range smartphones have now crossed the “good enough” limit in terms of computing power and are powerful enough to meet a user’s needs on a day-to-day basis.

performance per watt

If we change the statement from how much energy an ARM CPU consumes to how much work it can do, things don’t look so good for x86 Intel CPUs. Although companies like Intel have worked hard to create power-efficient models of their CPUs, there is still a difference.

Consider the above comparison. The Intel i7-9750H has 45W Thermal Design Power (TDP) while the Snapdragon 888 has 10W TDP. Still, the 888 falls within reach of its benchmark performance.

The ARM CPU still matches 75% of the scores of high-end laptop Intel CPUs when all scores are engaged. Keep in mind that ARM CPUs have no active cooling and are housed inside the smartphone. Such a small performance gain for a large laptop device with active cooling and more than four times the TDP clearly demonstrates the performance-per-watt difference between these technologies.

core symmetry

An exciting advantage on the ARM side of things is the use of asymmetry cpu core. Intel and other x86 processors have multiple, but identical, cores. However, it is common for ARM CPUs to have multiple, but separate, cores.

For example, an 8-core ARM CPU in a smartphone may have four low-power cores that are fast enough for everyday tasks like browsing the web, watching videos, listening to music, and handling small background tasks. Four high-performance CPUs are triggered as soon as you start a video game, or do content creation tasks like photo editing.

This means that you can take advantage of high peak performance in the short bursts you need and enjoy an average longer battery life during the battery charge cycle.

Is ARM the future?

When it comes to these CPU technologies the main question we raised was “Which is the best?” And as you might expect the answer is “it depends”. We can say with certainty that x86 Intel (and AMD) CPUs rule whenever power is a non-issue. So if it’s plugged into the wall and doesn’t rely on a battery to work, these are the CPUs.

Today, in the world of portable computers, things are not quite as clear. The biggest drawback of ARM is not performance, but software compatibility. This is something that Apple has solved with Rosetta 2 and is a high priority for Microsoft. Assuming that the software will run on an ARM system without any significant (if any) performance penalty, it provides the best balance of performance versus battery life.

When done correctly, you get a computer like M1 MacBook Pro. It is more than powerful enough as a general-purpose computer and can even perform professional tasks such as video editing – A level of performance it can sustain on battery for up to 20 hours! If you want more information about the M1, visit M1 vs i7: Benchmark Battle.