ARM vs Intel Processor

ARM vs Intel Processor

Confused by the choice between an Intel-powered device and one based on the ARM architecture?

When you’re choosing a smartphone or tablet, you’ll notice that some models use Intel Atom processors, while others are based on the competing ARM architecture. This latter camp includes the Samsung Exynos, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Nvidia Tegra and Apple A7 platforms.

ARM is very much the dominant architecture: iPads and iPhones use ARM exclusively, as do Windows Phone devices, so if you’re interested in these platforms.



On Android, you have a choice. While most Android phones and tablets are still based on ARM, competing Intel-based devices, such as the Asus Transformer Pad TF10C, are starting to appear.

Asus Transformer Pad TF103C

if an app contains ARM-specific code, then it must be translated before it can be executed.


The difference between ARM and Intel is also worth paying attention to if you’re considering buying a Windows tablet. Here, it’s Intel that’s the dominant architecture: if you choose an ARM-based tablet you’ll get a cut-down variant of Windows called Windows RT, which can run full-screen apps from the Windows Store but not regular desktop software.

Almost every modern Windows tablet uses Intel, and that Windows RT has all but dropped off the radar. However, based on the rumours and statements recently emanating from Microsoft, we wouldn’t be surprised if ARM-based tablets bearing the Windows logo return in a year or two, with an updated OS that’s more closely related to Windows Phone.

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