Why are so many manufacturers switching from Intel CPUs to ARM chips for their enterprise servers?

When Apple first introduced its first product line sporting self-produced processors, it unsurprisingly prompted a wave of excitement from the tech community. These trailblazing ARM-based chips have set new performance level standards with maximized, never-before-seen energy efficiency that outranks competing models by a landslide.

However, Apple isn’t the only tech giant making the switch from Intel CPUs to ARM processors. As more and more manufacturers gradually discover the benefits of ARM, industry experts have reported a gradual shift away from incorporating x86 Intel processors into servers such as these.

That’s not to say that Intel’s CPUs aren’t as reliable as ARM processors. Intel claimed its title as the face of the CPU world year-after-year due to its unwavering dedication to providing peak performance above all else. For the most part, this attention to detail pays off. Today, Intel CPUs are still considered powerhouses for laptops and desktop PCs.

Despite that simple fact, manufacturers are still looking to ARM chips as the bright future of processor architecture for several reasons. Looking for answers? Read on for more insight.

Power efficiency

ARM’s main claim to superiority in the power efficiency department. The ARM architecture is based on RISC, or Reduced Instruction Set Computing, while the architecture of Intel’s x86 is based on CISC, or Complex Instruction Set Computing. As the name suggests, RISC is less complicated than CISC—the latter requiring more power and more transistors to carry out its more complex instructions.

However, ARM dedicated its undying attention to producing low-power CPUs and boosting their performance levels by improving its micro-architecture design. By developing their processors in this way, ARM has managed to generate energy-efficient CPUs while still claiming impressive performance levels.


The low price point of ARM CPUs is undeniably appealing for any business, regardless of industry or top priorities. Unlike Intel’s chips, ARM CPUs require fewer transistors due to their power efficiency. Without as many transistors, ARM chips are cheaper to manufacture, leading to a lower retail cost, making it more affordable to purchase and implement.

Despite popular misconceptions, the purchase point is not the only way ARM chips save businesses money. Servers run around the clock, drawing power and needing maintenance. Due to ARM chips’ energy efficiency, companies can allocate resources wisely and avoid expending copious amounts of energy to cool and maintain their data centers.

Custom cores

Unlike Intel, which markets its chips to consumers, relying on their “Intel Inside” branding to attract consumers, ARM doesn’t produce its chips in-house. Instead, ARM CPU designs are licensed and then marketed at manufacturers. With this business model, manufacturers can purchase any licensing plan that works best for their purposes and design an original chip.

ARM does produce plans for ready-to-go CPUs, but clients can license the architecture set and develop a custom core based on the instructions. However, that option is expensive due to the difficulty in engineering a custom core. Usually, ARM’s clients will choose a standard CPU design, mixing and matching CPU cores, third-party GPUs, and other components to create a processor that uniquely fits their needs. ARM’s distinctive business model accounts for the many different ARM processors’ varieties and their unique functionality.

The bottom line

While ARM processors still have years of development ahead to prove their performance and efficiency, ARM chips’ incredible potential to become the premier CPU option. Experts project the ARM chip to slowly take the tech world by storm, leaving many to wonder how other prominent manufacturers will compete.

As a manufacturer, deciding whether Intel or ARM is best for your server development is up to your specific needs. Still, with ARM leading the charge to create an energy-efficient alternative to your typical robust CPU chip, it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for product evolutions as ARM innovates and develops their unique processors.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.