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Arm plans to take the laptop fight to Intel with its next-generation chips

While Arm is a huge player in the mobile world, with chips in almost every smartphone out there, its output for laptops has been distinctly less earth-shattering. There’s a handful out there, but performance leaves them some distance behind Intel and AMD-powered models.

But that could all change, and soon. The company has published a roadmap for the next two years, where it predicts that its upcoming 7nm Deimos and 7/5nm Hercules chips will outperform a few of the recent Intel i5 chips – up to and including the 2.6GHz Core i5-7300U. 

Related: Best Intel processor

There are some issues worth highlighting here, of course. Firstly, the graph shows a mid-range Intel chip against top-of-the-range Arm processors, some of which don’t even exist yet.

You could quite reasonably expect a future Intel chip – or indeed a current high-end one – to keep or increase the lead. In fact, it’s interesting that the latest eighth-generation i5 chip doesn’t make the list, let alone i7 processors.

Then there’s the question of what benchmark this is measured on. Engadget says that the test in question is based on SPEC CINT2006, which could plausibly be offering a rosier picture of Arm’s capabilities than others that put a greater emphasis on alternative metrics.

Related: Best laptops

But – and it’s a big but – that graph does show a very promising trajectory, and if the company continues to close the gap while maintaining its efficiency and pricing advantages, then it’s very possible that Intel will face real competition in the laptop space for the first time in years.

“The teams have delivered almost a 2.5X performance gain in a four-year window,” Arm’s Senior Marketing Director Ian Smythe told CNET. “That’s exceptional.”

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