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so surely if it is possible to develop a processor which is so much better than x86 then why don't they already exist?

Suppose I invented a new chip that was awesome for gaming, spreadsheets, word processing, databases and power consumption.

Who would build PCs with it?

What OS would it run if someone built it?

Who would buy that?

Its not merely a "huge, massively important thing". Its the only thing.




Intel & HP tried this with the Itanium. A decade (or two) and billions of dollars later and x86 or at least x64 is still king.

No doubt they made some mistakes, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

(And having debugged code on an ia64 I'm quite happy with the status quo!)

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Yes, and it was hilarious. It stunned me that Intel couldn't figure out that AMD was going to eat their lunch when they figured out a way to extend the x86 architecture to 64 bits while retaining software portability. For years Intel had beaten challenger after challenger based on the juggernaut of their software base (680x0, MIPS, NS32032, SPARC, PowerPC, Etc) and yet their brash attempt to push Itanium by not extending x86 was counter to all those previous victories. Kind of like a general taking a battle plan known to work and ignoring it.

As we move into an era of 'I don't see why I should get a new machine' of growth minimization there is a window for folks like ARM to get in with 'all day computing.' But it will take someone extraordinary to make that happen. Look at the state of Linux on ARM to understand the power of a legacy architecture.

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