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Intel says ARM's DS-5 screenshots in Silvermont presentation were a mistake

Updated Gives an inadvertant nod to a competitor
Fri May 17 2013, 16:01
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CHIPMAKER Intel apparently used screenshots from ARM's Developer Studio 5 (DS-5) in its recent Silvermont microarchitecture presentation.

Last week Intel lifted the lid on its Silvermont microarchitecture that will form the basis for a number of key Atom products including Merrifield and Bay Trail. However the firm's presentation, which is still available on its investor website, made use of screenshots from ARM's DS-5 when talking about designing software for low power usage.

Intel's PDF presentation (mirror), ran through various aspects of Silvermont, but on slide 24 the firm talked about the combination of its process node, an architecture that is specifically designed for low power and tools to help developers create applications that are power efficient. To illustrate each point, the firm used relevant stock shots of its transistors and architecture diagrams, however when referring to "design for low power" Intel tiled three screenshots.

By zooming in, Intel's three screenshots can be seen a bit more clearly. The firm has seemingly decided to use screenshots from ARM's DS-5 software that are available on ARM's website.

For the purposes of readability, we have presented the screenshots here with their respective URL on ARM's website.

The foremost screenshot on Intel's slide has a striking resemblance to ARM's Streamline Performance Analyser and in particular this screenshot. [Link]

The partially obscured screenshot behind the Streamline Performance Analyser looks very much like the Timeline view available on ARM's DS-5. [Link]

The farthest back screenshot looks like the DS-5 Debugger, with even the same memory address highlighted in bright green. [Link]


That Intel's use of screenshots that look almost identical to those on ARM's website is one thing, but there is little doubt that the foremost screenshot is that of ARM's DS-5. Another problem from Intel's point of view is that ARM's DS-5 supports only processors designed by ARM and devices made by its partners, so developers couldn't have used the software to profile and optimise code for Intel processors.

Intel's use of ARM's DS-5 screenshots is embarrassing.. Intel's developer tools have a very good reputation and its compilers and profilers, in particular its C, C++ and Fortran compilers, are very highly rated for their performance.

However ARM will most likely take this as some sort of backhanded compliment that Intel decided to use screenshots from ARM's website to illustrate designing code for low power architectures, even if ARM's software can't help developers that want to optimise for Intel's Silvermont architecture.

Intel said its use of ARM's DS-5 screenshots in its Silvermont presentation was "an honest mistake". In a statement emailed to The INQUIRER the firm said, "The figures shown in the presentation [were] nothing more than an honest mistake by one of our graphic artist studios. The usage was not intended to compare or contrast anything and was simply a visual." µ


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