6.22.2009

Is Moore's Law about to die?

http://ca.tech.yahoo.com/blogs/the_gadget_hound/rss/article/3647
http://www.cmg.org/measureit/issues/mit41/m_41_2/plot.png
It's one of the most famous maxims in the technology world: Moore's Law, originally conceived by Intel's Gordon Moore in 1965, posits that the number of transistors on a circuit will double every 1 1/2 to 2 years. That has held true -- like a rock -- since it was envisioned, from the 2,300 transistors on an Intel 4004 to the 2 billion or so transistors on a quad-core Itanium produced today.
But even Moore has cautioned that the Law won't be sustainable forever. The limits of physics -- the size and characteristics of electrons that have to move through these circuits, for example -- mandate that at some point, we'll either have to stop shrinking transistors (which is how you fit more and more of them on a chip) or move to another form of CPU that doesn't rely on traditional silicon. Either way, Moore's Law would no longer apply. Intel itself has predicted the imminent end of Moore's Law on many occasions, though its most recent prediction is that there is "no end in sight."
Research group iSuppli would beg to differ with that opinion, and says that not only is the end in sight, it's right around the corner: By 2014, the company says Moore's Law will cease to drive chip design, and for a reason unrelated to physics. Rather, it's economics that will kill Moore's Law as we know it.
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