Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is Moore’s Law Relevant, Anymore?

But is Moore’s Law Relevant, Anymore?

Moore’s Law has put the chip manufacturers on an aggressive road map. Applications aren’t demanding powerful processors anymore; it seems to be the other way round. Companies are foreseeing applications for the processors that are yet to be released. Over the years, while the transistors in a chip seem to be increasing exponentially, the end-user experience doesn’t seem to be reflecting that trend. Without a doubt, there is a need for more powerful processors and companies do have to keep developing them, but we have reached a stage where there is no need for such high acceleration to move forward. “There is very little in terms of mainstream software that is coming out anytime soon that needs more performance on the desktop,” said Mark Margevicius, Research Director at Gartner Inc.

While many wouldn’t agree with him, they would agree that there is a sizeable population using their PC only for light work such as word processing, browsing, etc. Is anything being made to improve their experience?

Using multiple processors instead of one powerful processor is another direction to go. Google, for example, has one of the largest processor farms. When the 130W consuming Itanium was released, Google refused to buy any of it, citing its power consumption. Many of the systems used by Google are Celeron-based. Maybe it’s time to have a second look at Moore’s Law, maybe not!

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