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charlesarthur : mooreslaw   3

Intel earnings: What the chip maker can say to turn assuage doubts • MarketWatch
Wallace Witkowski:
<p>Intel has struggled mightily the past few months, but it may be able to retrieve some lost love by showing strong data-centre growth and progress on rolling chips using a long-overdue manufacturing process.

Intel is scheduled to report quarterly earnings after the close of markets on Thursday. On Monday, rumors circulated that Intel was killing off its 10nm manufacturing process following a string of delays on the year, but Intel was quick to deny the reports.

“10nm,” where “nm” means nanometers, refers to how small a chip maker can make the transistors that go on a computer chip, with the general rule being that smaller transistors are faster and more efficient in using power. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD, has been chipping away at Intel’s dominance as its 7nm chip manufacturing process has been hailed as equal or even superior to Intel’s.

That is just the latest problem for Intel, which has had a trying year. The chip maker was hit late in 2017 by news of twin vulnerabilities baked into its chips, then dumped its chief executive — who has not been replaced on a permanent basis — while dealing with a shortage of chips thought to stem from manufacturing-process issues.</p>


The reports of killing off the 10nm <a href="https://semiaccurate.com/2018/10/22/intel-kills-off-the-10nm-process/">came from SemiAccurate</a>, which called it "struggling". Intel's denial feels like one of those "in good time we'll agree" denials.

If correct, then that really is the end of Moore's Law for Intel.
intel  10nm  mooreslaw 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
What the GlobalFoundries' retreat really means: Moore's Law is dead • IEEE Spectrum
Steve Blank:
<p>Each shrinkage of chip line widths requires more complexity. Features have to be precisely placed at exact locations with each lithographic printing step. At 7 nanometers, this requires up to 80 such steps.

The other limitation to packing more transistors onto to a chip is called Dennard scaling: As transistors get smaller, their power density stays constant, so that the power use stays in proportion with area. But basic physics has stopped Dennard scaling, creating a “Power Wall”—a barrier to clock speed—that has limited microprocessor frequency to around 4 gigahertz since 2005.  It’s also why memory density is not going to increase at the rate we saw a decade ago.

The problem of continuing to shrink transistors in a post-Dennard era is so hard that even Intel, the leader in microprocessors and for decades the gold standard in leading fab technology, has stumbled. Industry observers have suggested that Intel has hit several speed bumps on the way to its next generation push to 10- and 7-nanometer designs, and now is trailing TSMC and Samsung.

The combination of spiraling fab cost, technology barriers, power density limits, and diminishing returns is the reason GlobalFoundries threw in the towel. It also means the future direction of innovation on silicon is no longer predictable.

The end of putting more transistors on a single chip doesn’t mean the end of innovation in computers or mobile devices. (To be clear, the bleeding edge will advance, but almost imperceptibly year-to-year; and GlobalFoundaries isn’t shutting down, they’re just no longer going to be the ones pushing the edge.)

But what it does mean is that we’re at the end of guaranteed year-to-year growth in computing power. The result is the end of the type of innovation we’ve been used to for the last 60 years. Instead of just faster versions of what we’ve been used to seeing, device designers now need to get more creative with the 10 billion transistors they already have to work with.</p>
Mooreslaw  computing  chips  nanometer 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
With Moore’s Law receding, design is how we decide >> Gigaom
John Maeda: <blockquote class="quoted">There’s a signal inside our heads going off today — we instinctively know that we don’t need more storage or speed because we don’t have any real use for it. In absence of the normal cues of “better,” which used to be as simple as knowing the CPU’s clock speed, or how much RAM it has, or how big a screen to pair with it, we now are choosing based upon something else: design. Because Mo(o)re computing power no longer makes technology feel better — in fact, the pile-on of new features that Moore’s Law has enabled makes us feel confused. And in this new universe, we have come to count on design to cut through the clutter and make things feel better.

Unfortunately, since “good design” is defined by the user it’s intended for, it’s not just about creating more, and there is no algorithmic “law” for how to get it. It suffers from the phrase that all technologists and investors hate to hear, which is “… it depends.” Whether we want “more” or “less” doesn’t have a single right answer. An example I like to use is about doing the laundry versus eating a cookie. You always want less laundry, but more cookies. One person’s laundry is another’s cookie. And so on.

Good design is even harder to define in the digital age.

I visited a local phone shop earlier today - it was empty of customers - and asked one of the assistants if there was any sign of people switching from Android to iPhones with the new models (prominently displayed in the front window). Not at all, he said - more the other way. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was doing far better. "It's the same price as the iPhone, though?" I asked. He frowned. "It's got better specs," he replied.

Design isn't quite the whole story for everyone yet.
design  mooreslaw 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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