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Old 11th Oct 2005, 01:18 PM   #1
Zenny
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Moore's Law Back On Track?

Moore's Law states that processor speeds will double every two years. If you've been following processor releases lately, and I know every true Unreal fan follows them in the same fashion as the Quakers follow religion, then you'll know that recently there's been some stagnation in the new processor's speeds. Hopefully, that stagnation is a thing of the past:

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UCLA and Intel have independently made several announcements claiming big advances in building a new laser and another communication device called a modulator. This may initially seem like a big yawner; companies like Coherent (Nasdaq: COHR), JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU), and Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Rofin-Sinar Technologies (Nasdaq: RSTI) already make many different types of lasers. But UCLA and Intel's work marks the first time that a laser and a fast modulator were made from silicon. These advances may one day lead to faster computer chips and less expensive components for optical communication networks.
The Motley Fool has a great article about the new technology and its future implications.
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Old 11th Oct 2005, 01:20 PM   #2
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2010, at the earliest *yawn*
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Old 11th Oct 2005, 03:06 PM   #3
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"These advances may one day lead to faster computer chips and less expensive components for optical communication networks."

Looks like they missed a bit here:

"This doesn't mean that the computer parts will cost the consumer any less. It just means that companies will make more money on sales because the components cost THEM less money."
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Old 11th Oct 2005, 04:09 PM   #4
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I'm pretty sure Moore's Law states that the number of transistors in the chips will double. Not the actual speed. Although more transistors should equal more speed, I think. I'm a CS major, we just use the damn things. Any electrical engineers in here who can tell us what more transistors does?
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Old 11th Oct 2005, 06:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemephosis
"These advances may one day lead to faster computer chips and less expensive components for optical communication networks."

Looks like they missed a bit here:

"This doesn't mean that the computer parts will cost the consumer any less. It just means that companies will make more money on sales because the components cost THEM less money."
Damn straight. Costs savings in any business are rarely if ever passed on to the conusmer these days.
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Old 12th Oct 2005, 12:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceboy2003
I'm pretty sure Moore's Law states that the number of transistors in the chips will double. Not the actual speed. Although more transistors should equal more speed, I think. I'm a CS major, we just use the damn things. Any electrical engineers in here who can tell us what more transistors does?
Hmm, shouldn't a CS grad student know how transistors affect processor speed

Moore's Law is usually interpreted as, "the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every 18 or 24 months". Some say 18 months and others say 24 months. A graph from the 8086 to the Pentium 4 shows a trend close to 18 months. However, from the Pentium to the Pentium 3 the doubling was closer to every 24 months.

More transistors does generally equal more speed. However, simply doubling the amount of transistors will not double the speed. Something must be done with the extra transistors to improve the speed of the processor. The most obvious cause for transistor count increase these days is the use of 64 bit and multi-core processors.

Improvements that resulted in more transistors being crammed onto circuits

CISC
On board cache
Pipeline technology
Superscalar technology
Branch prediction
Data flow analysis
Speculative execution
Interrupts
DMA
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Old 13th Oct 2005, 12:53 AM   #7
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The problem that CPU manufacturers are hitting up against is that the circuits are beginning to become so small that quantum effects are taking place.

IBM came out with a technology that helps a bit (SOI I think) but the fact is that the material between transistors isn't providing enough isolation such that exchanges between logic gates go unperturbed.

There was some talk about using shorter wavelengths (UV), using aloys, nanotubes, and other far-fetched ideas but the fact is that general purpose cpu processing power is going to stagnate for a few years while Intel and others figure a way of getting around today's barriers or switching to an alternative tech which would probably be costly seeing the investments these companies have made in the various plants they've opened to switch to a lower-submicron manufacturing process.
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