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45 Years Later, Does Moore's Law Still Hold True? 214

Velcroman1 writes "Intel has packed just shy of a billion transistors into the 216 square millimeters of silicon that compose its latest chip, each one far, far thinner than a sliver of human hair. But this mind-blowing feat of engineering doesn't really surprise us, right? After all, that's just Moore's Law in action isn't it? In 1965, an article in "Electronics" magazine by Gordon Moore, the future founder of chip juggernaut Intel, predicted that computer processing power would double roughly every 18 months. Or maybe he said 12 months. Or was it 24 months? Actually, nowhere in the article did Moore actually spell out that famous declaration, nor does the word 'law' even appear in the article at all. Yet the idea has proved remarkably resilient over time, entering the zeitgeist and lodging like a stubborn computer virus you just can't eradicate. But does it hold true? Strangely, that seems to depend more than anything on whom you ask. 'Yes, it still matters, and yes we're still tracking it,' said Mark Bohr, Intel senior fellow and director of process architecture and integration. 'Semiconductor chips haven't actually tracked the progress predicted by Moore's law for many years,' said Tom Halfhill, the well respected chip analyst with industry bible the Microprocessor Report."
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45 Years Later, Does Moore's Law Still Hold True?

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  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @04:20PM (#34757594)
    Funny you should say that as there was a /. story [] not terribly long ago about how algorithm improvements have improved beyond hardware.

    The problem with products from Adobe and Microsoft is that the codebase is massive and it can be a pain to fix and optimize one part without breaking something else. Software vendors deal with the same issue of needing to be faster than the competitor as Intel/AMD. If Adobe and Microsoft don't, I think it speaks more to the lack of competition in some of their product areas than it does to simply being lazy.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @04:35PM (#34757746)
    Don't be stupid. AMD did overtake Intel on a couple occasions and the response most recently was to bribe companies not to integrate AMD chips into their computers.
  • by joeyblades ( 785896 ) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @05:31PM (#34758418)

    the future founder of chip juggernaut Intel, predicted that computer processing power would double roughly every 18 months. Or maybe he said 12 months

    What Gordon Moore actually said was that complexity would double every year. Moore was also relating cost at that time, but cost doesn't actually scale well, so most people don't include cost in modern interpretations of Moore's Law.

    For circuit complexity, Moore's Law (with the 18 month amendment) seems to still hold true. However, we are fast approaching some physical limits that may cause the doubling period to increase.

    Performance is commonly associated with Moore's Law (as you mention), However, performance is a function of clock speed, architecture, algorithm, and a host of other parameters and certainly does not follow Moore's Law... It never really has, even though people still like to think it does... or should...

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce