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Opportunities From the Twilight of Moore's Law 148

Posted by timothy
from the finest-corinthian-leather dept.
saccade.com writes "Andrew 'bunnie' Huang just posted an excellent essay, Why the Best Days of Open Hardware are Yet to Come. He shows how the gradually slowing pace of semiconductor density actually may create many new opportunities for smaller scale innovators and entrepreneurs. It's based on a talk presented at the 2011 Open Hardware Summit. Are we entering an age of heirloom laptops and artisan engineering?"
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Opportunities From the Twilight of Moore's Law

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  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @03:40PM (#37483496)

    I'm sure some things actually are faster, but in terms of what's available to consumers, it hasn't seemed to get all that much faster the last few years..

    Heres a reality check for you.

    Im speccing out a machine for a pfSense firewall; Ive settled on a low power, 20 watt Xeon E3 1220L. At about 1/5th the power consumption of a Pentium 4 2.8ghz (and at about 75% the clockrate), it can handle about 13.5gbits of AES encryption, compared to the Pentium's 500mbps.

    So we're talking a 36-fold improvement in processor performance in the area of encryption, along with a 5-fold reduction in power requirements; not to mention the improved memory bandwidth and whatnot.

    Processors continue to improve at a rapid pace; Intel is supposed to be releasing Ivy Bridge soon, which should have another ~15% performance increase, and they just released Sandy Bridge which mostly eliminates the need for a dedicated GPU on laptops and about 80% of users.

    So when people bemoan the rate of computer improvement, despite the MASSIVE leaps in performance, reductions in power usage, and price drops (a core i3 @ $100? A phenom x3 @ $60? Yes please), it boggles my mind. 5 years ago a "modern", decent gaming rig could be had for about $800. Prior to that, getting a fabled 2GB of ram was like $200 on its own. These days, you can have a decent gaming rig for about $500, with none of your parts costing substantially more than $60. For goodness sake, RAM is down to about $6 per GB.

    Heck, I just priced out and ordered 2 laptops for 2 different clients-- they come with i3s, 4GB of RAM, a 4hr battery life, and very high build quality, all for under $500. Where the heck could you have gotten a laptop anywhere close to that value 3 years ago? A celeron? A crappy AMD mobile?

    Seriously, come back to reality please.

  • by Desler (1608317) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @03:41PM (#37483522)

    For the.millionth time, Moore's law is not about processor speed. And no a 3 year old cpu is not the samesame as today. Take for example the sandy bridge intel cpus. They blow away the older core2quads in performance and at lower clock speeds.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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