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Intel Upgrades Hardware

The Mile Markers of Moore's Law Are Meaningless 156

szotz writes "Keeping up the pace of Moore's Law is hard, but you wouldn't know it from the way chipmakers name their technology. The semiconductor industry's names for chip generations (Intel's 22nm, TSMC's 28nm, etc) have very little to do with actual physical sizes, says IEEE Spectrum. And the disconnect is only getting bigger. For the first time, the "pay us to make your chip" foundries are offering a new process (with a smaller-sounding name) that will produce chips that are no denser than their forbears. The move is not a popular one."
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The Mile Markers of Moore's Law Are Meaningless

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  • Re:Not a law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crgrace ( 220738 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @06:27PM (#45295177)

    I don't know about that. It's been a damn useful prediction in that it gave a pretty ambitious roadmap for engineers to follow. They've been quite successful and meeting the challenge up until quite recently.

    A wise proverb that is apropos: If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @06:36PM (#45295247) Journal

    Changing the names to make something sound better has been a strat for decades, if not longer.

    So why is this a surprise that the semiconductors are using it now to sell stuff.

  • Re:What's a mile? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @07:17PM (#45295595)

    Those romans must have had really long legs. A 1m pace is already pretty uncomfortable.

  • Re:bad example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @07:24PM (#45295671)

    "...and Mac fans used to scream loudly (and rightly) how the IBM chips beat Intel on real-world benchmarks while Intel touted their higher speed."

    Mac fans used to scream loudly about anything that made Macs look good...and still do. It's called tribalism and it isn't about being "right", it's about being on the winning team.

    Apple only used an IBM "chip" once. It's clear you don't know that so it's no surprise you don't know how "rightly" Mac fans were about their screaming either. G5's were, in the balance, not faster than their Intel contemporaries. Better at some things and worse at others. One thing was clear with the G5 and it was that Apple was switching to Intel afterward.

    If you asked any "Mac fan" back in the day you'd get explained to you just how superior every generation of PowerPC Mac was to any PC ever. It's surprising then, just how much better Macs got once they switched to a real processor. Macs today ARE PCs in every way yet those Mac fans still have that feeling of smug superiority. They are inherently right always, Steve told them so, they just aren't well informed.

  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @08:56PM (#45296455)
    What you're describing is not to much a "prediction" as a "goal". Which is precisely how Moore's "Law" has been used by the industry. They design each new generation with the goal of doubling the transistor density by some means. The only prediction being made is that they'll meet their goal.
  • Pacing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:07PM (#45297071)

    If you've ever actually had to do precision pacing and measured it out, you'd know why a pace is 2 steps. It equalizes the difference between left and right. 1% accuracy in pace length over a moderately long distance (50-500 m) isn't unusual.

  • Re:Not a law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @11:37PM (#45297219)
    Most scientific laws are orders of magnitude more precise than Moore's "law", and are quite stable over time. Moore himself varied the period for doubling from 12 to 24 months over the course of just a few years. That's better than a meteorologist but not as good as an economist, and economic "laws" are mostly poor approximations even on good days.

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel