Friday, June 24, 2005

Size Does Count...Well Not Exactly, It's More The Power

Moore's Law


/morz law/ The observation, made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore while preparing a speech, that each new memory integrated circuit contained roughly twice as much capacity as its predecessor, and each chip was released within 18-24 months of the previous chip. If this trend continued, he reasoned, computing power would rise exponentially with time.

In plain English, all he's trying to say is that every 18-24 months, your going to see another product out on the market that has double the technology at the same cost. But the "what if" factor really kicks in here, as this law really only applies to our good friends at Intel and AMD...Or does it. Well here's some facts that you don't really care about, but will still be added to as filler into this entry. In 1971 Intel created its first ever microprocessor, simply dubbed the 4004. This chip had about 2,250 transistors packed into it. Now the year after that, Intel created another chip called the 8008. Anyone see a pattern here. But no unfortunately this chip did not have 4500 transistors in it but instead only had 250 more. So basically Moore's law really didn't apply here as, in one year they were only able to add 250 more transistors into the chip, but if you take a look at there other stats, this theory is broken. In 1974 the 8080 chip was created with 5000 transistors in it. Just 4 years later, they created the 8086, with a whopping 29,000 transistors in it. That's a 240% increase over a period of two years, and therefore proves Moore's law as correct. The number of transistors packed into a chip will grow exponentially over a period of 2 years. When Intel created the Pentium 4 processor in 2000, it had a grand total of 42 million transitors in it. Then two years later, they created the Intel Itanium Processor with 220 million transistors in it. But this time the increase in transistors jumped to 520% over 2 years. This means that Moore was absolutely right when he stated his law. But what he did not know is that his law also exponentially doubles. First we saw an increase of 240% over 2 years, and then we saw an increase of 520% over 2 years. So who cares, that's just a bunch of numbers you say. Well, this means that 20 years from now technology will get 5 times better as each year goes on. Let's skip ahead 20 years and say you want to purchase a new laptop. According to Moore's law the average laptop on the market should be clocking in at around 40 GHz. But simply wait a single year, and a new laptop at the same price will clock in at 60 GHz. Sound too good to be true. Well it probably is, but just go ask Gordon Moore. He proved it once, and it's just a matter of time (20 years to be precise), before it's done again.

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