Originally posted by Programmer
This is a very funny thread to read. Nr9 comes in with a serious piece of information that we really ought to important ramifications of, and he gets slapped down because people don't want to hear it.
It is not that we don't want to hear it it is just a matter of the information being wrong. Sure there have been problems with 90nm, and IBM's process could hardly becalled innovative but that does mean we won't see progress.
Are there physical limits to how fast a CPU can operate - most certainly. The problem is that we are far from those limits, the problems today are almost universally thermal and can be dealt with.
The evidence in support of this information is there, but almost nobody will acknowledge it. Instead he is called a troll.
Maybe not so much a troll as somebody that maybe is being mis informed for various reasons.
This reminds me of various other transitions in history where people refused to believe something was going to happen until they were steamrollered by it. Can't you even accept the possibility that he has a legitimate piece of information?
Ah no I can't accept it because the premiss doesn't support what is happening in the industry. If I saw every manufacture give up on trying to produce smaller and faster trasistors I'd say we may be on to something. This isn't the case at all, corporations are still pursuing much faster devices.
One should not get side tracked by multicore processors either, this is just an out growth of having the hardware available to implement them. Multicore chips are not an excuse for poor single core performance, rather they are a avenue to increasing SYSTEM performance.
First of all, this is not a decree that no line of chips will every gain even a single MHz of speed from this day forth for all time.
You may not be making such a decree but Nr9 certainly is trying to. This is what people are rejecting
Different lineups are at different places on their performance/power curves, they have different requirements, they are on different processes, and they have different characteristics. What Nr9 is saying is that the companies who have reached the 90nm node have discovered, to their surprise (!!), that the power cost of frequency increases is no longer viable as a primary strategy to increasing performance.
With the initial transistion to 90nm and the lack of process development this may be the case. The reality is that manufactures have no choice but to find a way around this issue.
This trend has been obvious to anyone paying attention over the past 5 years, so I don't understand why it should be a surprise to anyone. Its also not a hard-and-fast number like the speed of sound, or the speed of light... but clearly the balance of tradeoffs in processor design has shifted far enough to effect the basic strategy of the designers. Intel announced this 6+ months ago when they decided that their future was not their clock rate champ, the NETBurst architecture.
We have heard about such issues since the industry started. Heck I've been following this since Byte was a young magazine. At each point in the development of the industry somebody has dealt with the supposed limits of the time. There is nothing to keep that fm happening again.
Second, the various counter-examples mentioned are from companies that "expect" to be able to do better or from old roadmaps that don't take into account the learnings of the last 6-9 months. These are projections made without the foreknowledge of the problems found at 90nm.
It is almost a given that IBM is working on lowering the power used by the 970 series. You are implying, along with Nr9 apparently, that they have given up on new technology that may be applied at 90nm.
Freescale saying that they can reach 3 GHz, for example, is either them not being aware of the precise troubles they're about to hit... or it is them deciding that they can make the same design choices that IBM & Intel made to achieve 3 GHz.
Or maybe the approach that the team Freescale is involved with is leading them to more confidence. After all they have taken their time and do have the knowledge of the rest of the industiers public failings. It is not like there is only one 90nm process in this world and every one is being compelled to use it. There is still room in this world for novel approaches and innovation.
Third, the engineering planning for this technology has very long lead times. If all the bleeding edge technology in existance doesn't provide any hope for correcting this problem, then any truly new ideas are probably about 5 years from reaching the maturity level where they can be used to produce millions and billions of new chips. I always take "never" with a grain of salt, but in the absence of any real ideas about how to break a given barrier then we ought to assume that for any practical purpose that barrier is as inevitable as the speed of light. Let the researchers hunt for a solution, that is the nature of research.
This is the whole point with many rejecting the posts that Nr9 has been making. Research is on going. There are 90nm process options and alternatives. Some of these IBM is probally exploring at this very minute for the next PPC releases.
In any case, give Nr9 a fair shake... he hasn't done anything to deserve being slammed like this.
I do believe that many have been very fair with Nr9. He either has to offer more compelling evidence or modify his approach. To state absolutely that we have hit a wall and 2.5GHz is it, is just to much. IBM may have recently stumbled and fallen flat on their face but that doesn't mean they can't stand up again. Frankly they have to stand up again or be left in the position of watching others walk away from them technology wise.