Beyond Moore's Law

Arthur Cole

Now that Moore's Law has been given a shelf-life of perhaps 10 more years by none other than Gordon Moore himself, it's no surprise to see Intel investing in new on- and off-chip processing technologies to keep the bits and bytes flowing.


To be sure, new halfnium and metal gate processes will keep doubling the number of transistors as the industry heads toward 45 nm architectures and smaller. But eventually you run into some immutable laws of physics that simply won't allow transistor to get any smaller.


That's why Intel -- along with HP, Microsoft, NEC and Texas Instruments -- is backing initiatives like USB 3.0, which aims to boost the I/O bandwidth capability tenfold over current USB 2.0 technology. It also opens up the possibility of optical and copper interconnection.


And then there's QuickPath, the company's on-chip memory controller, slated to become a key component of the 45 nm Nehelem architecture. The company also is talking about a 10 GbE controller and greater embedded virtualization capabilities.


The fact that Moore's Law really wasn't a "law" in the traditional sense shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. To Intel's credit, the company is getting creative in its drive to leverage the benefits of silicon technology. Still, you can only squeeze so much juice from an orange, and although it may be a long way off, there is a limit to computing technology as we know it today.

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