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Friday, October 15, 2004

The Changing Nature Of Moore's Law

Tim Oren points out to the changing nature of Moore's law.Intel has now officially pushed off the debut of the 4GHz flavor of Pentium. Though industry pundits have talked about this release as keeping processor speeds on the historical Moore's Law curve to the end of the decade. Intel is now focusing on other advances such as dual-core, which essentially puts two processors on one chip, enabling two processor-hungry applications to be run at the same time.Intel and other chipmakers pushed so-called clock-speeds as a measure of chip advancements but are now eager to have all aspects of a processor's performance taken into account.One reason that speed can be de-emphasized is that the rise of mobile PCs has made it easier to sell processors based on more than just sheer computing horsepower. "Speed is no longer the ultimate or only goal, users recognize the importance of battery life and portability and higher functionality." Still, the move had to be a difficult one for Intel to make because of its public stance that it would bring a 4 GHz chip to market early in 2005. It's one thing to talk about things other than speed but another to pull back this hard and late.The decision to change course only adds to the growing sense that Intel has hit some strategic speed-bumps.RF and hybrid, or low power, or reconfigurable processors - there are a number of learning curves whose proponents aspire to take part of the glory of Moore's Law in advancing silicon processing.

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