Contract Manufacturer Experts at MiQ Explore the Question: Is Moore’s Law Still Applicable Today?
Moore’s Law is an observation of computing hardware history that focused on the fact that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. Proposed in a 1965 paper by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, this observation still looks to hold up for a few more years, although it’s relevancy is currently in question. With Intel shrinking its transistor sizes and creating new manufacturing processes, the contract manufacturer experts at MiQ Partners explore the applicability of Moore’s law in the current technological landscape.
Although Moore observed that transistors double roughly every two years, he also suggested that this trend is time constrained and will likely slow down as the years pass. With the introduction of the first 45 nm processors in 2007, it seems likely that Moore’s Law could become irrelevant sometime soon. However, following this new technological innovation, Moore said that he expected his observation to extend until around 2020 and then taper off.
- Number of transistors double every two years
- Heat problems with denser chip structures
- Time limit on two-dimensional chip structures
On top of the observation mentioned above, Moore also predicated that microprocessors would experience heat problems with denser chip structures, something that Intel already experienced when developing its Netburst architecture for the Pentium 4 models during the 1999 to 2005 time period. Furthermore, he predicted that two-dimensional chip structures would eventually hit a wall and the industry would need to invest in 3D technology, something that already happened in 2011/2012.
Benefits of Moore’s Law
Moore’s Law has evolved into somewhat of a guideline for the IT ndustry to help stimulate innovation and develop affordable and effective computers. Companies everywhere use his predications to guide the development of their new technologies and with good reason, as many of his predications and suggestions have been spot on. However, it is important to note that transistor count is just one factor in the realm of innovation and not the end-all-be-all of developing a novel semiconductor. As much as Moore’s Law is beneficial for the industry, it should not be used solely as a marketing tool to force innovation.
Does It Matter?
As much as Moore’s predications and implications have held up, the question remains as to whether this really matters. Does anyone care whether Intel can uphold the 2-year cycle observed in the original 1965 paper? Does transistor count matter that much? Ultimately, it seems that the answers to each of these questions is likely no; innovation is innovation, and enthusiastic consumers probably don’t care whether or not their new products are following the 2-year trend of transistor doubling. Furthermore, as mentioned above, there are many other factors at play when developing new hardware outside of cramming as many transistors as you can into a small space.
With the introduction of Intel’s tri-gate transistors, allowing them to double transistor count using 3D structures, Moore’s Law is once again supported and his predication on the limits of two-dimensional technology is on point. Despite this, the doubling of transistor counts is somewhat irrelevant in today’s world. If more transistors create better processors, great; if not, other technologies will develop in their place. Moore’s Law is still valid, but its relevance has diminished in the face of new ways to measure processing power.