- Apr 8, 2019
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Tesla Valves and Quantum computing? Asks a luddite -sci-fi lover?Moore's law stopped some time (at least in real world terms) ago, Intel themselves some time ago admitted defeat when they abandoned their tick-tock approach to processors as they could no longer make process improvements quickly enough and unusually they're now having severe manufacturing problems with their consumer processors leading to a shortage in supply. The new Xeon Platinum 9000 series looks to have an impressive transistor density with up to 56 cores but it's two separate dies stuck together rather than a new high density die.
Even before that while processors have maintained moore's law with an increase in cores, the per core performance hasn't been going up much at all and for consumer use that's not great as a lot of software is not good at making use of large core counts.
While the processor market pulled back from extreme clock speeds with the failure of the P4 and instead focused on performance per watt, the graphics card market has pushed on with huge dies and massive power demands. Whereas cpu work often doesn't benefit from large core counts, the parallel work of a graphics card has meant they've been able to keep more aggressive growth except they've largely come to a halt now as well. The GTX 10x0 series was released three years and surprisingly Nvidia have only just released their successors with the 20x0 series, even more surprising despite the gap in time is they barely outpace the much older 10x0 cards instead offering support for raytracing which while impressive, has almost no developer support.
Mobile platforms have still been advancing quickly in performance but that's likely to slow down now as it's going to be more difficult to move down to smaller process nodes.
I don't think it's all that bad though as I remember the days of P3's, Athlons, P4's, A64's, C2D's etc. and the relentless pace of performance, a high end PC would typically only last around 18 months being able to run at the top level before new processors and graphics cards would up the ante again. I used to spend a lot of time trying to get games running at their optimum level and speccing up new machines to catch up again. Now my desktop is a staggering seven years old, although most of its been replaced its cpu/motherboard are still the same as its hex core i7 is still extremely capable easily managing 1440p gaming in current titles and chewing through video files. Its 12 threads are often badly underutlised even by software that claims to be multicore optimised so a new system with a higher core count doesn't really appeal.
Normally I wouldn't mind too much if an older system failed as I could treat myself to a newer one but in this case I very much hope it will keep on going as replacing its core components is going to be pricey for not much gain.
Technically neither are relevant to Moore's Law which is specifically regarding the transistor complexity which he predicted would double every two years. Some have taken that to mean performance doubles every year and therefore it's a measure of performance but that's not the case particularly in the last few years where we've seen core counts and caches soar but not so much performance for every day consumers.Tesla Valves and Quantum computing? Asks a luddite -sci-fi lover?