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Moore's Law Isn't Making Chips Cheaper Anymore


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A wad of cash.

Chip makers can no longer expect to make processors smaller, faster, and less expensive with each successive generation; they will have to pick two out of the three at best.

Credit: 401(k) 2012 (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Chip makers can no longer expect to make processors smaller, faster, and less expensive with each generation by packing more transistors onto a silicon wafer. They will have to choose two out of three, with regard to Moore's Law.

Speaking at a recent press roundtable in San Francisco, Broadcom chairman Henry Samueli says keeping the law of microprocessors going requires the use of expensive manufacturing techniques that cancel out the cost savings that should come with each new generation. "The cost curves are kind of getting flat," Samueli says.

Although process nodes themselves still have room to advance, he suggests they could hit a wall in about 15 years. Chips will probably reach 5 nanometers after another three generations or so, a point at which there would be only 10 atoms from the beginning to the end of each transistor gate. Further advances may be impossible beyond that.

"As of yet, we have not seen a viable replacement for the [complementary metal-oxide semiconductor] transistor as we've known it for the last 50 years," Samueli points out.

From IDG News Service
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