Moore’s Law Dead?

News Posted 15/11/2006
Author: PV5150

Forty years after the publication of his law, which states that transistor density on integrated circuits doubles about every two years, Moore said this morning: “It can’t continue forever. The nature of exponentials is that you push them out and eventually disaster happens.

All those years of “the number of transistors on a die will double every 18mo” beaten into your heads is all for naught. Truth be told, the real reason for the death of Moore’s Law has to do with the instability introduced in current transistor technology at higher frequencies. To compensate, chips have gone horizontal. Rather than increasing the frequency to produce better performance, manufacturers are increasing the transistor count via the number of cores on a die at a lower frequency. By doubling the number of transistors at a given stable frequency, vendors can produce near double performance numbers at lower frequencies and power consumption resulting in increased stability.

“In terms of size [of transistor] you can see that we’re approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier, but it’ll be two or three generations before we get that far – but that’s as far out as we’ve ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit. By then they’ll be able to make bigger chips and have transistor budgets in the billions.” (, 2006)

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