Thursday, February 5, 2009

Intel shifts chip design direction

Moore's Law asserted that processing speed would double every 18 months. It was really more of a promise than a prediction, and for several decades, the technology industry delivered on that promise. That may be changing.

At the upcoming annual International Solid-State Circuits Conference, which starts Sunday in San Francisco, Intel is presenting research findings that could completely change the direction of chip design for the next 20-30 years. Instead of focusing on raw speed ... a focus that has given mankind affordable multi-gigahertz personal computers ... the company is moving towards something they call a "System on a Chip" or SOC. This will result in chips that can completely different tasks, such as core processing and radio transmission. Such a chip could enable over-the-air connectivity at speeds that rival (and maybe even surpass) the highest speed tethered connections. Some are predicting transfer rates as high as 5gb per second, which would make today's 3g and tomorrow's 4g networks feel like the old-time dialup 1400 baud modems.

This is garnering a lot of attention from industry insiders, even if the average consumer could care less about it. I suspect this development will turn out to be a game-changer in favor of Intel, and AMD better catch up quickly. And the wireless carriers had better pay close attention, too.

Read more from other bloggers:
Wall Street Journal: Digits
C-Net: Nanotech - the circuits blog

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