Feeds

Intel mad for power, but stacked-up dies keep MELTING!

Moore's Law good for 10 years easy - top Chipzilla boffin

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

ERIC Moore's Law is going to be good for at least another decade, according to chip-maker Intel.

"There's always physical limits to everything," Steve Pawlowski, senior fellow and head honcho on exascale research, told The Register at the European Research and Innovation Conference in Ireland.

"But you can always come up with clever ways... for example, there’s nothing that says I can’t take two dies and stack them on top of each other so I can grow Moore’s Law in the third dimension," he added.

It's not just a potentially clever way to push Moore's Law, stacking chips is something Pawlowski is looking into right now as a way to get the world to high performance computing (HPC).

Intel has set itself the target of getting computers to be 100 times more powerful than they are today by 2018 - in other words, to achieve the exaflop computing level.

One way Pawlowski thinks Intel can do this is by improving memory data transfer.

"The biggest part of memory is getting information out of memory into the processor, moving data around. So in certain situations we’re looking at can you make memory and processor closer together by stacking them on top of each other," he said.

"The bottom line is you’re reducing the length a signal has to go from A and B and by doing that you can make it faster. By stacking on top of the CPU die you can make wider memory interface and with width and speed, you get higher bandwidth," he added.

However, stacking them up that way has an unfortunate side-effect - the power needed to pull the memory out of the chip and into the processor has had the nasty habit of melting the die in lab experiments.

Whether it eventually works that way or not, stacking is the sort of idea Pawlawski reckons is needed to achieve exascale, not new materials.

"It’s architecturally in how we build the devices that we need innovation," he said.

"Every time I hear this technology is going to run out of gas in ten years and we’re going to need something new, there’s always some new way of engineering or some new creative way to use the material that gives you a longer life."

That's why, even though he thinks new wonder material graphene is interesting, he doesn't think it's the way to go for future chips.

"I’m kind of interested in it for a number of reasons, but is it going to take over everything and be the new technology that’s going to drive us to exascale? I don’t believe it," he said. "It’s my opinion, but I think silicon is still going to be the underlying technology that’s going to take us well into the next decade."

Which is about how long Pawlowski will be drawn into forecasting that Moore's Law will last, although he will say: "I'm of the belief that if you give an engineer a problem, they'll solve it." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
VMware's tool to harden virtual networks: a spreadsheet
NSX security guide lands in intriguing format
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.