Macro-economic consequences of Moore's law?

By: David Hess (davidwhess.delete@this.gmail.com), April 19, 2017 12:56 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
RichardC (tich.delete@this.pobox.com) on April 19, 2017 12:08 pm wrote:
> David Hess (davidwhess.delete@this.gmail.com) on April 19, 2017 11:16 am wrote:
>
> But I think it's a mistake to focus only on Intel, who have missed out badly on the phone/tablet
> boom, and instead have found themselves chasing improvements in server TCO (by putting more and
> more cores per cpu, with less and less power per core) and laptop battery life. ISTM the more
> representative markets are for stuff like mid-range quad-core ARM phone chips, which aren't
> pushing the envelope on density, and a whole lot of embedded SoCs in set-top boxes and
> WiFi routers, which also aren't close to the edge in terms of density, but don't want to run
> too hot in quiet/small boxes.

Not pushing the envelope on density? They are being manufactured on the most economical process available for the cost advantage which is usually the densest. But lower volume products will not support that.

> And my impression is that a whole lot of products stayed on 28-32nm processes for a long long
> time, because they didn't *need* the extra density, and the cost per transistor on the newer
> processors stayed high for quite a while (though I guess eventually they must have matured
> and got cheaper). In other words, the move to smaller feature sizes isn't an economic slam-dunk
> the way it used to be. Is that right ?

I think ARM suffers from having so many different producers that only the largest volume products are economical for the newest processes. Even with high costs, those processes have a lower cost per transistor because of their density advantage. Smaller players will have to just put up with higher costs and the resulting lower profits.

At some point you are right and a denser fabrication processes will be so expensive that the cost per transistor will not decrease.
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