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Has Moore's Law actually slowed down?

by Matthew Barnett1 min read20th Aug 20198 comments


Moore's Law

Moore's Law has been notorious for spurring a bunch of separate observations that are all covered under the umbrella of "Moore's law." But as far as I can tell, the real Moore's law is a fairly narrow prediction, which is that the transistor count on CPU chips will double approximately every two years.

Many people have told me that in recent years Moore's law has slowed down. Some have even told me they think it's stopped entirely. For example, the AI and compute article from OpenAI uses the past tense when talking about Moore's Law, "by comparison, Moore’s Law had an 18 month doubling period" (note that Wikipedia says, "The period is often quoted as 18 months because of a prediction by Intel executive David House").

Yet when I google Moore's law, I find this chart from Karl Rupp's website,

To me this looks very stable. And even though single thread performance has stopped improving by much, I can't really see how it's justified to use Moore's law in the past tense just yet. Am I missing something?

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There are two interesting developments this year.

First is very large whole waffle chips with 1.2 trillions transistors, well above trend.

Second is "chiplets" - small silicon ships which are manufactured independently but are stacked on each other for higher connectivity.