Skip to comments.Will IBM Turn the Chip Industry On Its Head?
Posted on 10/30/2012 7:48:08 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter
IBM (NYSE:IBM) is reporting having made a major step forward in its search for a replacement for todays silicon chips that could change the microchip landscape as we know it. The chip-making technology now being developed will likely ensure the shrinking of the size of the basic digital switch at the center of modern microchips for more than a decade to come.
IBM is using carbon nanotubes as a replacement for silicon as a semiconductor. Carbon nanotubes have the same on-again off-again electrical properties crucial to making chip transistors. IBM announced on Sunday that a team of eight researchers had discovered how to precisely place carbon nanotubes on a computer chip, a development that allows them to arrange the nanotubes 100 times more densely than earlier methods. IBM has built a chip with more than 10,000 carbon nanotube-based elements.
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The technique means the nanotube now has a better chance at becoming the new industry standard once todays silicon transistor technology grows stale.
Chip makers have routinely doubled the number of transistors that can fit on the surface of a silicon wafer by shrinking the size of the tiny switches that store and route the ones and zeroes that are processed by digital computers in a process known as Moores Law, named after Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) co-founder Gordon Moore. In 1965, Moore noted that the industry was doubling the number of transistors it could build on a single chip at routine intervals of 12 to 18 months.
I wish IBM would get a new advertising agency as their ads aren’t funny, don’t make sense, or requires a smarter person than me to understand them.
BTW, what ever happened to the Apple and PC ads, I love them.
While this is a great step forward, there is a lot of work still required in order to make a viable replacement for the x86 and x86_64 architecture. 10,000 transistors is 1978 density and slightly more than the Motorola 6809 chip
Pentium III 9,500,000 transistors 1999
Pentium 4 42,000,000 transistors 2000
Dual-Core Itanium 2 1,700,000,000 transistors 2006
POWER6 789,000,000 transistors 2007
This is just proof of concept.
Apple has become a post PC company, their focus is on gadgets.
Yeah, but do they all haveta be ‘ON’ at the same time?........
It’s not how many, it’s how you use them that counts. There’s way too much bloatware out there now, and for consumer apps, that may be fine and all, but if you really want a uP to stretch its legs, you need your code to be as neat and clock efficient as possible, and RISC uP’s are the way to go.
...especially considering the fact that IBM sold off its PC and laptop businesses to Lenovo years ago.
Density is one factor, EMP resilient nano-tube technology is another.
It’s a big improvement over previous techniques, but not anywhere close to commercial production quality.
I just looked at Wiki and according to them GPU’s and FPGA’s in general have higher transistor counts than CPU’s. I wasn’t expecting that.
GPU’s have lots of parallelism and on-chip memory, which makes for easy, fluffy gate counts.
FPGA’s either won’t use a large number of the gates on the die (they’ll be blown open during programming or simply ignored), or at best, the way FPGA’s implement a logic circuit can be non-optimal. That’s the trade-off with FPGA’s - you get field programmability (meaning you don’t need to design a custom chip and then get it fab’ed), but you give up optimal design criteria.
IBM has many spectacular successes, but it's now more of a service company then an R&D / manufacturing powerhouse.
Thanks Straight Vermonter.
You can check my profile - I know IBM very well.
I’ve played a prominent role in high tech for 30 years, cutting my teeth at Texas Instruments in their Bipolar Logic, designing their 1st distributed computing platforms across IBM mainframes, minis, and PCs (TI PCs of course). IBM was one of our largest customers and TI was one of their largest. In fact, they sent their engineers to TI for training on their OS and databases.
Also, I've worked with IBM's Global Services on different occasions when companies I worked for outsourced to GS - two "big brother" companies who owned several of the largest data platforms in the world (VP of products for one and chief global architect for the other).
Thanks for the ping.