Therefore Strategic Technology Services

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What is Moore’s Law?

In 1965 Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, observed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future.

In subsequent years, the pace slowed down a bit, but data density has doubled approximately every 18 months, and this is the current definition of Moore's Law, which Moore himself has blessed. 

The simplified version of this law states that the overall processing powers of computers will double every 18 months.

If you were to look at processor speeds from the 1970’s to 2009 and then again in 2010, one may think that the law is nearing its limit. However, a careful look indicates otherwise. In the 1970’s processor speeds ranged from 740 KHz to 8MHz ... Moore's Law held true. At the face of it, from 2000 to 2009 there has not been much speed advancement. Processor speeds have ranged from 1.3 GHz to 2.8 GHz, barely doubling. The transistor count however tells a different story. In 2000 the number of transistors in a CPU numbered 37.5 million, while in 2009 the number went up to 904 million. The issue at hand is connected to the introduction of multi-core CPUs. The 2.8 GHz processor is a Quad Core while the 1.3 GHz processor is a Single Core. The actual power of the 2.8 GHz processor would be found if you multiply by four, which would give you a whopping 11.2 GHz, which is a far cry from 1.3 GHz.

Most experts, including Moore himself, expect Moore's Law to hold for at least another two decades. Fascinating times ahead indeed.

What is the practical take out from Moore’s Law? 

By inference, Moore’s Law could be read another way … your value for money from computer purchases made will double every 18 months. My thinking is that Moore’s Law tells us to use your existing computer hardware for as long as practically possible. Naturally, you need to ensure that you always have sufficient processing capacity to meet the needs of your business, so I am not in any way encouraging irresponsible behaviour here! The reality stands, the more that you delay the purchase, the more value for money you will be buying. Make those computing assets work. When the time does come that you make a purchase of computing equipment, go for the fastest kit that you can get your hands on. This will ensure that you extract maximum value from your IT expenditure.

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