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Each generation of fab is significantly more expensive than the last. Pushing the edge of physics is expensive. Transistors are so small these days they can't use the normal light frequencies any more. Things like precisely focusing light gets trickier when extreme frequencies are used.

The result is you have to almost double your volume with each generation, as a result there are less and less fabs running the current process. Makes AMD decision to split off Global Foundries look pretty good in hindsight.

Even those companies with the leading process make a substantial number of chips on older process. So the bleeding edge CPU gets the latest greatest, but the chipset, flash chips, and memory chips are often a generation or more behind.

Seems realistic that if you are behind and don't have a huge customer (like apple or nvidia) lined up that you just save a few $billion and let TMSC have it. TMSC will of course charge more without competition, and make chips using TMSC less competitive. If Samsung can't compete with TMSC (which remains to be seen) TMSC might well delay future shrinks.

The market loves Moore's law, but the stress is really starting to show. Physics is starting to interfere with what the market wants. Things like CPU clock speeds stagnating, power per chip doubling for the first time in the newest generation, and of course the ever lengthening product cycles.

It does make you wonder when AMD and Intel double the normal CPU socket from 95 watts to 180 watts or so. What are they going to do for the next generation?




That 95 watt number they provide is a minimum to provide the advertised speeds more than anything else. Current stock chips from both AMD and Intel already use much more than their rated amount if there is headroom thermally and there is power availability. The 8700k for example has no problem drawing >150 watts when turbo'ing all cores and being well cooled. AMD does this as well.

Advertised heat output should also be taken with a grain of salt. Both die size and material between the die and heatspreader can make two 95 watt chips have very different cooling requirements.


> It does make you wonder when AMD and Intel double the normal CPU socket from 95 watts to 180 watts or so.

could they, and still expect to sell? it seems hard to tell the data center and supercomputing customers that they're going to have install massively more cooling capacity.


ThreadRipper 2 is 250W and I don't see people complaining, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if K SKUs move up to higher TDP.

In servers it's already rumored that Intel will increase TDP to ~300W per socket. This doesn't require more cooling per se, you just fit fewer sockets into the data center.


These days TDP is a lie and everyone knows it. Both Intel and AMD are measuring TDP at base-clocks and their processors will happily pull another 75-100% over TDP while boost clocks are active, even without overclocking.

The idea that you could run an octocore in the same TDP as a quad-core is obviously not correct, and it's largely because Intel and AMD keep pushing the baseclocks down farther and farther.




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