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Moore's Law Fails At NAND Flash Node

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the honey-i-couldn't-shrink-the-transistor dept.

Data Storage 147

An anonymous reader writes "SanDisk sampling its 1Y-based NAND flash memory products and has revealed they are manufactured at same minimum geometry as the 1X generation: 19 nm. The author speculates that this is one of the first instances of a Moore's Law 'fail' since the self-fulfilling prophecy was made in 1965 — but that it won't be the last."

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I'm sorry Mr. Trump (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849231)

Mr. Moore is in a meeting right now. Can you give me your number so I can have him call you back?

Re:I'm sorry Mr. Trump (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849261)

The name's Kerwyn and why don't you take another look at the article to see if Trump is actually mentioned anywhere.

Re:I'm sorry Mr. Trump (-1, Offtopic)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#43849325)

No problem. My number is (555) 3214427 ... *2^t/18m

Shortage, no. (5, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43849273)

There's a granularity to advancement as it is made of discrete units of advancement and invention.

Also, I wouldn't pooh pooh the use of other techniques to keep things moving. In the terms economists use to analyze advancement, this is called "substitution" [juliansimon.org] , and is the source of the counter-intuitive but powerfully predictive observation that, in a free economy, people can invent ahead of the curve faster than things become problems, like shortages.

Re:Shortage, no. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849403)

It's a pity there are no free economises then.

Re:Shortage, no. (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#43849909)

Some are a much closer approximation than others and the closer the approximation the more it works.

Re:Shortage, no. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about a year ago | (#43850041)

It's a pity there are no free economises then.

I hate those free economises to pieces!

Re:Shortage, no. (2)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#43850835)

It's a pity there are no free economises then.

They never were free.

People just didn't realize how much they were under the control of the state.

This is why many immigrants are successful business people -- they haven't been here long enough to know the extent to which the state can step in and take control.

The rest of us have the sense not to make a move for fear of doing something wrong. There are so many laws that it would take a life time to comprehend them and whether or not a decision meets the state's approval.

That or one hires many lawyers.

Re:Shortage, no. (1)

Gerzel (240421) | about a year ago | (#43850331)

Didn't Moore's Law include a ten year limit anyway?

Re:Shortage, no. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850439)

"pooh pooh"??
How old are you? *Five*?

Fuck, you religitards are such *failures*!

Re:Shortage, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851375)

There's nothing childish about the verb "pooh-pooh". It doesn't have anything to do with defecation. According to the dictionary its use goes back to 1827.

Re:Shortage, no. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850937)

And that is my friends why economics is a religion and not a science, economists are nothing but priests delivering wishful thinking like the above comment which is not only counter-intuitive it is against evidence religions never cared about evidence.

Re:Shortage, no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851063)

There's a granularity to reality called "atoms" as they are what computers and NAND flash are made of.

Could you take about an hour from your life to watch an interesting video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NGFhc8R_uO4 [youtube.com]

Let me know if this changes things for you.

It has not failed yet (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849303)

Moore's Law applies to the number of transistors in a chip. Just because you have found an increase in performance that did follow Moore's Law for a while does not mean that Moore's Law is somehow about flash memory. Therefore, when the increase no longer follows Moore's Law, it does NOT mean that Moore's Law has failed. The only thing that has failed is your own prediction that things other than the number of transistors would follow that curve.

Re:It has not failed yet (0)

nozzo (851371) | about a year ago | (#43849339)

+1

Re:It has not failed yet (1, Insightful)

invid (163714) | about a year ago | (#43849431)

That's why they put the word "fail" in safety quotes, and said they "speculated" that it failed. They were just thinking out loud and speculating on a hypothesis.

Re:It has not failed yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849455)

Well, maybe they should stop "thinking" like that and instead write something "insightful."

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43851773)

Besides, according to the author, even then it only failed "in spirit", because they still managed to fit 25% more cells on the die than before.

Sounds to me like the author didn't have anything better to do, and this article is the journalistic equivalent of scratching his ass.

Re:It has not failed yet (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43849495)

Moore's Law applies to the number of transistors in a chip. Just because you have found an increase in performance that did follow Moore's Law for a while does not mean that Moore's Law is somehow about flash memory.

If Moore's Law is about transistors on a chip, and NAND flash is a bunch of floating gate transistors on a chip, wouldn't logic follow that Moore's Law applied to NAND flash as well?

Re:It has not failed yet (5, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43849617)

If Moore's Law is about transistors on a chip, and NAND flash is a bunch of floating gate transistors on a chip, wouldn't logic follow that Moore's Law applied to NAND flash as well?

Sort of. First, they're more like "capacistors" than transistors - their size may have some implications for them that it doesn't have for normal transistors, especially now that they're essentially using multi-valued logic for the charges in those gates. Second, most logic circuits get exercised quite a lot of the time, and heat dissipation is often the limiting factor, but this isn't the case for SRAM and Flash memories, and you could cheat Murphy by going 3D and replicating the strucure along the Z axis, which is, I believe, what a lot of companies are trying to do right now. Since Moore's law is a speculative observation, and not an induction on any specific first principles in semiconductor technology, the phrasing "Moore's law should apply to X" sort of doesn't make any sense. There's no "should" here because Moore's law doesn't shy why it should apply to any specific type of circuits.

Re:It has not failed yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849847)

You can not cheat Murphy. Moore perhaps, but not Murphy.

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43850205)

I'm sorry, Murphy obviously thought he wasn't mentioned with sufficient frequency in this thread and cheated me out of a few letters instead. :-)

Re:It has not failed yet (0, Redundant)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#43849931)

capacistors? really i thought it was more like resitors or inducistivitors.

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43850227)

It's basically a capacitor one electrode of which is almost completely insulated and the other electrode doubles as an NMOS channel or something like that.

NAND flash = transistors on a chip (1, Interesting)

Comboman (895500) | about a year ago | (#43849581)

Moore's Law applies to the number of transistors in a chip. Just because you have found an increase in performance that did follow Moore's Law for a while does not mean that Moore's Law is somehow about flash memory. Therefore, when the increase no longer follows Moore's Law, it does NOT mean that Moore's Law has failed. The only thing that has failed is your own prediction that things other than the number of transistors would follow that curve.

So what do you think NAND flash is made of? Tiny spinning hard drives? Magnetic bubbles? Pixie dust? NAND flash is made of (you guessed it) transistors on chip [wikipedia.org] . As such, it is perfectly reasonable to expect it to conform to Moore's law.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43849825)

It's not just "transistors on a chip." It's a very special type of transistor which is able to store a charge while unpowered. You'll find that Moore's law doesn't apply to power transistors, either - there are fundamental constraints on size due to the need to handle high current.

It's unreasonable to claim that Moore's law applies to special cases.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (1)

Jiro (131519) | about a year ago | (#43851027)

Moore's Law says that the constraints will always be overcome.

If they can't, it's by definition a breakdown of Moore's Law. It makes no sense to say that it doesn't count as a violation of Moore's Law because of constraints--constraints are all that it,s about, so you're saying that it doesn't count as a violation of Moore's Law because it's a violation of Moore's Law.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43851179)

No, that's not what Moore's law says.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | about a year ago | (#43851899)

Then it's more like Moore's Theory then, isn't it? There's certainly nothing concrete about Moore's Law.

Violations? More like statistical deviations.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#43851505)

It's unreasonable to claim that Moore's law applies at all, because it is not a law, was never a law, and never will be a law. Not in the legal sense, and not in the physical makeup of the universe sense*. Moore's Law is a statistical anomaly. There was never anything preventing any company from developing a technology that packed ten, or twenty, or a hundred times the transistors into the same space as before.

* Given the persistence of the trend, and the lack of sudden leaps in technology, Moore's law may speak more to human ingenuity than integrated circuit technology.

Re:NAND flash = transistors on a chip (2)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#43852203)

It's unreasonable to claim that Moore's law applies at all, because it is not a law, was never a law, and never will be a law. Not in the legal sense, and not in the physical makeup of the universe sense*. Moore's Law is a statistical anomaly.

In other words, it would more correctly be described as "Moore's Observation"?

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43849705)

Moore's Law applies to the number of transistors in a chip. Just because you have found an increase in performance that did follow Moore's Law for a while does not mean that Moore's Law is somehow about flash memory.

Uhhh, the article refers not at all to anything about performance. It refers to the fact that the chip is still using a 19nm process. i.e. the transistors are still 19nm on each side, and because of that, there's the same number of them. It's saying Moore's law has failed exactly because it's 18 months later and you would expect 13nm parts by now (which would have half the area, and hence pack twice as many in), for the same price.

Re:It has not failed yet (3, Insightful)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#43849937)

It's saying Moore's law has failed exactly because it's 18 months later and you would expect 13nm parts by now

Or a die area twice as large.

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43851073)

A die size increase would typically imply a cost increase, unless we are discussing seriously depreciated wafers. After all, your wafer costs are presumably fixed, so by shrinking and reducing the die size, one is getting more die per wafer, and therefore cheaper die. But if the die size were to increase, it would be a non starter, unless the fab tried to convince the customer to design that it and offer very reduced prices

Re:It has not failed yet (2)

devjoe (88696) | about a year ago | (#43850051)

Uhhh, the article refers not at all to anything about performance. It refers to the fact that the chip is still using a 19nm process. i.e. the transistors are still 19nm on each side, and because of that, there's the same number of them.

Actually, it doesn't say that. While they are still using a 19 nm process, they found a way to pack them closer together, and hence there are more of them even though they are still the same size as the previous ones. They didn't say how much closer, though. Packing the units of the same size closer together is the kind of thing you can probably only manage to get useful improvement out of once. Then they'll probably make the chips bigger once, to deliver more transistors. This sounds like the stopgap things you do when the next smaller process won't work, or is too expensive, and they are already talking about stacking them in 3D as the next improvement. But adding another dimension has huge potential. Imagine how many layers you could stack in a 1 mm-high chip if each layer consisted of a 19 nm-thick circuit and a 19 nm-thick insulator.

I don't think this is really a Moore's Law failure. More like a hiccup, as the new technology needed to continue the growth of Moore's Law gets built up - as has happened multiple times in the decades since Moore stated his famous law.

Re:It has not failed yet (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43850497)

It refers to the fact that the chip is still using a 19nm process. i.e. the transistors are still 19nm on each side

Nope. It just means they're 19nm on their short edge. The length of their long edge is unbounded. Specifically, the 1X manufacturing process was 19nm x 26nm, while the 1Y process is 19nm x 19.5nm. It's not twice the density, but it is more dense.

Re:It has not failed yet (0)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#43850209)

Also (See Innovator's Dilemma [amazon.com] ) different segments of the market will grow at different rates so one cannot extrapolate from one "failure" in a segmented marketplace to Moore's Law and especially to the variation of Moore's law which states that computing power (not necessarily transistors) will double every 18 months. Of course we then get into the problem of defining computing power.

Secondly, looking closely at Moore's Law on a logarithmic scale you'll see that it doesn't EXACTLY follow the "line," sometimes the plotted points fall below, other times above.

Re:It has not failed yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850577)

Actually Moore's law states the number of transistors, not the computing power. It is also more of an observation than an actual law.
It is also clear that it belongs to a specific timeframe, the entire period between 1925 to mid 50's didn't see any increase in transistor count per die at all. The timeframe for where Moore's law applies will or have already come to an end.
This doesn't mean that people won't take what Moore stated and use it out of context.

Re:It has not failed yet (5, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43850707)

Moore's law which states that computing power (not necessarily transistors) will double every 18 months.

Wrong. This is what Moore actually said:

The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year... Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer.

Notice how it says nothing about "computing power".

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#43851507)

Yes, you're absolutely correct which is why I called it the "variation of Moore's Law:" in other words what people generally think of it. I guess it wasn't too clear. :' )

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43850251)

Memory is composed of transistors in a chip.

Re:It has not failed yet (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#43850645)

Moore's Law applies to the number of transistors in a chip. Just because you have found an increase in performance that did follow Moore's Law for a while does not mean that Moore's Law is somehow about flash memory. Therefore, when the increase no longer follows Moore's Law, it does NOT mean that Moore's Law has failed. The only thing that has failed is your own prediction that things other than the number of transistors would follow that curve.

And transistors (even floating gate ones - they're just transistors with an extra gate not attached to anything) has a strong correlation with capacity.

There are two kinds of ICs out there - pin-limited and area-limited. Pin limited ICs are your SoCs and CPUs and such - where the functionality of the entire chip is limited entirely by the number of I/O pads you can stuff on the die and the package while still maintaining adequate yields (the more I/O pads, the more chance of failure during bonding to the package - so while the silicon die may work fine, the attachment to the package didn't).

Area limited ICs are the opposite - these are where their functionality is limited purely by silicon area. The problem with making a die too big is the increased likelihood of failure caused by wafer imperfections, which decreases yields. As each wafer has a fixed area, a bigger die also reduces the number of ICs you can make from it. So bigger dies lead to lower yields due to imperfections and lower yields due to being able to make less per wafer (the fixed cost is actually pretty large compared to the processing costs).

Area-limited ICs include camera sensors (you want bigger sensors, but bigger sensors translate directly into lower yields as the sensor matrix has more imperfections ("dead pixels"), lower yields (bad sensors with too many bad pixels, and lower numbers of sensors per wafer), an higher costs (which is why a full-frame dSLR costs way more than one with an APS-sized sensor). Likewise, memory products are also area limited - because if you can use more die area, you can have a larger device. But too large means your high-cap dies are low yields and thus high prices. So to solve this, smaller transistors mean you can pack double the transistors in the same area (per Moore's law) and have practically twice the storage.

An area-limited IC tends to be very transistor-dense. A pin-limited IC tends to have hotspots of transistor density (embedded memories like caches) which comprise the vast majorities of transistors in a chip, but for the most part, what takes up space on pin-limited ICs is wiring. So much so that wiring tends to be the one spreading transistors out and making them less dense.

Re:It has not failed yet (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43850709)

I thought the same exact thing, TFA is f'in stupid. What about motherboards, BIOS, DDR, harddrives & toasters? Moors law doesn't seem to apply there, so why should it here, what crappy journalism, let's apply w/e terms we want w/e we want and see who buys our BS.

er... come again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849369)

How does this have anything to do with Moore's law?
Moores law doesn't refer to density in any way. Especially not that of storage.
Moores law was talking about CPU's and their complexity.
But if you insist on claiming storage should be measured this way, then
Take a look at average flash disk size (and actual cost to manufacturer since you must apply some sort of baseline ) and I'd say you're easily still getting a doubling every 2 years.

Re:er... come again? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43849505)

How does this have anything to do with Moore's law?
Moores law doesn't refer to density in any way. Especially not that of storage.

Yes, it does. It was not, however, referring to the lithography resolution that is cited in this article. Moore's law refers to the number of transistors per area unit, which applies to both storage and CPUs (and is actually the more relevant statistic, since the point of smaller resolutions is to cram more transistors in). That fact is mentioned in the article, but not what actually happened to the transistor density, which makes me suspect that the transistor density actually *did* go up and the article writer didn't want to own up to a fact that destroys his hypothesis.

Re:er... come again? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43849735)

Lithography resolution and transistors per area are inversely connected, so if the lithography doesn't shrink, the number of transistors can't increase (assuming you didn't lay them out *really* lazily the first time round).

In order to get twice as many transistors in (assuming a sane layout at first), those transistors need to have half the area, and hence 1/2 the linear size, and hence we would need 13nm lithography by now to have kept up with moore's law.

Re:er... come again? (1)

tilante (2547392) | about a year ago | (#43850027)

Half the linear size would be a quarter the area. To get half the area, you'd need to have ( 1 / square root of 2 ) the linear size... so about 7/10.

Re:er... come again? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43850235)

Sorry, slashdot ate the square root in there >.

Re:er... come again? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43850253)

And now it ate half my >.<

Re:er... come again? (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43850099)

"In order to get twice as many transistors in (assuming a sane layout at first), those transistors need to have half the area, and hence 1/2 the linear size"

If you halve the linear size, each transistor takes 1/4 the area. For half the area, you only need .707 of the linear size.

Re:er... come again? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43850259)

Yep, slashdot ate my unicode square root symbol. Sorry.

Re:er... come again? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#43849725)

How does this have anything to do with Moore's law?
Moores law doesn't refer to density in any way. Especially not that of storage.

Yes it does –Moore's law says that transistor count on a chip doubles every 18 months for the same cost. Or, to put it another way, transistor size halves, or, to put it another way, process size shrinks by root two. This is an example of the process size staying exactly the same size over 18 months at no significant reduced cost. Therefore it's an example of moore's law failing.

Re:er... come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849887)

Or to put it another way the cost of the hardware halves. I haven't been measuring but flash drives have certainly been coming down in price pretty quickly.

Re:er... come again? (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43849891)

No, there is no statement about size. only a statement of number of components. Flash has thus been surpassing Moore's law, feature size is irrelevant

self-fulfilling prophecy? (4, Informative)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43849433)

I don't think the summary writer knows what that means.

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849485)

"Given that the 1X-nm term was originally coined to denote a manufacturing process node somewhere between 10- and 19-nm it is clear that 1Y and 1Z imply nodes also between 10- and 19-nm but different to the 1X node." ...what the hell does any of this gobbledygook mean?

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

SengirV (203400) | about a year ago | (#43849873)

It means that they are not able to shrink smaller than 19nm for this next generation of NAND flash memory. Normally the numbering system from generation to generation included the number in the tens(and 100s) column. But since they are at that same physical size, they had to use a new numbering scheme. 1x -> 1y.

All it means is that the physical limits of shrinking the die size are being hit. And the author is simply saying that it's a sign of things to come - DUH!!! Also, to your parent post, Moore himself thought the prediction would have not held up anywhere close to this long. So that can be interpreted as the "self-fulfilling prophecy".

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850049)

Moore was from Intel. Intel based their product cycle on his "law". They specifically plan, develop and release products to double transistor density every 18 months. How is this not self-fulfilling?

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#43851323)

I plan on increasing my income by 2x every 18 months. I'll be rich!

Just because one plans for it doesn't mean that they can do it. Being able to maintain this pace without some huge increase in R&D is what is so incredible.

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850431)

No, he knows exactly what it means. It's just that you were too stupid to get what he said. So stupid in fact, that you don't even know how stupid you are. John Cleese described the Dunning-Kruger effect best. [youtube.com]

(Yeah, I'm fat and can't run 100m in 10 seconds either. So quit bitching about me calling you stupid. I am fat. You are stupid. Deal with it.)

Re:self-fulfilling prophecy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43852021)

I thought the same at first read. However [wikipedia.org] .

Journalist Wanted Moore Hits (4, Informative)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year ago | (#43849471)

From the article: Some might argue that the die area saving achieved is equivalent to a process node move, and that as Moore's talked about the number of transistors per IC his law is not dependent on a reducing minimum geometries. I think that most will see that this runs against the "spirit" of Moore's Law.

From Wikipedia: Moore's law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.

From article linked off the main article: SanDisk has now revealed that 1Y – now described as a generation rather than a node - is the company's second generation at 19-nm. What the company does claim to have achieved is a reduction in the memory cell size from 19-nm by 26-nm to 19-nm by 19.5-nm, delivering a 25 percent reduction of the memory cell area.

So, if you can fit more cells using the same size process, it doesn't go against the spirit or the letter of Moore's law. Moore's law is about computing power. If you get more computing power without reducing size to do it, that still counts.

Re:Journalist Wanted Moore Hits (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year ago | (#43849595)

It's a big stretch to call Unknown Lamer a journalist.

Re:Journalist Wanted Moore Hits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849601)

Moore's Law is about cost -- Density at minimum cost per transistor.

Re:Journalist Wanted Moore Hits (1)

FS (10110) | about a year ago | (#43850105)

Isn't there a law about more outlandish articles getting more hits? This is pure sensational immature blather and shouldn't have been re-posted to Slashdot. The only conclusion to draw from this is that SanDisk made a product decision that didn't fit with Moore's law this one time. Wow so exciting.

Post-Moore Advancement (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | about a year ago | (#43849509)

Even if Moore's "law" finally runs out, we'll still find ways to advance. Just as the multi-core shift has prolonged it kinda sorta in the CPU space, 3D chip design will continue to move us forward for the time being, until quantum computing or something novel based on memristors becomes available.

Moore's Law is more of a "guideline" really... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#43849535)

"And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules." (Mod points for knowing where that quote comes from.. )

Given the physics of how flash actually works, I'm guessing that we will see a more step wise improvement in storage density. But Moore's law is about increasing complexity, not density. So the logical size of flash devices will continue to go up, even if the density is not improved.

I don't think we are close to a point where Moore's law is going to be proven false, not by a long shot.

Re:Moore's Law is more of a "guideline" really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849903)

Pirates of the Caribbean, Curse of the Black Pearl.

On the other hand... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#43849561)

It's equally valid to say SanDisk failed (umm, violated) Moore's law.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43849611)

Oh yeah baby, violate that law like that. Oh yeah, I love it when you violate that law. That's right, just like that, keep doing it! Oh yeah. Oooh. Ooooh. Ooooo... Oh baby that was amazing, I love it when you violate that law. Let's do this again some time.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43849703)

It's equally valid to say SanDisk failed (umm, violated) Moore's law.

In a way that is true, because at the same time Moore's law was discovered, it was set as an engineering goal.

Did anybody really think it could keep going? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43849609)

And when it comes to NAND we all know the dirty little secret they don't like talking about, with each shrink the lifespan gets shorter so they have to add more and more extra space to replace the dying cells and you end up losing any gains you may have made. That is why I hope something new will end up coming out that will let us have the power saving of SSD with the long life of the HDD, because the consumer level MLC chips frankly aren't very good.

Re:Did anybody really think it could keep going? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43850009)

I agree. The current 25nm cell is already crap in the lifespan case, how crap will be a 19nm?

It's not a law ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43849747)

Moore's law has never been a 'law', it's a historical observation.

It has never claimed that this will be true going forward, merely that at the time it was observed that was the case, and it's largely held up since then.

The fact that it's held true this long is staggering, but the fact that it might be running out is hardly surprising. Moore never claimed this would continue forever.

Re:It's not a law ... (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43849889)

That's what a law is in science. More precisely, it is a relation between observations, in this case device density and time. It is perfectly valid to apply the term to something purely historical and empirical.

Re:It's not a law ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850117)

If Moore's law holds, it means NP-complete problems can be solved in polynomial time. The number of steps is exponential, but the growth of processing power is exponential, too, so one step takes less and less time when time is increased. (This observation abuses the usage of word "time" instead of "steps")

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year ago | (#43850385)

If Moore's law holds, it means NP-complete problems can be solved in polynomial time. The number of steps is exponential, but the growth of processing power is exponential, too, so one step takes less and less time when time is increased. (This observation abuses the usage of word "time" instead of "steps")

You are conflating complexity with run time. Complexity is orthogonal to actual run time. If the number of steps is exponential then the NP-complete problem is running in exponential time. No amount of handwaving about increases in processor speed will change that fundamental tenant. Now if we ever get quantum computers off of the ground then yeah, maybe you can solve an NP-complete problem in polynomial time, but that would only be because you then have built what is essentially a real-world non-deterministic finite state automaton. Even quantum computing wouldn't answer the deeply interesting question of P ?= NP.

Bear in mind to that even proving P != NP would be huge (I believe it's a million dollar reward for proving either way). The difficulty is we just don't know for sure.

Re:It's not a law ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851223)

Pedant alert: it's you that's conflating the two. OP is quite accurate. NP-complete problems are still NP-complete (complexity) but if computers get faster, sufficiently quickly, then NP problems can be solved in polynomial time (wall clock time, not number of operations).

If the number of steps is exponential then the NP-complete problem is running in exponential time.

For the avoidance of doubt, here is the precise point at which you conflate complexity (number of steps) with runtime (wall clock time). OP already pointed out that wall clock time may not be linearly related to complexity, but you steadfastly claim that it does, by definition. That's conflation of complexity and runtime, writ large.

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43851415)

Moore's law is about the increase in transistors existing per area. You have assumed an equal increase in transistors that are doing something per area, which is not in evidence.

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43850141)

Except this 'law' isn't predictive like, say, gravity, which says that the next time you drop something, it will also fall to the ground.

Moore's law never has been, and never was intended to be a 'law' in that sense.

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43851533)

Oh, it's definitely predictive, hence the predictions. What is lacks is a fundamental theoretical basis, but that is not a requirement of a scientific law. Plenty of good scientific laws got their start without any theory, and even drove the search for a theory.

Consider Kepler's laws of planetary motion which were developed without knowing that gravity was supplying the force to create the orbits. Also, there is a law of centrifugal force, despite the fact that the force is fictitious.

Re:It's not a law ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850055)

But you'd agree that a "law" that's held for 40 years suddenly not holding is newsworthy, right?

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43850299)

The complexity for minimum component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year (see graph on next page). Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000.

http://download.intel.com/museum/Moores_Law/Articles-Press_Releases/Gordon_Moore_1965_Article.pdf [intel.com]

Re:It's not a law ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43850465)

although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years

He didn't say forever, he didn't say always. The fact that it's largely held as true since then is a bonus, but it certainly doesn't make this a 'law'.

This was a 10 year prediction, and the word 'law' doesn't appear in the entire article. Not even Moore would claim this is a law.

I'm generally a fan of The Great Moore's Law Compensator/Wirth's Law [wikipedia.org] which says that "software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster". ;-)

Peter Clarke is a moron (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a year ago | (#43849837)

Every word he said is wrong, including "and" and "the".

Since Moore's Law is silent on "minimum feature size", then no observation of that metric can be contradictory to that law.

Nearing theoretical limit? (2)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | about a year ago | (#43849895)

I am not an engineer. So, you engineers out there--are we nearing the theoretical limit on these things? I mean, 19 nm is pretty darn small. It seems to me that at some point Moore's law has to fail simply because you can't make a connection less than one atom thick. And making a connection one atom thick would be stupid, I would think, for reliability reasons. So--is Moore's law, as extended to NAND flash memory failing due to the fact that it has nearly reached its lowest theoretical size?

Re:Nearing theoretical limit? (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43850399)

Logic transistors still have plenty of life left in them, however NAND flash is a very different beast. The technology works by storing a static charge in a floating gate. The effect of the charge can be measured remotely, but to store the charge, you must use high voltage to bridge the gap across the insulator. This is damaging, which is why flash memory has a limited number of write cycles. The smaller you make the gate, the less charge the gate is able to store, making it harder to read, and the more leaky it is, making it have a shorter life span between refreshes. While the theoretical limit is not known, it's going to be much larger than that of logic transistors, and many believe we will reach it within the next few processing nodes.

Re:Nearing theoretical limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850805)

Silicon has a lattice spacing of about 0.54nm. So 19nm feature width is about 35 atoms wide. So, yeah, not much room left for process shrink.

Re:Nearing theoretical limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851597)

Silicon has a lattice spacing of about 0.54nm. So 19nm feature width is about 35 atoms wide. So, yeah, not much room left for process shrink.

IIRC, a ground state electron or "hole" is still delocalized over a couple of atoms' length.

They can probably squeeze in another factor of 5-10 reduction, but that's it, at least for diamond-lattice semiconductors. Molecular electronics wouldn't be much smaller than 2-3 nm, if any.

Re:Nearing theoretical limit? (1)

Xyrus (755017) | about a year ago | (#43851343)

I am not an engineer. So, you engineers out there--are we nearing the theoretical limit on these things? I mean, 19 nm is pretty darn small. It seems to me that at some point Moore's law has to fail simply because you can't make a connection less than one atom thick. And making a connection one atom thick would be stupid, I would think, for reliability reasons. So--is Moore's law, as extended to NAND flash memory failing due to the fact that it has nearly reached its lowest theoretical size?

Quantum effects will prevent making electrical components too much smaller than they currently are. However, there's really nothing stopping companies from producing larger dies or adding more vertical layers to a die.

'Fail' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850069)

A Moore's law 'fail'.

Or Moore's law "failure", for those of us over the age of 12.

It has to fail eventually (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43850163)

Moore's "Law" has to fail eventually, because if you keep doubling (the amount of transistors on a chip) every couple of years you would soon (in a century or two) have more transitors than there are (elementary) particles in the universe

Of course we will be up to Windows 95 by then...

Re:It has to fail eventually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851815)

Hell, it might even be powerful enough to run Vista!

Recent calculations show that steam locomotives.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850663)

... can never exceed about 90 mph.

So, that's it folks. That's as fast as humans will ever go.

Sigmiodal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43850689)

Perhaps Moors Law is sigmoidal.

Parameter limits (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43851135)

Gate oxide thickness at 19nm is about at limit.

Bubble memory (1)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about a year ago | (#43851673)

Remember bubble memory?

I wonder if that would have kept up with Moore's Law a lot better.

Well known issue in the industry (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43851995)

This isn't a new issue to people in the industry. Here's a more useful article from last year: "Is the cost reduction associated with IC scaling over?" [eetimes.com] "Clearly, dimensional scaling is no longer associated with lower average cost per transistor."

The cost of wafer fabs has been going up with each generation. Intel says that a cutting-edge fab now costs upwards of $10 billion, twice the previous generation. That's why higher densities no longer reduce cost. The upper limits of optical lithography are being reached because light, even "deep ultraviolet" light, is too coarse a tool. "Extreme ultraviolet" (soft X-rays, really) are being tried to get down to 10nm or so, but the processes are currently slow and barely work. Electron beam machines, which can go below 10nm, have been around since the 1980s, but they work by writing the chip with an electron beam, not with a mask, which is very slow for a production process.

This is for mostly-static memory. For active transistors, as in CPUs, heat dissipation is already limiting density. CPU clock speed maxed out between 3 and 4 GHz several years ago. (Yes, 8GHz has been achieved with an AMD CPU running in liquid helium. So?)

With the upper limits of speed and density in sight, work is now focusing on reducing cost and power consumption. Hence the push to use ARM CPUs in more applications.

16nm FF is also a failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43852081)

16 FinFET is basically the same size as 22nm but backed in a different orientation to have slightly more transistors in one dimension. But in reality it is a costly stumble as we reach the end of Moore's law.

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