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Chip Slowdown Speeding Up

Wednesday 9 June, 2004, 02:30 PM

Craig will be pleased. CNET News have published an interview with Bernie Meyerson, Chief Technologist in IBM's Systems and Technology group, that all adds weight to his prophecies of doom concerning the end of Moore's law that I blogged about last month.

In the interview, Meyerson essentially presents clock speed as being something that will be moving out of the limelight when it comes to meeting increasing performance demands. He spins this as being a positive thing - essentially that IBM will be delivering a holistic approach, delivering overall systems performance rather than focusing on ever higher clock speeds.

And that's a good thing - in practice it's something you already have to do today. In an awful lot of performance tuning work, the speed of the CPU is more or less irrelevant. Bottlenecks are almost invariably elsewhere in the system, so even an infinitely fast CPU wouldn't fix most of the performance issues in real systems.

But cynics might note that IBM have decided to try and set the market analysts expectations in anticipation of the day when they eventually have to come out and say "Sorry, we just can't deliver exponential improvements in CPU performance any more."

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