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back to article AMD chip chief: 'one day, microprocessor skyscrapers'

Although today's processors are all residents of Flatland, AMD's head chippery honcho says that multi-level, multi-core processors may be the wave of the future. "I'm not saying it's an easy dimension, the third dimension," AMD's senior vice president and headman of the company's Technology Group Chekib Akrout cautioned The Reg …

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Con:

Someone else holds the patents on bus A.

Pro: bus type B's patents have expired...

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Why does he not mention light for communication ?

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Happy

Going Z

I lost count of how many people called me crazy when I suggested such a thing many years ago.

Oh, well. We're going Z. The amazing progress of the last 30 years is not even close to ending. Frankly, it's a relief.

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Alien

Prepare for AI and a CyberIntelAIgent Quantum Leap which will Shock Man ....

..... into Affirmative Creative Reaction in HyperRadioProActive IT Fields and a Beta Reality for All.

"Oh, well. We're going Z. The amazing progress of the last 30 years is not even close to ending. Frankly, it's a relief." .... Mikel Posted Thursday 11th November 2010 22:04 GMT

I would agree, Mikel, and boldly go even further and state that even greater amazing progress and processing for programming is only just starting .......

And as for ..."I lost count of how many people called me crazy when I suggested such a thing many years ago." ...... :-), well, who would be the crazy fools now then, Mikel, and who would be the wiser sage?

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Coat

now look...

"I would agree, Mikel, and boldly go even further"

Don't split you infinitives!

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wrong

There was no infinitive to split in that sentence.

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Thumb Up

At last ...

... the hairy smoking golf ball we've been promised since before even I was in IT 35 years ago!

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, and

how is IBM doing this? Or what is it they're stacking together for their mainframe gear?

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Graphene

Wasn't it mentioned that graphene, which possesses incredible strength and heat conductivity, was successfully made to perform as an amplifier?

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Eiderdowns between electric blankets...

"lower thermal charachteristics could act as a sort of insulator between two toasty cores"

So just how is putting a thermally insulating layer between two hot cores going to assist with removing heat from them? It's surely going to make the problem worse.

The subject of 3D semiconductor fabrication regularly reappears over the years, but we've yet to see much come of it. The issues of fabrication, cooling and design are incredibly difficult.

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Go

How about the Peltier effect?

Peltier coolers are just semiconductors, so why not use a layer of Peltier elements to shove heat either to the edges of a chip (so it can be disposed of) or to the colder parts of the chip (removing any huge thermal gradients)?

Not Anon so AMD know where to send the consultancy fee.

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"The third dimension is not an easy one"

That's what I keep saying late on friday nights, when I lay there looking at the stars.

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Hmmm, lets think about it...

Is silicon worse than the heat sink? Aluminium is 1.59 times more thermally conductive than silicon. Gold is 2.13 times more conductive, and copper is 2.69 times more conductive than silicon.

A big difference, but not an order of magnitude. A lower power dissipation processor like the ARM is going to be much easier to do 3D stacking with, like stacked on edge. Yet another reason why ARM have Intel running scared.

Yes I know we use heat pipes these days, but we use such exotic methods because the Intel x86 architecture is so ridiculously inefficient.

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Unhappy

stacked memory

We were using stacked memory devices 15 years ago at <insert defence co here>. Amazing that it hasn't caught on - unless all the patents on this kind of thing are just tying people's lawyers in knots and stopping progress.

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Anonymous Coward

Ditto

We have a chip with memory stacked over the processor. ts has been around for a while. Not sure if its the same as what is mentioned in the article though (which is the articles fault for not being clear)

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Peltier

Power efficiency is a big deal these days. The problem with Peltier elements is the amount of energy they consume. I looked into using a Peltier element between CPU and heatsink a while ago: it needed a lot of current to do it's thing.

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@Steven Jones

"...regularly reappears over the years..."

I think there just has not been a strong enough dollars and cents case for doing it yet.

You know, back in the 70's single layer PCBs were the state of the art, but look at them now?

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Happy

Proof that AMD and Apple are going to have a love child together!

He said "...now you may end up thinking very differently."!

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Boffin

There be dragons here; a lot could go wrong with heat management

All but low power chips would probably have to have embedded liquid/gas heat pipes, and possibly heat conductive materials to feed heat to the heat pipes, between the layers. The heat pipes would need to use a non 'furring' coolant and the chip would either need coolant ports or have a decent heat sink interface.

Some potential problem are:

1. having fast enough heat flow to stop any layer from overheating

2. preventing chip fracture from excessive pressure, vibration. turbulence or heat shock, if external coolant is pumped through the chips.

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