People talk about Moore's Law as if server chip manufacturers had to obey it like some kind of cosmic speed limit. In reality, Moore's Law is an idealized goal, and one that is increasingly difficult to attain year after year for server microprocessors. This is made clear in the just-released schedule for next year's first big …
Godson - doing sensible things?
"That's 4,320 megaflops per watt – a pretty impressive number for a CPU, and one that even rivals some accelerators."
You can tell just from that figure that they're not implementing an x86 ISA...
It's quite interesting to see what the trends are. Western computing development is going heavily in the direction of ARM mobile and server. This is a serious threat to Intel and AMD - they missed out on mobile completely, and ARM are threatening to nick their server markets too. So to whom would they then sell their expensive inefficient silicon?
For HPC boys this is potentially quite problematic. They've got used to being able to pile up large numbers of AMD / Intel CPUs quite cheaply because there's a vast commodity market that keeps the price low. However if they become AMD / Intel's only customers these big high performance CPUs are going to be very expensive indeed, or perhaps unavailable*. Could x86 as we know it cease to be? Quite possibly. Yet the Chinese are busily developing their own high performance CPUs, and have probably got a lot of government money (and control) behind them.
So could we find ourselves in the position where the Chinese are able to build entirely domestically source super computers (and model nuclear bombs, attack crypto, etc) but the West can't? Perhaps, but it certainly wouldn't be a nice position to be in, strategically speaking.
*Ok, I know there's Power, Sparc and GPUs. GPUs still need a fairly meaty CPU to go with them, IBM will charge a lot for Power systems if they're the only player, and apart from the notable exception of the K machine in Japan no one has done a Sparc super for a very long time.
big.Little sounds great for a home system too - low power server, firing up to full desktop when required. 4G RAM is looking a bit old these days, but its perfectly adequate for most things.
Cool-running Godson's also sound like fun - again, plenty of "desktop" scenarios where heat is unwanted. I wonder what the pricing will be like.
Add Valve's distribution network and it might be time for the games developers to be sharpening their linux skills.
Let's hope this is a wake-up call to those who think the west can live off "IP" forever.
Over and over and over and over
It's all I could think about every time I read 'Hot Chips'.
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