3 posts • joined Tuesday 30th October 2012 20:55 GMT
Probably the most telling example of Planetary Resources plans is that WATER is the first listed item on their asteroid composition web page. Water, in earth orbit is worth a lot more right now than platinum is at the bottom of the gravity well. The platinum group metals are really just a deal sweetener. Hopefully they will crash the price of platinum so that fuel cells can be a made at consumer friendly prices. Platinum catalysts are also useful in electrolytic conversion of water to hydrogen. Cheap platinum could be just the boost the hydrogen economy needs.
Yes it is inefficient, that's the point. The number of transistors that can be thrown at a problem is limited only by their power consumption and/or heat production.
The A15 is a modern out-of-order speculative execution CPU with deep pipelines for fast clock speeds. Those out-of-order speculative instruction decode transistors are on all the time, unlike other units of the CPU like floating point, vector math, encryption that can be turned off when not used. So yes the A15 draws more power than the current A9. But not double the draw, for a certain task the a15 may be able to wake up, complete the task and sleep quicker than the a9 saving power. Ie twice the performence maybe 1.5 times the power draw.
The a7 is a remarkable core, performance is almost as good as current a9, but using less power and taking up less silicon area. Those 4 A7 cores take of the real-estate of one a15 core.
So with transistors to burn, why not add the a7 cores, if that's all you need to use 90% of the time?
An ARM that can run x86?
ARM has supported different op-code sets since the first Thumb instruction set in 1994. It may be a similar on-the-fly opcode translation that supports the Jazelle Java byte-code accelerator. No ARM licensee may do x86 opcode translation, except for AMD who holds a x86 license. Modern X86 processors are really RISC cores with a opcode translator at the start of the pipeline. So only AMD has the opportunity to combine a energy frugal ARM core with x86 instruction set. Such a processor wouldn't set the world alight in x86 performance, but may well be more energy efficient. It would also be cool-running, an important consideration when cramming together hundreds of cores in a hyper-scale server.