back to article The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week. It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value. …

  1. fortran

    Spelling Police

    Two mistakes, a missing s and a missing capitalisation.

    Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory

    1. Kubla Cant

      Re: Spelling Police

      I was also bemused by this:

      ... the number of transistors used in a typical CPU — the CPU transistor count — would double ....

      Given that this is a techie site I should think most readers would be able to guess that the number of transistors used in a typical CPU is also known as "the CPU transistor count".

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        Inspiring Entrepreneurs

        Go on kids. start making nitroglycerin with your store bought chem sets. Oh no, better not or Homeland Security will get involved.

        1. Cynic_999

          Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

          Nowadays chemistry sets are unlikely to contain chemicals any more dangerous than table salt and baking soda - and then only in very small quantities.

          1. BlartVersenwaldIII

            Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

            If reading the Daily Mail and nutritional advice from Experts on facebook has taught me anything, it's that chemicals are uniformly bad news. It's a little-known fact but the ingredients for table salt include both sodium (which explodes on contact with water and is also used by the nucular industry) and chlorine (used as a poison gas in world war one), baking soda (chemical food additive designation E500) also contains sodium, hydrogen (highly flammable and responsible for the Hindenburg disaster) and carbon (used, amongst other things, for extremely sharp industrial cutting tools).

            I think putting stuff like that in the hands of a child and encouraging them to "play" with them isn't only a recipe for disaster but should also be classified as dangerous abuse.

            1. Wilseus

              Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

              And don't forget deadly dihydrogen monoxide, which is found in cancerous tumours, is often used to cool nuclear reactors, can cause vehicle brakes to fail, can be deadly if inhaled and causes severe burns when in gaseous form and so on.

              1. naylorjs

                Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                I laugh in the face of these so-called dangers. I drink Dihydrogen Monoxide in both cold and hot forms, often with elements of dead plant leaves or beans as appropriate.

                Remember though: fish make love in it.

                1. BlartVersenwaldIII

                  Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                  Well more fool you. Scientists say that over 85% of cancer victims have been routinely exposed to dihydrogen monoxide* on a regular basis and as Wilseus points out, it's a key component of tumours. Perhaps I'm just a better parent than most but I bring my children up in a completely DHMO-free environment and so far not one of them has died from cancer.

                  * Even this term is making light of the issue and is a flagrant tool of hiding behind science-tiffic jargon to make this terrifying chemical seem less dangerous. The proper term is hydronium hydroxide or hydroxyl acid.

                  1. oldcoder

                    Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                    Umm... Actually that would be 100% of the cancer victims...

                2. Roger Kynaston

                  Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                  You could really put yourself in harms way by adding a bit of a highly inflammable and volatile liquid with the chemical formula C6H6O which is known to have serious psychoactive effects on human brains and make them do stupid things but it does guarantee that us ugly buggers get to have sex.

                  1. John H Woods Silver badge

                    Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                    " adding a bit of a highly inflammable and volatile liquid with the chemical formula C6H6O" -- Roger Kynaston

                    Phenol? You first!

                3. oldcoder

                  Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

                  And pee in it too...

            2. lambda_beta

              Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

              Let's not forget that really nasty substance H20 (I'm too lazy to figure out subscripts). It not only can make things blow up, it makes rust. I'm surprised it's still legal!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

          Kids chemistry kits these days just contain a few plastic containers (no glass), plastic spatulas and some harmless salts. Adding bicarb to vinegar is about as dangerous as it gets.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            1. AbelSoul

              Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

              Down with this sort of thing.

        3. Dan Paul

          Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

          The brother of a dear friend of mine who has since passed away; blew the cornice of the building (of the college dorm he stayed in) completely off while making nitro and waiting for it to cool. Obviously this was back in the early 1940's or he would have been branded a criminal.

          Sometimes the best scientists are just normal people who ignore the rules that were put in place by lesser men.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inspiring Entrepreneurs

            The brother of a dear friend of mine who has since passed away; blew the cornice of the building (of the college dorm he stayed in) completely off while making nitro and waiting for it to cool.

            Damn hipster chemists, they had to be blowing up buildings with nitro before it was cool...

      2. bozoid

        Re: Spelling Police

        While we're being picky, what's with this modern trend to always use hyphens after numbers?

        ...and who two-years later co-founded Intel...

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Spelling Police

          That's just plain wrong. two-year (*singular*!) is a *PRE*positional adjective: a two-year turnaround. two years (*plural!*) is a postpositional descripitve phrase: two years later.

        2. Disko

          Re: Spelling Police

          Conflating-words is athing now, just like alot of other/newspeak thekids are into these-days.

          1. Nehmo

            Re: Spelling Police

            More correctly, it's catenating words. That is, the words are connected in a series. "Theregister" is a catenation in the url above. Some exponentially increasing technological trends conflate to form what's called "Moore's law".

            Confused about "conflate"?


            1. Bleu

              Re: Spelling Police

              It's concatenation, not catenation.

              Catenation is a term in chemistry. A url is not language. Running words together as in the article and several comments is simple ineptitude (although I'll grant that a commentor may have had the intention of highlighting the writer's ineptitude).

              You've done a good job of highlighting your own ineptitude with misuse of 'catenation' and not knowing 'concatenation'.

              What kind of techie are you?

              1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                Re: Spelling Police

                Catenation is also a term in linguistics. It's less frequently used than concatenation, but nevertheless you can catenate words.

                Sadly the wikipedia article about the word doesn't include that definition, which is presumably why this isn't so widely known today.

                And, for the record, I'm still waiting for you to back up that accusation of plagiarism you made against me. But then I've noticed something of a pattern in your posting recently. Accuse someone of something, declare yourself superior in some way and then bugger off when you're called on it.

              2. Frumious Bandersnatch

                Re: Spelling Police

                re cat vs concat, I learned many years ago that the Unix 'cat' command was short for 'catenate' which is an obscure and/or archaic variant of 'concatenate'. Personally, I have no problem with 'catenate' as a synonym for 'concatenate' (and yes, either is probably what the OP meant instead of 'conflate').

                /said in an isn't-it-interesting-that-the-thread-talks-about-both-catenation-and-proper-use-of-hyphens* kind of way

                (*no doubt that's a proper word in German, but let's not get distracted)

        3. Bleu

          Re: Spelling Police

          It's called semi-literacy.

        4. Frumious Bandersnatch

          Re: Spelling Police

          I think it's a mistake rather than language drift. I could take a two-year sabbatical, and the hyphen is acceptable (and normal) usage there, but I'd be back to work two years later (no hyphen).

          edit: I didn't see the later post by J.G.Harston that makes the same point, but uses grammar-type words.

        5. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Re: Spelling Police

          Are these the same people that turn numbers into genitives?

          1990s => 1990's

          1. John H Woods Silver badge

            Re: Spelling Police

            "1990s => 1990's"

            I think this is a mistake by people confused by '90s which is, of course, acceptable.

      3. Charles Manning

        Well of course it would double....

        They counted both the number of transistors in the CPU and the CPU transistor count.

        But seriously... the trend is also going the other way. Look at the ARM Coretex M0s they're bringing the transistor count for 32-bit CPUs to unprcedented lows.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spelling Police

        Makes me think of "And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spelling Police

          Black is not a colour

          1. DropBear

            Re: Spelling Police

            "Black is not a colour" - Right, and octarine isn't one either. Suuuure...

      5. Bleu

        Re: Spelling Police

        Paid by the word, perhaps? I can't stand the '... count' expressions, must be the influence of Sesame Street.

  2. Little Mouse

    More Moore

    "Moore’s idea not only predicted the development rate of computing power, it set an ambitious pace for all IC manufacturers to maintain"

    And that's where its real relevance lies. Moore's Law has for a long time now been the expected rate of change that all chip designers and manufacturers have had to try and keep up with, and as such has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Imagine where we'd be now If only he'd tweaked the numbers a bit and "predicted" a tripling or quadrupling or more. Heh heh heh.

    1. TonyWilk

      Re: More Moore

      Interesting to imagine if the hardware rate of change had been much less... would we have better software tools to cram functionality into less memory and/or cpu speed ?

      Is there an equivalent 'Bloat Law' for software which has kept pace with Moore's?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bloat Law

        I think you'll find that's Gates' Law, in that however powerful a computing system, they can write an operating system and word processor which will slow it down to perform at least as badly as the last one, if not worse.

        1. Disko

          Re: Bloat Law

          Which is why you always bring a typewriter. Where's the hipster icon?

        2. Bob Wheeler

          Re: Bloat Law a.k.a. Gate's Curse

          "....640KB (of RAM) is more then enough for anyone...."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there some stupid rule about phone thickness? the way they're going they'll end up as thick as a sheet of paper and the battery will last 2 seconds.

    1. Naselus

      I believe you're thinking Cook's Law - each generation of iStuff will cram exponentially more profit margin into the same sized case.

      1. theblackhand

        The Black Hand's Law

        Not every law is real and some are just made up on the spot....

      2. PNGuinn

        @ Naselus

        Don't you mean Crook's Law? (The crookedness of an ithing after being in one's jeans pocket will double with each iteraiton of said ithing.)

        Cooks Law is a fundamental law of physics:

        Sod's Law: The experimental result always turns out wrong.

        Cooks Law: Raise or the denominator as required the get the expected result.

        Sturgeon's Law: Remember to allow for experimental error or the result will appear fishy.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. M7S

    Timing is everything

    In the days when he played with such chemicals it may have been illegal, with some consequences but if he were to do this in the UK today (I do not know about the US where I assume he was) as a youth that would be his entire future probably blighted, in the legal sense, beyond any hope of redemption.

    Similarly the modern equivalent, cracking systems, seems to lead (from other comments I have read here in the past) to a very significant proportion of the IT security community vowing never to employ such a person regardless of any real talent* they might have.

    Yet among many readers of this article there's probably a combination of admiration and yearning for the things he did in his youth. Certainly I would wish to be able to let my nipper do such things (within certain safety boundaries) but probably even raising the issue with his teachers to try to do so in a responsible way would get me reported for, well, something. Probably terrorism. And child abuse.

    I feel it doesn't bode well for the ability of the human race to discover and incubate talent**. It's a shame really.

    *Not script kiddies

    ** I concede that doing a "Sheldon" and building a fusion reactor in the garage might be going a bit far.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. h3

      Re: Timing is everything

      Not sure it was illegal at all. (My grandfather used to be the needed chemicals and test tubes from the chemist not making any secrets of what he was going to be doing even asking for advice).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timing is everything

        In the 1960s the corner chemist happily sold schoolboys sulphur, potassium nitrate, strontium nitrate etc - as well as glass tubing to bend, blow, and stretch into various equipment configurations. GCE "O" Level Chemistry placed an emphasis on practical lab work.

        These days it is probably impossible to buy even the ingredients for a "chemical garden" from a local source. Although I did see a kit, possibly with the Science Museum branding, in the charity shop - "unused - as new".

        1. Neil Lewis

          Re: Timing is everything

          Indeed. I remember buying a couple of litres of ether in my local chemist as a young teenager for use in home-brewed model diesel engine fuel. There was no problem once I explained to the owner what I wanted it for. Can't imagine that happening now though.

          1. PNGuinn

            @ Neil Lewis

            Yes, times have changed, and not for the better methinks. I can remember making explosives, as part of O-level chemistry practicals - working with chemials like chlorine, ammonia, (great togeather - the head always put the manufacture of chlorine and ammonia on the same bench for open days) hydrogen sulphide, phosphorus...

            Chemistry WAS FUN then. A-level even more so.

            MInd you, a colleage at work in the seventies did tell me that questions were asked when he was sent by his firm to the local chemist for choloform and some glass syringes and needles.

            Perspex gluing for the enquiring minds out there. Chemist would not supply without a letter from the company.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: chemical garden

          I was dismayed to find that even the humble borax (laundry aid; or ingredient with PVA glue, for "slime"!) is now impossible to buy in local stores, apparently on the grounds that eating it regularly may shrink your testicles, so it must be treated as a hazard. On the other hand if the fashion for obesity propaganda causes you to doubt your "body image", you can buy dinitrophenol pills on the 'net and poison yourself without any hindrance. Bizarre.

          1. PNGuinn

            Re: chemical garden " on the grounds that eating it regularly may shrink your testicles"

            What's wrong with that? Should benefit society enormously.

            Think of it as a gentle form of Darwin at work.

    3. notowenwilson

      Re: Timing is everything

      I'm told by a normally reliable source that the police bomb disposal groups are having issues with this. Previously there were plenty of applicants who had prior experience with backyard explosions, now, not so much.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exponential growth has happened before

    Exponential growth rates have happened before in other industries, and have worked until some physical limit is reached. The examples I was told were:

    1) passenger aircraft speeds post WW2, which increased until the sound barrier was hit, went beyond (Concorde), then dropped back to a uniform level below.

    2) miles of railway track in Britain in the 1830s-40s, as companies competed to connect the country. If this exponential growth had continued for another 20 years, then the whole of Britain would have been converted to railway track by the 1870s, so the physical limit here was the space to grow.

    Moore's Law (/guideline) has worked for a long time though, and beaten some physical "limits", which were worked around.

    I recall a talk of his where he also showed a graph of total revenue generated by a fab line vs. wafer size, and a graph of fab cost vs. wafer size. The prediction was that a 15" wafer fab would barely break even, and an 18" fab would never recover its costs.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Exponential growth has happened before

      Moore's law wasn't that there would be exponential growth in computer chip power.

      It was that the MOST COST EFFECTIVE feature size would decrease exponentially (or transistor count would increase exp)

      So although a new smaller fab process would be more expensive to build and operate all the advantages, more chips/wafer, defects/chip, edge losses, kerff loses, all decrease with the square of the feature size.

      With the new 14nm fab it isn't clear that it will ever be cheaper/chip than 22nm and it is even less certain for <10nm. There may be other advantages in power usage and fitting more features into a small phone - but that's not what Moore originally claimed

      1. IanDs

        Re: Exponential growth has happened before

        As pointed out, it was actually saying that the number of devices which could be integrated *at minimum cost* doubled every [x years], not the number which could be integrated. It held all the way up to 28nm and then stopped; even though in 14nm you can get twice as many devices on a chip, the chip cost is more than twice as high.

        There's no technical brick wall stopping processes going to 10nm and 7nm (and maybe 5nm or below), but there seems to be an economic one. So in the original sense of Moore's law, it's already dead -- or at least, sleeping until something comes along to drastically drop the cost of advanced processes.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Exponential growth has happened before

          Actually with 28nm -> 14nm you get 4x as many devices.

          And if you have a single point flaw which destroys a single device on a wafer, you now have 4x as many devices per wafer so the cost/defect drops to 25%, you then get another few % win because with smaller devices you can get closer to the edges of a circular wafer so don't waste space.

          But with more devices you waste more space to allow for the saw cuts between chips (kerf loss)

          1. IanDs

            Re: Exponential growth has happened before

            Process node names like "14nm" and "28nm" are marketing labels nowadays, they have nothing to do with feature sizes or density. We're doing layouts in 14nm right now and the density is just under double (less than twice as many gates per mm2) compared to 28nm. The wafer cost is more than double due to double patterning and limited competition, so the cost per gate is higher -- very few cost-sensitive high-volume devices are big enough for yield to be a problem.

            Allowing for wafer costs falling over time -- and lower-cost foundries entering the 28nm market -- the projections show that 28nm will be the cheapest per gate for at least another 3 years, maybe 5 (or more) until EUV brings down the cost of 7nm. This is unprecedented (and probably a one-off), previously processes only held the "I'm cheapest" banner for a couple of years, 28nm looks like holding it for at least 5 years, maybe 7.

            1. MondoMan

              Re: new process nodes not scaling; 28nm

              Process nodes at different companies are often quite different in their capabilities, even if they share the same nominal scale. Intel's are generally acknowledged to be the best, usually by implementing new technologies not directly related to a simple "shrink" -- e.g. Hi-k metal gate and 3D tri-gate transistors. It's also important to remember that other aspects of the chip, such as interconnect technology, are also important in achieving expected density increases.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exponential growth has happened before

      " If this exponential growth had continued for another 20 years, then the whole of Britain would have been converted to railway track by the 1870s, so the physical limit here was the space to grow."

      The limit was economics. Too many competing lines between the same points. Cambridge station had three different companies' lines terminating there. The companies merged or went bankrupt until only the Big Four were left. Even without the effects of the war they were struggling with out-of-date rolling stock, poor tracks, and uneconomic routes. They were nationalised in 1948 - and Beeching axed many of the routes considered uneconomic in the 1960s.

      Some of those closures and land sales are now being considered unfortunate as roads become congested - or where there is no alternative route back-up when major accidents occur.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Stevie


    You can't make a statement about the course of action which the article is concerned with being started "in anger at" someone or something then not mention it again!

    Either explain or take out the temper reference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      Umm, it's just a english idiom rougly meaning, in this context, something like "seriously" or maybe "professionally" and implying that this was when he got seriously stuck into that business. I think originally it was used to distinguish between practice and "for real". For example "shots fired in anger" meaning you were shooting at someone with intent as opposed to just practicing.

      (Here's hoping that was a genuine language misunderstanding and I haven't missed some joke and patronisingly explained it to you anyway!)

  7. MondoMan

    die, process!

    Presumably 14nm, 10nm and so forth represent the process size rather than the "die-size". It would be quite entertaining to watch someone attempt to package a 14nm-sized die!

    It's also worth noting that as one of the "traitorous eight" who left Shockley to found Fairchild, and then by leaving Fairchild to found Intel, Moore helped establish the Silicon Valley startup ethos.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: die, process!

      The die size has been increasing steadily from millimeters the sixties to square centimeters in the teens, and the wafer size keeps increasing as well. Both contribute to the increase of the number of transistors on a die.

      But if it's no law, that means I don't go to jail:-)

      1. MondoMan

        Re: die, process!

        Bigger wafers just mean that the costs of per-wafer processing steps get amortized over more dies per wafer -- they don't directly allow for bigger dies. Intel premium CPU die sizes hit the square cm size range by the first Pentium 4 fifteen years ago (217 mm^2) and have zigzagged up and down in size since then (see ).

  8. Peter Prof Fox

    Every time I look at this thread...

    ...There are twice as many comments.

  9. the_stone

    Gotta figure Kurzweil understood the implications of this double-down thing.

    1. DropBear

      Except the part that no real-life process follows exponential law for more than a transitory phase - Moore's law is probably the most enduring example, but it's not exempt of hitting a brick wall at some point either (arguably already has). You simply never get anywhere near the point where "all of land gets covered with railway tracks" and he seems to have a problem grokking that.

      1. JeffyPoooh


        Well, number of transistors per unit area goes as the inverse square law of the process dimension. So even if the process dimension is only a linear function of time, the transistor count will be squared. If transistor count is linear, then obviously the process has be less than linear.

        Moore's could be defined as: see Scaling Laws.

        The obvious way forward is further into the third dimension. If the process can mature both thinner layers and a taller stack, you might get onto the squared growth curve.

        The cheapest fix to keeping technology running smoothly would be to convince the coder drones to stop cobbling together bloated bugware. Fix that.

  10. Spaller

    There aren't so many silicon atoms left what with their diameter at .22nm.

    Or how about the corollary that the cost of the fabs double from node to node?

    Or that you halve the number of fabs from nodes to node?

    So which runs out first: atoms, money, or fabs?

  11. Camilla Smythe


    We have reached the stage where 'Moore's Law', despite various efforts at Viagra, has flopped over but we have achieved FaceBook.

    1. Bleu

      Re: Legacy

      I, for one, avoid facebook like the plague, but they probably have a dossier on me, from morons using it mentioning me, and from my occasionally checking pages there because people don't bother updating their websites with 'what's on' information, instead doing it all through faescesbook and twatter.

      Facebook has frequently been said to keep non-user profiles.

  12. Jolyon Ralph

    It was only a law because it rhymes with Moore....

    If his name had been Theirry they would have called it a theory, which of course would be equally wrong.

    1. xeroks

      Re: It was only a law because it rhymes with Moore....

      I guess it can't be a law up here in Scotland then.

      You could maybe nounify "de rigeur" and use that?

      1. Bleu

        Re: It was only a law because it rhymes with Moore....

        De rigeur mortis?

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: It was only a law because it rhymes with Moore....

          Moore's Maxim, then?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thierry's Theory?

    Fool's Rule.

  14. Miss Config

    Updated Law

    The number of electronics engineers who no longer believes in Moore's Law doubles every year

  15. Faceless Man
    Thumb Up

    Thank you...

    ...for finally saying it. It's not a law.

    Unfortunately, I keep hearing stuff from people who should know better about how Moore's Law drives technology forward. (In particular, I'm thinking of an aging "rocket scientist" and hack SF author who can't help but mention it when discussing technology.)

    It's bad enough we have to explain what "theory" means whjen dealing with the evolutionarily challenged.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thank you...

      Who's that, then?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Thank you...

      ...for finally saying it. It's not a law.

      At least half a dozen commentators feel obliged to point this out in the comments for every Reg article that includes the phrase. "Moore's Law isn't a law" is such a cliché that some people probably have it as a keyboard macro. This piece is hardly groundbreaking.

      Your complaint is a nice illustration of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. "Bah, those fools who are not in my area of expertise don't understand my area of expertise!" You might want to consult a biologist on the predominant ursine defecatory loci.

    3. Bleu

      Re: Thank you...

      Please check my one non-reply post on this thread, it is concise and to the point.

  16. Mike 16

    Applied Physics?

    If that means, at Johns Hopkins, what it meant at some other places I know of, then the childhood nitroglycerin stunt may have helped him get in.

    As for Chemicals Today, a teenager can still get [redacted] and [redacted], and probably even [redacted] at local shops. A friend truthfully answered his daughter's questions about such stuff (and cautioned her about the importance of small batches). With the usual "Don't tell mom", of course.

  17. 0_Flybert_0

    what about the real increase in computing power ?

    1997 P200 MMX .. Virge S 2MB graphics chip Win95 OS/R 2 32-bit .. 16MB EDO / SIMM .. 2GB IDE HDD

    current .. i7 K 8 threads .. 2GB nVidia .. 1920 cores .. Win7 64-bit .. 128 GB SSD + 2 TB SATA3 HDD

    what increase in crunching thru bits per second would that be ?

    DRAM speed increases ? increase of clocks per frequency cycle ?

    the effects of better instruction sets in CPU .. GPU ?

    how much faster .. how much more work *holistically* do PCs do year by year ?

    what is the rate of increase currently in ARM and SoC processors ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what about the real increase in computing power ?

      You need this power just to run Windows desktop.

  18. Dom 3

    Same as it ever was.

    For as long as I can remember, we have always been fifty years away from practical nuclear fusion, twenty years away from running out of oil, and ten years away from Moore's law hitting its physical limits.

    1. IanDs

      Re: Same as it ever was.

      Moore's Law has currently hit its economic limits, which is what was originally stated. No problem carrying on to 7nm and 5nm technically, the problem is financial. Current estimate is that to justify the design and manufacturing costs a 10nm chip needs to sell at least $500M, this will probably be $1B for 7nm -- more in both cases if it's a big complex chip.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Same as it ever was.

      For as long as I can remember, people have been posting that very comment.

    3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Same as it ever was.

      For as long as I can remember, we have always been fifty years away from practical nuclear fusion, twenty years away from running out of oil, and ten years away from Moore's law hitting its physical limits.

      And where's my bloody hoverboard and flying car?!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self Fulfilling Prophecy

    I've always viewed it as a self fulfilling prophecy, one that in many ways has become a rod to beat Intel's own back with.

    It was an observation that became a mantra for Intel and drove IC development just so they could keep from breaking Moore's "Law". That's not to say we haven't been rewarded from the forced pace of IC development, but that doesn't mean it is a Law.

  20. Andrew Moore

    The conspiracy theory...

    Moore's Law was also used to slow down innovation by allowing R&D to only focus on making kit that was 2 times faster within the 6 month time period. Whose to say that they didn't produce a chipset 16 times faster but held back on release for 2 years...

  21. rav

    Moore's Wish?

    "..overall processing power of computers, would double every two years"

    Well that has been thoroughly debunked!

  22. IanDs

    Bigger wafers do reduce the cost per die (maybe about 30%?) because a significant part of processing (not all) is per-wafer and costs roughly the same for a 450mm wafer as a 300mm one. The problem is that the cost to the industry of bringing up 450mm would be enormous, and nobody wants to pick up the tab -- especially the equipment manufacturers who got royally screwed by the transition to 300mm.

    So yet again, it's all about the money not the technology :-)

  23. JeffyPoooh

    "...see the beach..."

    Not 'see *his* beach' then?

    He certainly deserves his own waterfront.

  24. JassMan

    No wonder the kids aren't educated anymore

    Fancy someone being a professor and not knowing that Moore's quotation is not a law. Surely it is an axiom but he could have been a bit alliterative and called it Moore's Maxim

  25. Bleu

    Moore's law

    may have started out as a description of a phenomenon.

    It is now a law of the other type.

    That's why industry groups draw up 'road maps' for integration density and so on.

    It is a a law that is enforced by concensus.

  26. Squeezer

    Here's a picture showing the real problem:

    The whole semiconductor industry -- and the electronics industry built on it -- has worked for the last fifty years on the principle that the next process would give you chips which were faster, lower power, *and* cheaper, so the next generation product gets more bang for the buck.

    Now this cost model is broken, there's a very nasty wake-up call on the way -- yes you can have more bang, but it'll cost you more bucks.

  27. DaddyHoggy

    When I was finishing off my Physics and Computer Science degree in 1994 and making very simple ICs at my Uni's fabrication centre, I remember a physics lecture where I was shown how, because of the expected quantum tunnelling effects - transistors on silicon would never get smaller than 24nm (and would would take 30 years to develop the techniques to get down to this size) - I can smile about it now...

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