Reply to post: “Advanced technologies” aren’t always needed

China the largest buyer of chipmaking machines as sales hit an all-time high


“Advanced technologies” aren’t always needed

This is a misunderstanding which seems to make a lot of people confused.

You don’t actually need more advanced nodes for nearly anything which the US is attempting to curtail.

Advanced nodes increase density which is a non-issue unless portability is the need

They also decrease power consumption which is also a non-issue if power is available. Thanks to China’s solar, battery and wind initiatives, total non-issue

They also decrease heat radiation. No problem if you can remove the heat. There are of course many profitable ways to consume the heat from data centers. And China does have ways to do that.

They can also increase clock rates which can be easily compensated for by simply adding more chips.

There is the issue of high frequency communication which is a limiting factor due to things like quantum tunneling. I won’t make this a quantum physics or regulation theory lesson, but the only way to deal with this is to have more parallel channels of serial communication. A better solution is to write better code which doesn’t need so much bandwidth. Use binary data rather than JSON for example.

The last and toughest issue is latency. Sometime you just need to send data from n less time. This is generally addressed with higher frequency busses. There are almost no places in high performance computing and AI where you genuinely need better latency. We use it when it’s available, but if you consider most super computers are running like slugs because scientists tend to write their code in Python, R or Matlab, this isn’t really the issue. Many HPC applications could run on laptops with a decent video card if they were coded properly.

The only thing these advanced fabrication technologies are really needed for is things like 5G. And this is a huge problem because China’s 5G solution is much cheaper and quite a bit better than their competitors. Even now, for example Nokia is struggling to deliver millimeter wave or SA. Two features Huawei could deliver on day one of 5G and also the two most interesting features of 5G. If the US hadn’t bullied everyone to avoid Huawei RANs, the whole western would would be shipping crates full of US treasury notes to China never to be seen again.

Overall, these semiconductor fabrication equipment sanctions have very little impact on China except that they are being forced to up their game will eventually catch up with the west and leave them perfectly positioned to compete aggressively against western companies.

The ship has sailed. There is no going back. If all the sanctions were lifted today, China would work just as hard to become the world leader in semiconductor technology. What Trump and Biden have accomplished is to make it so China might simply choose to withhold advanced Chinese tech from the US and their friends.

The good news is, most of the people who have initiated this inevitable end more than likely, due to old age won’t be around to see the world when the US is pan handling on the streets of Beijing begging for bread. But I’m sure they’ll go down in the history books as the presidents who forced China’s hand.

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