News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Goodbye Gigahertz


AMD and Intel have recently turned away from advertising the clock speed of their microchips in mega- and gigahertz and are instead assigning model numbers. It has long been suggested by experts that a given microprocessor’s speed is a poor measure of actual performance. For example, AMD Athlon chips have slower speeds than their Intel Pentium 4 counterparts, but are equal to or better in performance on some benchmarks.

We are seeing the beginning of the end of the microprocessor as we know it today. The success of AMD and Intel, among other manufacturers, is not guaranteed as we transition into new technologies, but hiding behind model numbers is a logical way to keep the chaos hidden from the general lay person. Those of us in the know watch trends in nanotechnology, photonics, magnetic spin and quantum mechanics for the next paradigm in computing technology.

This means current leading companies of today are focusing on optimizing their chips, which I think is a great idea. There is still a lot more that current technology can do before we reach the next level in computing.

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