Re: Moore's Law was: Re: [sl4] Call for information: Moore's Law

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Tue Jul 29 2008 - 22:48:34 MDT

CyTG wrote,
> with nice graphics and all!

Thanks for the link, but I am already aware of Wikipedia.

I prefer the graphics in "The Lives and Death of Moore's Law"
These graphs look random, with no upward trend or exponential curve:

Figure 1: Prices and Quantities of 16-kilobit DRAM chips
Figure 2: Percentage difference in expected number of transistors in Intel
Figure 3: Number of transistors on Intel microprocessors
Figure 4: Desktop computer processor speed
Figure 5: Processor performance in millions of instructins (MIPS) for Intel
Figure 6: Median price for desktop computers sold in the U.S.
Figure 7: Percent change of price index for memory chips from previous year
Figure 8: Average change in PC price indexes

Quoted from the article:

"A simple test for the validity of the Moore's Law can be done by charting
the number of transistors on microprocessor chips. This chart is, basically,
the one that is usually shown with the claim that it proves that the number
of transistors doubles roughly every 18 months. The results can be seen in
Figure 3...."


"As can be seen from Figure 3, the number of transistors has not doubled
very regularly. During the first decade of microprocessors, the doubling
rate was approximately 22 months but also very irregular. After the
introduction of the 80386 processor family, the doubling speed was closer to
33 months. During this period, the number of transistors jumped from
275,000, on the Intel 80386 chips in 1988 to 1.4 million transistors on the
80486 SL chips, at the end of 1992. In the Pentium, Pentium Pro and Pentium
II processor families the transistor count doubled roughly at a rate of 54
months. Strictly speaking, the transistor counts, however, have changed
irregularly and the mentioned doubling times are based on statistical
trends. Since late 1999, Intel has not included transistor counts in its
processor summaries. In October 1999, Intel Pentium III Xeon and Mobile
Pentium III processors had some 28 million transistors. In July 2001,
Pentium 4 had about 42 million transistors...."

Although technology is roughly getting faster all the time, it is doing so
in fits and starts as new products emerge. There is no predictable pattern
or discernable rate at which this occurs. Moore's Law is a rough trend, but
not very accurate at all.

Harvey Newstrom <>

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