Brookings Productivity Puzzle Panel: VIdeo

Must-Read: Mark Pesce: Zombie Moore's Law: Hardware Eats Software:

Intel announce some next-generation CPUs that aren’t very much faster... delays... some of its 10nm process CPUs; and Apple’s new A10 chip, powering iPhone 7, is as one of the fastest CPUs ever...

Intel’s slavish devotion to [the] single storyline [that] more transistors and smaller transistors are what everyone needs. That... gave us thirty years of Wintel, but... the CPU is all grown up. Meanwhile... every twelve months another A-series System-on-a-Chip makes its way into the Apple product line, and every time performance increases enormously.... But the bulk of the speed gains in the A-series (about a factor of twelve over the last five years) don’t come from making more, smaller transistors. Instead, they come from Apple’s focus on using only those transistors needed for their smartphones and tablets.... Every aspect of Apple’s chip is highly tuned to both workload and iOS kernel-level task management. It’s getting hard to tell where Apple’s silicon ends and its software begins. And that’s exactly the point....

Apple isn’t alone; NVIDIA has been... adding custom bits to move... work previously done in software--such as rendering stereo pairs for virtual reality displays--into the hardware. A process that used to cost 2x the compute for every display frame now comes essentially for free.... For the last fifty years... the cheap gains of ever-faster CPUs versus the hard work of designing and debugging silicon circuitry meant only the most important or time-critical tasks migrated into silicon. Now... wringing every last bit of capacity out of the transistor... is already well underway...

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