Improving PC Power: It's Not All About Silicon Anymore
Now that improvements to actual silicon have hit the brick wall save for the ability to pack more cores onto a single die, it's no wonder that the industry is looking to other means to ramp up system capabilities.
But now that improvements to actual silicon have hit the brick wall save for the ability to pack more cores onto a single die, it's no wonder that the industry is looking to other means to ramp up system capabilities.
One of those is the interconnect. As witnessed this week from Intel's new silicon photonics system, there are a lot of gains to be had outside the chip. As the name suggests, the setup does away with copper-based electronic transfer of data between components in favor of photons over fiber optic links. The company says it can offer an initial boost from standard 10 Gbps throughput to 50 Gbps, with the potential to hit 400 Gbps in a short while. The technology also promises to extend the length of the interconnect, ushering in the possibility of silicon-to-silicon connectivity between servers, PCs, networking gear and other components.
Whenever you start to talk about fiber optics and lasers, however, you run into cost issues. Intel is aware of this, telling IDG that bringing the technology down to acceptable price-points is a crucial consideration as the technology moves from the lab to the field. The company is looking to produce a commercial product within the next decade, possibly a multichannel device that could see aggregate transfers speeds of more than 1 Tbps.
Assuredly, there are countless other developments in laboratories around the world aimed at improving data transmission and handling, only some of which will arrive in actual products any time soon. But what is clear is that even though Moore's Law may have finally reached its practical limit on the CPU, its corollaries will live on elsewhere in data technology.