mo o res law applies to chipsbro adly speaking to

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Unformatted text preview: ransisto rs per chip, a pro xy f o r po wer, wo uld do uble every two years, but many so urces to day ref er to the eighteen-mo nth f igure, so we’ll stick with that—either way, we’re still talking abo ut ridiculo usly accelerating po wer and plummeting co sts.) Mo o re’s Law applies to chips—bro adly speaking, to pro cesso rs, o r the electro nics stuf f that’s made o ut o f silico n.Altho ugh o ther materials besides silico n are increasingly being used. The microprocessor is the brain o f a co mputing device. It’s the part o f the co mputer that executes the instructio ns o f a co mputer pro gram, allo wing it to run a Web bro wser, wo rd pro cesso r, video game, o r virus. Fo r pro cesso rs, Mo o re’s Law means that next generatio n chips sho uld be twice as f ast in eighteen mo nths, but co st the same as to day’s mo dels (o r f ro m ano ther perspective, in a year and a half , chips that are same speed as to day’s mo dels sho uld be available f o r half the price). Random­access memory (RAM) is chip-based memo ry. The RAM inside yo ur perso nal co mputer is volat ile memory, meaning that when the po wer go es o ut, all is lo st that wasn’t saved to nonvolat ile memory (i.e., a mo re permanent sto rage media like a hard disk o r f lash memo ry). Think o f RAM as tempo rary sto rage that pro vides f ast access f o r executing co mputer pro grams and f iles. When yo u “lo ad” o r “launch” a pro gram, it usually mo ves f ro m yo ur hard drive to tho se RAM chips, where it can be mo re quickly executed by the pro cesso r. Cameras, MP 3 players, USB drives, and mo bile pho nes o f ten use f lash memory (so metimes called flash RAM). It’s no t as f ast as the RAM used in mo st traditio nal P Cs, but ho lds data even when the po wer is o f f (so f lash memo ry is also no nvo latile memo ry). Yo u can think o f f lash memo ry as the chip-based equivalent o f a hard drive. In f act, f lash memo ry prices are f alling so rapidly that several manuf actures including Apple and the One Lapto p per Child initiative (see the “Tech f o r the P o o r” sidebar later in this sectio n) have begun o f f ering chip-based, no nvo latile memo ry as an alternative to lapto p hard drives. The big advantage? Chips are solid st at e elect ronics (meaning no mo ving parts), so they’re less likely to f ail, and they draw less po wer. The so lid state advantage also means that chip-based MP 3 players like the iP o d nano make better jo gging co mpanio ns than hard drive players, which can skip if jo stled. Fo r RAM chips and f lash memo ry, Mo o re’s Law means that in eighteen mo nths yo u’ll pay the same price as to day f o r twice as much sto rage. Co mputer chips are so metimes also ref erred to as semiconduct ors (a substance such as silico n dio xide used inside mo st co mputer chips that is capable o f enabling as well as inhibiting the f lo w o f electricity). So if so meo ne ref ers to the semico nducto r industry, they’re talking abo ut the chip bus...
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This document was uploaded on 01/31/2014.

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