Technologies include strained silicon 300 millimeter

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technologies include strained silicon, 300-millimeter production wafers (which decrease the costs of production), and denser interconnections among components. Whereas the first Pentium microprocessors operated at 75 megahertz, today’s Pentiums are available with 3-gigahertz speeds. However, increasing processor speeds at the same exponential rate as in the past may no longer be possible. As processor speeds increase, heat is generated that cannot be dissipated with air fans. Another brake on future increases in microprocessor speed is more market-oriented: Most consumers may not need vast increases in microprocessor speed but instead are more interested in low power consumption for longer battery life and low weight to increase laptop and handheld computer portability. For this reason, Intel and other firms are designing the next generation of chips to be less power hungry and lower in weight even if they are the same or even slower speeds. Other options include putting multiple processors on a single chip. THE LAW OF MASS DIGITAL STORAGE A second technology driver of IT infrastructure change is the Law of Mass Digital Storage. The world produces as much as 5 exabytes of unique information per year (an exabyte is a billion gigabytes, or 1018 bytes). The amount of digital information is roughly doubling every year (Lyman and Varian, 2003). Almost all of this information C H A P T E R 4 : L e a r n i n g T r a c k 3 2 FIGURE 4-4 Falling cost of chips. Packing more transistors into less space has driven down transistor cost dramatically as well as the cost of the products in which they are used. Source: © 2004 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.
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growth involves magnetic storage of digital data, and printed documents account for only 0.003 percent of the annual growth. Fortunately, the cost of storing digital information is falling at an exponential rate. Figure 4-6 shows that PC hard drive capacity—beginning with a Seagate 506 in 1980 that had 5 megabytes of memory—has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent in the early years to over 60 percent a year since 1990. Today’s PC hard drives have storage densities approaching 1 gigabyte per square inch and total capacities of over 200 gigabytes (IBM, Seagate). Figure 4-7 shows that the number of kilobytes that can be stored on magnetic disks for one dollar from 1950 to 2004 roughly doubled every 15 months. METCALFE’S LAW AND NETWORK ECONOMICS Moore’s Law and the Law of Mass Storage help us understand why computing resources are now so readily available. But why do people want more computing and storage power? The economics of networks and the growth of the Internet provide some answers. Robert Metcalfe—inventor of Ethernet local area network technology—claimed in 1970 that the value or power of a network grows exponentially as a function of the num- ber of network members. Metcalfe and others point to the increasing returns to scale that network members receive as more and more people join the network. As the number of members in a network grows linearly, the value of the entire system grows exponential- ly and theoretically continues to grow forever as members increase. Demand for infor- mation technology has been driven by the social and business value of digital networks,
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