Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Jan 2006 16:58 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Yesterday, we reported on an article about the demise of the Alpha. That article was the first part in a series about the future of processor design. Today, part II has been published: "In terms of the architecture itself, AMD's Athlon 64 platform, at the stage it is at right now, does not offer that much of a performance advantage, and AMD should not be resting on its laurels. This is because on the desktop, interconnects as such play less of a role. It's on servers and multi-processing systems that you can take advantage of scaling, and that's where interconnects such as HyperTransport have a role. But when you talk about a single-chip desktop system, whether it's one, two or four cores, the efficiency of the chipset still plays a very important role."
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I think the only path forward is just like AMD figured out, slowly adding the next step. If you look at software from pre Windows 95 days, you'll see the big step from 16 bit to 32 bit computing. Only recently has support for 16 bit computing started to be shelved in OSes. My guess is that once 64 bit software becomes dominant we'll see 16bit dropped altogether from x86. Either that, or some amazing emulation technology will have to come out that makes running old arch apps on a radically different new processor efficient. Descussing popular use of 128bit computing is obviously a little far out there at the moment ;) We'll probably be using optical computers before 128bit digital ones become popular.

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