Every now and again, not just in the technology industry, but in almost every walk of life, something comes along that blows all traditional methods, traditional trends and accepted limits out the water. IBM is a renowned source for such innovation in the tech world, and once again we’re being served some gargantuan new ideas that have each and every one of salivating at the prospect.
One thousand times faster – That’s a statement that would attract anyone’s attention, especially when we talk about faster computers, smartphones and tablets.
So How Does This Technology Work
On the face of it, the concept is very simple. Rather than have a single slab of silicon to work with, IBM in conjunction with 3M, plans to develop a new adhesive material that will allow processors to be literally stacked on top of one another.
The easiest way to think of it, is comparing it to the development of a city. Once the space runs out, the only feasible way is up, and we have the birth of the skyscraper. In a similarly excessive fashion, they’re not stopping at just a second or third floor, but introducing stacks, or ‘bricks’ of up to a hundred layers of silicon.
3D packaging is a technique which has already been adopted to achieve a similar result, but this venture by the aforementioned innovators will become the first method allowing for these microprocessing ‘bricks’ to become commercially viable.
Pinch of Salt
I hate to love to be a sceptic, but the truth of the matter is that we’re hearing promises quite often, and sometimes the timescale of the development is so beyond the near future it sucks the excitement right out, and other times these ideas are so farfetched it’s impossible to get excited at all, when you’re laughing so hard.
But it’s hard to place this news, whether to get stoked about having core i7000’s waiting just around the corner, or to simply move on and abide by Moore’s law in 2D for the foreseeable future.
Remember when Microsoft showed off Windows running on an ARM SOC? People got quite excited, because it meant a copy of Windows could be feasible on a truly mobile device. But for obvious reasons, mobility has always meant a compromise of power.
Remember when the Google Nexus One was unveiled? The first 1GHz smartphone. That was just a single core. A single layer.
Remember when the iPad became the iPad 2? And brought with it an extra core, and people leapt in excitement, arms waving and wallets emptying at the prospect of extra power and nine-times faster graphics.
Well imagine, if just a few years maybe down the line, mobile devices could be a thousand times faster than the current leading microprocessors in terms of power. Tempted? Excited? Impatient? You bet we are.
And just like those cities which have condensed into over-populated, swarming ant-hills of civilisation, the currents will be surging through silicon and transistors in such a smaller, densely packed areas, that those devices which are inherently less mobile than a smartphone or tablet, such as a laptop, desktop PC or even other devices that are becoming smarter by the day, such as our TV’s, could become thinner, slimmer, smaller and generally more powerful nonetheless.