Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Re: Introducing "No-Moore's Law"

Author: Jeremiah Penery

Date: 22:53:11 02/28/03

Go up one level in this thread

Please go read this:

I'm not going to try arguing the economic points anymore.  The post above may
help you understand what I may have failed to explain well.

On March 01, 2003 at 00:07:01, Robert Hyatt wrote:

>On February 28, 2003 at 20:41:59, Jeremiah Penery wrote:
>Sparc isn't selling "so well".  IN fact, if you talk to Sun insiders, it is
>doomed and they are moving to the PC world quickly.  They already use a PC
>type chassis with IDE disks and the like.  Care to guess why?  Processor sucks.
>Everybody knows it sucks.  Only the "sun loyalty" keeps a few coming back.  We
>used to be 100% sun, for example.  We now have 5 out of 250 computers here.
>The rest are mostly PCs with a few others (SGI, etc) thrown in for good measure. and

"In 2002, Sun was No. 1 in sales of non-Intel servers.
It had 37% of all non-Intel server revenue, according
to researcher International Data Corp.

Hewlett-Packard was No. 2, with 31% of those sales.
IBM Corp. came in No. 3 with 21%. And Fujitsu was No.
4, with just 2.6%"

So by revenue, RISC server market share breakdown is

31% PA-RISC + Alpha
21% Power/PowerPC

The 31% HP share is likely about two thirds PA-RISC
and one third Alpha. SGI probably takes a good chunk
of the 8% unaccounted for.

>The alpha was too expensive for the desktop.  256 bit bus was a killer.  But

They planned to release it for the desktop.  It wasn't all that expensive,
either.  With FX!32, they could even run native Intel binaries, so software
compatibility shouldn't have been a barrier.

>that is _all_ that was wrong with it and give things another 3-5 years and
>64 bit chips _will_ be the norm.

What does this statement have anything to do with the discussion?  Of course, I
agree with this, especially because of Hammer's imminent release.

>>_You_ were the one who said it first, not me.  "But reducing the die size has
>>other advantages, including lower voltage and lower heat, at the same clock
>>frequency, so there is a reason for going there.."  I just tried to respond to
>What's wrong with that statement?

Nothing's wrong with that statement, except that it wasn't the subject of the
discussion.  You made the point, I replied to it, and now you say _I'm_ the one
getting off-topic?  Sheesh.

>  There is _no_ reason to go to reduced die
>size except to (a) shorten distances, (b) shorten switching times, (c) reduce
>power requirements, and (d) reduce heat dissipation.  You can go to a smaller
>fab without going faster, if your only goal is reduced heat, for example.  But
>we _were_ talking about speed, and nothing else.

So why did _YOU_ bring up the heat/power argument?

>>The biggest potential number for headroom I may have given was 25%.  That may be
>>a bit high, but not implausibly so.
>And if that is all you are saying, then why are you arguing, because I haven't
>said anything different.  which leads me to wonder who is _really_ skimming.  :)

I'm arguing it because you keep claiming I said something else.

>>So what are you harping on about here?  _Nobody_ ever claimed that they build
>>first and then test.  Nobody disputed that the engineers should have a good idea
>>of the maximum clock speed.  All I've said is that they may be able to produce
>>something, but that doesn't mean they will sell it.
>I'm only "harping" on how engineering works.  It is _not_ as haphazard as you
>and others would suggest.  The engineers know very well what a particular fab

Please give me one example of someone saying anything remotely implying
something like, "engineering is haphazard."

>process and design will do.  It might take a while to get there, but there is
>no guesswork at all...
>ANd that is what I have been saying over and over.  Steve agreed.  As did any
>other engineer I have talked to over the years...

You act like engineers determine everything about product releases, though.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this isn't how it works.  Marketing
determines far more than they probably should.

>>You've already bought the program that's 200 points better than the competitors.
>> The question is, "When do you 'need' to buy a replacement program?"  If you
>>already have something twice as good as any competing product, it's very likely
>>that your buying cycle time will dramatically increase.
>Not if they come out next year with something 200 points better.

If you suddenly came across an idea that improved the strength of Crafty by 300
SSDF points overnight, what makes you think you could repeat the improvement
next year, or ever?

>Will I buy a 3ghz machine today and buy a 3.2ghz machine in 6 months?  No.
>But the risk is will I buy that 3.0ghz if your competition is right behind
>you in speed and significantly below you in cost (AMD vs Intel for example).

It seems to work for Intel so far, in that they still have almost 90% of the

>>The better off you are _today_.  If companies focused only on today, they would
>>fail tomorrow.  In your business model, the companies sacrifice long term sales
>>and revenue for a quick injection of cash.  That won't sustain anyone.
>I still don't see how this is an issue.  How will producing a slower product
>today help me tomorrow?  Once I lose a customer to a competitor, it is _much_
>harder to get them _back_.  I'd want to offer the best that I could offer, to
>drain _their_ customers that need more performance.
>IE Cray _never_ played these games, _ever_.

If we were talking about the high-performance, server-oriented RISC market, or
supercomputer market, your comments about marketing may well be correct.  We're
talking about the commodity x86 market, however, which is completely different.

>>If he's designing a several-million square foot, 100 story office tower,
>>compared to the architect 30 years ago designing a 1500 square foot, 2 story
>>house, the job is certainly NOT easier for the human today, no matter what tools
>>he has.
>But he isn't.  He is designing a small city, made up of one of these, one of
>those, two of those, etc.  Divide and conquer and all that.  It isn't just one

That doesn't make it any easier for the individuals.  They not only have to
design their own building now, they have to make sure it integrates well with
all the other buildings.

>>That doesn't mean the silicon isn't capable of running at the same speed as the
>>desktop part.  That's the crux of this entire argument.
>No it isn't.  The crux of the argument is "can the desktop processor, with the
>full setup for heatsink and fan and power supply and so forth run faster than
>the engineers say?"

Define 'full setup for heatsink and fan and ...'  I would guess that desktop
parts are probably often thermally limited, rather than silicon limited.
They're released at certain speed grades taking into account near worst-case
thermal conditions.  With better cooling, they can be run closer to the limit of
the silicon, rather than simply what the thermal characteristics allow with
mediocre cooling.

>The answer seems to be "no" according to popular (engineering) opinion.

You've heard from a couple engineering friends of yours, and asked one guy on
this forum who gave a somewhat non-commital response.  Hardly an overwhelming
opinion, considering there are opposing viewpoints from people also in
engineering and chip design and marketing.

>Once again, I do not _care_ about the intentionally slowed down processors
>and whether they will overclock or not.  I care about the front-line fastest
>chips being produced _only_.  All my comments are addressed to that specific
>segment of the chip market.  Not the low-head (mobile) processors.  Not the

You were the one who brought up the laptop processors.  I only tried to respond
to the point.

>re-marked slower-clocked processors made for an economy niche.  The best of
>the processors _only_ is what I have been talking about, and I have _not_
>been vague in that position whatsoever...

Except that you brought up things like laptop processors, Cray, chess programs,
house building, etc.  All I've done is try to respond to your points in kind.

>All attempts to change the chip topic will be returned to the main idea,
>time after time.  :)

Then maybe you should stop changing the topic, so I don't keep sounding
off-topic to you. :P

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