Twenty-eight nanometers. That is just a few atoms wide. What can we do with it:
- 8 cores?
- 4 cores and huge caches? 6 cores and not so huge caches?
- really low-power 32 bit chips for netbooks and thin clients!
IBM Says Alliance Set for 28nm means a tonne of fabricating capacity will be available for 28 nm soon. This is another big step for Moore’s Law and it changes what we can do with IT. We can go faster with more cores and larger caches or we can go lower in power with still smaller chips.
We should do both. We can use the larger caches and more cores on servers and the lower power devices on netbooks and thin clients. This is the most efficient use of the technology. Can we get away from one heater per desktop? I hope so. Thin clients are much more efficient. Using 1/16 of the silicon that a server chip uses means the little machines will be even cheaper and more efficient and there can be many more of them. Manufacturers have been resisting this shift but it is the natural way to go. We have gigabit/s LANs, RAIDs on servers, huge RAM on servers, many cores on servers, and we can do with tiny processors almost everywhere else.
The thin client and the netbook will shine with GNU/Linux at 28 nm. That other OS needs thick clients to use resources poorly. It is such an obvious waste. We can get better performance, lower cost, and less waste with the new chips and GNU/Linux.