Moore’s Law and Tires

Winter is here and I took advantage of a warm snap to change to my winter tires, with a softer compound and better tread for ice. $250 a tire and $250 a rim makes me wish unicycles would work for the little woman or that Moore’s Law applied to tires. Unfortunately, manufacture of things does benefit linearly from improved production and someone else gets all the profits in tires. In microelectronics things are much better. Every few years, the ability to make a structure in silicon or whatever improves 30% or so and details become 70% the size they were the year before. That means the area of things like transistors become 70% of 70% of the area it took last time, about half.

The result of Moore’s Law is that one can either cram twice as many transistors into a chip every few years, the Intel/AMD way, or you can be modest in demand for silicon and make chips half the size they were before, the ARM way. Both approaches work but there are definite advantages in the market for both:

  • The Intel way does give a more desirable/powerful CPU year after year, and
  • the ARM way does give a lower cost chip that is good enough for a lot of purposes and uses very little power. ARM CPUs also increase in performance as higher clock-speeds can be used with the smaller transistors.

The latter advantage has gained traction in the embedded space because of low cost and small size and the mobile space because of the limited energy storage of a battery or limited energy production of a solar panel. The former advantage still has a place where volume computing is paramount but in the client space even the little Atom processor is overkill. I have an Atom in my house. It idles even playing HDMI video. So the power of the CPU has become much less important. On the other hand, people love small cheap portable computers so ARM is thriving and even moving into the server space where space and energy consumption matter.

ARMed CPUs now reach into the quad 2.5gHz realm and, really, many end-users have no need of more power as these CPUs consume only 0.5 watt, cost $20 or so and fit in a thumb drive. It seems to me and a few OEMs that the time has come to bring ARM back into all manner of client computing. I thought it would happen in a big way by Christmas, but it looks like it will take a bit longer, maybe Q1 of 2012. A few gadgets have trickled out like the “transformer” or sliding-keyboard machines but they are still at heart smart phones or tablets, not a regular notebook or desktop. Perhaps thin clients running ARM will be the next wave. It’s all good and keeps getting better.

Here’s a rather expensive ($200) thin client from HP that runs GNU/Linux on ARM:

I would bet the Chinese can do better than that.

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9 Responses to Moore’s Law and Tires

  1. oiaohm says:

    “I’m entranced by Oiaohm’s dystopia of no slave labour, nosiree, just a million ex-slaves on the Chinese version of the dole. Which is, er, remind me again what the PRC policy on social security is?”

    Dr Loser you are missing the 1 child per family policy in china. China is a reducing population not a growing one. So long term that population of millions slaves will not exist. Because there replacements were never born. So they will simply die out.

    China is trying to get more of there population in R&D and other important items not production.

    1 million plus displaced from device production is filling short falls in other production in china at this stage caused by the effects of the population control. This is also the reason why china labour prices are going up there is not enough labour in china. Now if machines could make clothing and other items perfectly at the moment china would have a problem.

    Yep 1 million displacement is equalling zero on the china equal to dole.

    This is why NT JERKFACE was so wrong. There are other countries in the Asian area without population control that slave labour might be long term. China slave labour is only short term because they simply will not have the population to support it.

    Companies are looking to leave china due to the running out of supply of slaves as well.

    “Exactly who do you think is manufacturing this worthless thin-client piece of garbage, Robert?”

    Depends on what factory at the moment Dr Loser some the first human hands to touch the thin-client is the person who opens the box to install it. Machine circuit board is cut and cleaned by machine. The casing is molded by machine. Machine is assembled by many pick and place machines. Soldered by machine and moved between machines by machines. QA done by machines. Boxed by machine.

    Chips are made in clean room environments were humans must not go. Only human usage in these factories is refilling the machines and sometimes not the machines directly sometimes the store room where the refill machines get the items from and loading the final items into trucks in the form of machine stacked palettes and robot repair.

    Of course there are factories still using slaves but they are a dieing breed in china for device production.

    Raw materials taken to factory device assembled without humans and boxed without humans. Only human is in the loading docks to unload supplies for factories and to load items into trucks for shipping.

    One day machines will be able todo the shipping and supply side as well as demoed by Google drive it self car.

    Yes robots will be able to provide supplies to factories load items on to trucks then from trucks to boats then from boats back to trucks then to stores. Scary enough the only human the item will run into is at the stores where it sold.

    We are talking all long haul truck and train drivers long term globally out of a job due to the effects of thinking machines. The human displacement is not going to stop at china boarders. China is going to be least effected by it due to reducing population. Basically china has utopia to look forward to. Everyone else has Dystopia due to poor management.

  2. Kozmcrae says:

    Dr. Loser, you should examine yourself. Your symptoms show a clear case of opticalrectalitise. That’s when the optic nerve becomes detached and re-attaches itself to the rectum, witch in turn, gives the afflicted a sh*tty outlook on life.

  3. Dr Loser says:

    “I would bet the Chinese can do better than that.”

    Exactly who do you think is manufacturing this worthless thin-client piece of garbage, Robert?

    It isn’t bolted together in some super-garage in Mountain View, you know.

    I’m entranced by Oiaohm’s dystopia of no slave labour, nosiree, just a million ex-slaves on the Chinese version of the dole. Which is, er, remind me again what the PRC policy on social security is?

  4. oiaohm says:

    NT JERKFACE really to be correct the dream I have had is a nightmare. But its becoming reality. Really the end of my dream is machines come self replicating and produce a never ending war leading to the end of all Humans including me.

    For factor production of devices like it or not humans are worthless machines are better.

    There are other forms of production that humans are good for. R&D forget trying to get a robot todo that.

    Heck there are now robots for managing pot rotations and movements for plant nurseries.

    The simple fact here I am stating reality NT JERKFACE every day people working in factories producing devices in china and other Asian countries are getting there marching orders as robots take their place in production lines. For the exact reason why I stated.

    There is a reason why there are more shoes and other fabric based items coming out of china than a few years ago. Displaced workers who use to make devices has to go somewhere. At this stage robots are not good at handling natural materials like leather. Yes the slave labour bit in china is leaving the device section.

    Remember china population is a reducing population. China is producing more needing less workers this keeps in alignment with the way there population is going. China is aiming to cut there population by at least a 1/3 of current population numbers.

    Its about time you catch up with reality basically NT JERKFACE. Reality of what is going on is not pretty.

    No more slaves because humans are not required at all is the path we are on.

  5. NT JERKFACE says:

    So OHIO goes on an misanthropic screed about why humans are worthless and should be replaced by robots but I am the asshole here?

  6. Kozmcrae says:

    I see the Microsoft Gutter Rat has moved to insulting family members. He has no leg to stand on. His name, like all Microsoft Gutter Rats, is chosen to be self demeaning. No respect for self, no respect for others. A personality bereft of any redeeming qualities. Good luck with integrating back into society when your term is done NT JERKFACE.

  7. oiaohm says:


    “I really like how your dreams of revolution involve dirt cheap ARM computers made by Chinese slave labor.”

    No my dreams will become reality very quickly. No slave labor anywhere in device production is my dream. No Slaves required.

    200 000 people is all that is required todo the work of 1.2 million slave labour when you factories run on robots. Of course with refinement even less.

    So basically any company who says the cannot compete with china based on labour is an idiot.

    The main 3 reasons why humans are Worthless to device production.

    1) we are a disgusting dirty beasts even those who we think are clean ie we are dropping skin cells and other by products everywhere. The cleaner environment a device is produced in the lower the defect rate Robots are cleaner.

    2) Next robots don’t get tired and suffer from human error.

    3) robots never need to sleep and only need to be swapped out the production line when they fail. Feeding and Sleeping humans cost production time. If you don’t do it they die on you and you have todo this far more often than robot replacements. Ie it can be months to years between robots having to be taken out the line to be serviced. Humans require too much maintaince.

    All issues lower your yield rates and generate scrap devices that have to be disposed of. Yes stopping production lines to change over staff do create some scrap. Reason why some production lines in some countries chained people to their stations even so this is not this effective because you now have the down time of the humans sleeping taking up valuable floor space.

    Humans and device production don’t work basically.

  8. pogson says:

    My wife is 5’2″. She’s from the Philippines and don’t mess with her.

    China is evolving rapidly, just as Japan did after the Second World War. At the moment they have very low wages because they are evolving rapidly from a rural/agricultural society to a manufacturing society. It took USA/Canada decades to move from manufacturing to knowledge/services. China is doing that in one decade. Wages are beginning to rise in China to the extent that a few manufacturers have moved factories to Malaysia and Viet Nam. That is one reason to recommend thin clients. Prices of PCs may be as low as they ever will be. It is a good idea to lock in current price/performance in hardware. China exported $40 billion in software and software services last year from about $1 billion in 2001 (45% per annum increase). In the first 10 months of 2011, China’s software industry has had revenue of $230 billion up 33% over 2010.

    see press release

  9. NT JERKFACE says:

    I really like how your dreams of revolution involve dirt cheap ARM computers made by Chinese slave labor.

    And what the hell is with calling your wife “the little woman”? Is she a Cambodian mail order bride that you keep around for cleaning?

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