Thing About Moore’s Law

For those who don’t know what Moore’s Law is – He was Gordon E. Moore who was a co-founder of Intel, who in 1965 predicted that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year since the invention of the integrated circuit back in 1958 and that in 1965 he predicted it would continue for 10 more years. This prediction became known as Moore’s Law.

You can read more about it at Wikipedia  and about the fact that the newest chips are down to 25nm – check out www.gizmag.com  for more on this.

The way we see this, and to try and put it into an understandable piece of text, is that the scientists and chip manufacturers have managed to squeeze chip technology so small that the spaces between the elements making up the chips, is measured in nanometers which is effectively numbers of atoms. Here’s the important bit of this though – they have managed to do this at a point where the output (chips) are at a price where the general public can afford to buy it. We get more for less cost.

This advance in technology has allowed virtually every aspect of our lives to be affected in technological advances which only 20 or 30 years ago may have seemed science fiction.

Mobile phones, digital cameras and pretty much all gadgets have all been affected by the fact that more can fit into less that costs less. The machines used to create this technology (lithographic devices) cost millions of pounds and are used to produce the integrated circuits, but the output they produce are then used in great demand in all technology around us.

There is a theory though, that this technology is reaching it’s limit. Many believe that going smaller than 22nm is beyond the capabilities of this technique to produce circuits using silicon.

The holy grail is to find either a different material or a different way of improving and shrinking the chips.

How does this affect SSD? Well the drives use NAND Flash to store data. The latest crop of SSD is now using 25nm chips. This will allow the drives to increase in size, without affecting the price using the same controller that was used in their previous drives. Therefore allowing bigger and faster drives for less cost (relatively speaking).

Controller design is the expensive part of SSD design, and therefore many drives use the same controller. Intel even moved away from using their own controller to improve their 500 series drives with a Marvell controller. This is the part of the drive that reads and writes to the NAND Flash.

Who knows what will happen but drives will get faster and bigger, much the same as every other aspect of technology. It’s an exciting time for PC storage technology. Please get in touch if any of this is unclear or you want to discuss any of it.

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