Why Moore’s Law Is Becoming Irrelevant

MIT Technology Reviews senior IT editor Tom Simonite reports that ARMs CEO, Warren East, says power-efficient chips for mobile devices (such as Apple’s A-series system-on-chips) will move into desktops, laptops, and servers.

ARM is the Cambridge, U.K. based company that licenses the energy-efficient processor designs used in many mobile devices, including Apple’s. While these chips were once considered significantly less powerful than the Intel x86 processors found in desktops, laptops, and servers Simonite says Microsoft is exploring a switch to ARMs technology for traditional computers, suggesting that ARMs technology will soon shape more than just mobile computing. Apple is also rumored to be planning an eventual shift away from x86 to A-series processors in its laptop and desktop Macs.

In the interview, Mr. East says that Moore’s Law, which predicts the rate of improvements in computing power, is becoming irrelevant, and that in future it will be more and more about efficiency, not only for mobile devices and PCs, but perhaps even more so for servers.

Asked to comment on the recent Bloomberg report that Apple is considering switching its laptops and desktops to ARM-based chips, Mr. East declined, saying you’d have to talk to Apple about that, but contends that in general there’s no intrinsic limitation in the ARM architecture that prevents it from being at the high end of performance, and noted that the ARM microprocessor was never designed for mobile in the first place, but ran a computer with a Windows-type operating system called RISC-OS before Microsoft ever had Windows, and it’s perfectly capable of supporting keyboards and mice.

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