Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

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Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 3:50 pm

Hello you gentlemen,

I hope this is the right forum for something like this - basically my aim is to open a discussion of where you might see mainstream hardware in 2-4 years, from CPU's to graphics cards to RAM, etc. What kind of hardware do you think will be around by then? Will you buy it? Rumors/vaporware mentions and even potential system builds are especially welcome in this discussion.

My thoughts -

> RAM: DDR4 should be out by then.
> CPU: Perhaps a Skylake build or see what cheap DDR4 8+ core offering AMD has at the time, assuming they are still around. <=25W TDP's to keep the passively cooled options open, and hopefully 50-100% more IPC than current CPU's.
> GTX Titan performance should be commonplace by this time, we may see the same performance in sub-150W TDP's and available in the sub-$200 market. Perhaps even more powerful than the Titan, in fact. Well, I'd want one of these. Passively cooled option would be pretty nice, but not the end of the world without it.
> Power Supply: Hopefully they have little 250W platinum fanless power supplies by then, all power supplies modular (goodness that day needs to come), and less than $100 for it.
> Case: an ITX case that is built for passive cooling and can fit a dual slot GPU.
> Motherboard: I'd like to still see motherboards without soldered on CPU's and RAM. That's all I ask for.
> Optical Drive: No way.
> Operating System: Windows surely can't last much longer in the collision course it's currently on. Perhaps by then some rich guy purchased the source code for Windows and made it open-sourced so that something like this can be possible. If Windows is still proprietary and ubiquitous, I only ask that they drop the price down to about $25 or at least make it worth the asking price by bundling in some great free stuff like games or Windows Live credits.
> Storage: I want a good endurance 1TB SSD for less than $200.

What would you guys envision for 2-4 years from now?
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 3:59 pm

Mainstream PCs available two years from now will still be less capable for gaming graphics than present-day enthusiast systems. I've been gaming at 2560x1600 for 6½ years. The mainstream still hasn't caught up. According to the latest steam survey, less than 1.4% of steam users had a resolution higher than 1920x1200.

P.S.: We're not all going to be driving flying cars then, either. :P
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 5:21 pm

My predictions (worth exactly what you paid for them):

Non-business, non-gaming users will have largely moved off of PCs to mobile devices, continuing the trend that is already well underway. PC market will split, with mainstream business-oriented desktops being the majority of sales and workstation/enthusiast systems becoming a small (and shrinking) niche market.

Triple or quad channel DDR4 will be the norm for all but low-end systems. Several DRAM chip makers will have filed for bankruptcy and/or been acquired by larger rivals, as a result of guessing badly on the timing of the transition from DDR3 to DDR4.

Intel's upward march of CPU performance will continue, but at a slower pace due to lack of competition.

AMD will still have a small presence in the server (and possibly the low-end desktop) market, but AMD-based enthusiast systems -- if they exist at all -- will be limited to builds based on re-purposed server platforms, and will be cost-effective only for highly parallel workloads, due to continued mediocre single-thread performance. They will have sold off the GPU division to raise cash (licensing back the tech needed for their APUs), in a last ditch attempt to save their CPU business. Their foray into ARM (and the Seamicro acquisition) will putter along without ever quite achieving critical mass, doing well enough to ensure their continued existence, but never quite pushing them over the line into sustainable profitability.

GPU performance will continue its upward trend, bringing us ever closer (but still not quite reaching) the Holy Grail of Hollywood-quality effects in real-time. Most PC games won't take advantage of the full GPU capabilities anyway, as many will continue to be ports of console titles. High-performance scientific computing will be almost entirely GPU-compute based.

SSDs will dominate the storage market. Mechanical hard drives will still be around, but used primarily in business and data center applications. Home use of mechanical drives will be mostly limited to NAS and media center type applications (which will experience a surge in popularity when someone finally finds the critical hole in Blu-Ray DRM and facilitates easy ripping of Blu-Ray titles).

The mechanical keyboard craze will have plateaued, with the current bumper crop of "me too" vendors of Cherry-based 'boards whittled back to a handful. Popularity of mechanicals will remain above where it was 5 years ago, but there won't be as many choices as there are now.

The discrete sound card market will effectively continue to be stuck back in 2002, with fewer and fewer enthusiasts opting to upgrade from their motherboard on-board audio. Creative, no longer able to make a profit from hardware sales, will resort to a pure patent trolling business model. Asus will opt to exit the discrete sound card market rather than litigate.

VIA will continue to produce SFF hardware that almost nobody cares about, and Matrox will have unsuccessfully tried (yet again) to break back into the mainstream market with a graphics-related peripheral along the lines of their TripleHead 2 Go device from a few years back.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 5:26 pm

Hardware in 2-4 years?

Lowe's, Aubuchon, and Ace. Home Depot is circling the drain.

Oh, and I agree with the brewmeister, and I'll still use a Model M.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 05, 2013 6:08 pm

I anticipate that CPU, GPU and storage technology will focus less on raw performance--which has been at the speed limit already for about three years--and more on features like energy efficiency and pulling things traditionally found in discrete components onto the CPU/mobo. It will also be a smaller market with more focused products due to low demand for new systems. AMD will still exist but as a graphics and ARM solutions provider, possibly with a small boutique CPU line for diehard fans. Intel will cut back x86 R&D significantly after attempting to use the power vacuum to charge extortionate prices like the good old days only to discover that thanks to mobile tech nobody really cares anymore.

Gaming system requirements will be specced to the PS4 and new Xbox so current technology will be about as effective in four years as it is now. At least one more major game publisher, and another by 2020, will collapse under their own weight as console kiddies move away from the traditional cash cows in favor of mobile tech or The Next Big Thing. The surviving pubs will subsequently focus on mobile or TNBT leaving PC gaming in the hands of crowdfunded indie studios whose budgets only have room for circa 2010 graphics. But nobody will really mind this because they'll start to see how good circa 2010 graphics can actually be when the developer is Doing It Right and not merely phoning in another formulaic big-budget FPS.

Microsoft will still be around but it's too early to know if they will still be the dominant player; much depends on the next six months. Business use dies hard and that's MS's primary customer base, though if they continue to try to pretend they're Apple there could be some legitmate Linux infrastructure popping up (this partly also depends on whether the aforementioned crowdfunds decide to get political and whether VMware or Wine scares up some legit hardware acceleration). The more likely outcome is there will be a shareholder revolt later this year or early next, a *lot* of people including Ballmer get canned and the company splits into a business (PC) OS group and a console/mobile/whatever else group, and Windows 9 does to 8 what 7 did to Vista and it's back to business as usual. It's also possible that some disaffected MS and Linux engineers will team up to make a new OS that strives to correct the problems of the other two, though even if it happens it would be 10+ years before it became dominant. Enterprise land is just now starting to move away from Win XP, to give some perspective on timeframe.

Public infatuation with "the cloud" will evaporate overnight after a coordinated attack on the Internet backbone leads to widespread outages and vast swaths of compromised data. Offline storage and "community area networks" providing basic information and services behind the village firewall will become more of a thing. The Internet will survive but it will lose its ubiquity and become just one of many communication protocols in the ongoing balkanization of platforms, market segments and user scenarios. Apple will fade back to irrelevance, WinPhone will be a European thing, and Android will split into competing forks just like Linux did. The era of one box to rule them all has already ended.

KB, mouse, monitor, case, and other such peripheral technology hasn't changed much in ten years but the customization options afforded by 3D printing--the 2010s' weapon of mass disruption--will change how people get them and lead to a few surviving OEMs building hardware kits to be customized by boutiques and tech-savvy DIYs. The mouse you get in 2016 will be as much a work of art and personal expression as an I/O device.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 2:39 am

So basically shadowrun, I guess we will have to wait and see if it happens. Myself, I dont see anything seriously changing in the computer market over the next several years. Intel has been scaling back on its products as there is no real competion from AMD anymore. Video cards will continue to improve, but slowly. The process shrinks will finally hit the wall, and they will have to work out a new type of replacement for silicon.

I just seriously doubt there will be any big changes whatsoever, a computer from 4 years from now will still be pretty much the same as what we have.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 4:28 am

I strongly disagree with the 50-100% more IPC on the CPU side.
2-4 years is just one or two product cycles, and the pace of new hardware is definitely slowing down especially as manufacturers are starting to run into the physical limits of silicone.

Most likely case we'll be at Haswell's die shrink, best case we might see a just-released Skylake. My guess is something more like 20-25% more IPC than current products, but hopefully also at 25% less power if everyone gets their 14nm processes sorted out.

For GPUs, Titan performance still isn't going to be mainstream ($200), but hopefully it'll be available at about $500.

My big hope is that research into graphene transistors will have made good progress, and when that genie comes out of the bottle it'll be a huge performance arms race again. Probably won't be for another 10-15 years though, but it'll be big when it eventually does come.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 4:38 am

ReRAM, OLED, and that's about all I care about.

I'm celebrating April 8th 2014 is all I know.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 4:59 am

More evolutionary changes on current platforms, unless something ground-breaking comes around and is economically feasible.

Solid-state media will finally be inside mainstream systems. SSD Express makes discrete SSD cards painless and the technology has proven itself enough that skeptical enterprise types will jump onto the bandwagon. HDDs are only used for bulk data storage.

IMHO, most of the upcoming changes in general computing are going to coming from the software end. Hardware is already powerful for non-specialized and non-professional needs.

Next-generation gaming consoles will just make 1080p gaming commonplace, nothing more.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 9:07 am

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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Mon May 06, 2013 10:59 am

My 2 cents:

1. Most of the market will consist of SoCs with CPU and GPU integrated on the same chip. Discrete GPUs will continue to be available but form very small part of the market.

2. Unified memory between CPU and GPU will be the trend on the mentioned SoCs, enabling new applications and new graphics techniques. AMD and Intel already have this working even in current-gen chips. Kaveri is bringing the next step in unified memory and Nvidia mentioned unified memory for Tegra 6. ARM, Qualcomm etc will also join the party.

3. On-package high-bandwidth memory solutions will be very common.

4. Hybrid memory cube will be generally available, though at a price premium and thus limited to higher end systems.

5. There will be at least a few supercomputers with heterogeneous SoCs instead of opting for discrete GPUs.

6. Industry will have signficant problems beyond 14nm.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 1:18 pm

jihadjoe wrote:I strongly disagree with the 50-100% more IPC on the CPU side.
2-4 years is just one or two product cycles, and the pace of new hardware is definitely slowing down especially as manufacturers are starting to run into the physical limits of silicone.

50% may be possible over 4 years if Intel release a new platform every 12 months as a 10% gain per update compounded gets close to 50%.
But that’s a best case scenario and 100% is pie in the sky.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 1:46 pm

smilingcrow wrote:
jihadjoe wrote:I strongly disagree with the 50-100% more IPC on the CPU side.
2-4 years is just one or two product cycles, and the pace of new hardware is definitely slowing down especially as manufacturers are starting to run into the physical limits of silicone.

50% may be possible over 4 years if Intel release a new platform every 12 months as a 10% gain per update compounded gets close to 50%.
But that’s a best case scenario and 100% is pie in the sky.

With AMD falling off the pace quite badly, Intel has very little incentive to push the envelope. Pushing the envelope is expensive and risky.

I expect the focus going forward to be on more parallelism and lower power consumption. IMO, single-core IPC is not likely to get a substantial boost unless we're looking further out (10+ years).

Oh, and pet peeve (@jihadjoe)... it's "silicon" not "silicone". Silicon (element #14 in the periodic table) is the stuff computer chips are made of; silicone (a rubbery compound consisting of of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen) is the stuff of bathtub caulk and fake boobs.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 3:59 pm

just brew it! wrote:Oh, and pet peeve (@jihadjoe)... it's "silicon" not "silicone". Silicon (element #14 in the periodic table) is the stuff computer chips are made of; silicone (a rubbery compound consisting of of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen) is the stuff of bathtub caulk and fake boobs.
This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine too. My little sister keeps insisting she wants to get silicon breast implants. I keep telling her they'll be hard and fake-looking, but she doesn't believe me ...
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 8:07 pm

Hybrid memory cube. :)
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 10:54 pm

Waco wrote:Hybrid memory cube. :)


Yeah sounds like the holographic memory that they have been talking about for years. I remember hearing about it years ago and IBM had thrown huge piles of money at it and had some prototypes. Chances are 10+ years later and still nothing, it probably has a lot of serious issues they haven't been able to overcome. Same with OLEDs, they have been talking about those for years, but only recently have they been able to come out with them with a lifespan measured in more than a few days before failing.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 3:15 am

Starfalcon wrote:Yeah sounds like the holographic memory that they have been talking about for years. I remember hearing about it years ago and IBM had thrown huge piles of money at it and had some prototypes. Chances are 10+ years later and still nothing, it probably has a lot of serious issues they haven't been able to overcome. Same with OLEDs, they have been talking about those for years, but only recently have they been able to come out with them with a lifespan measured in more than a few days before failing.

That's not really true considering AMOLED is heavily used in smaller devices. And larger OLED TVs have been available a few years now.

I'd be surprised if we didn't see them in mass production next year. We'll see I suppose.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 5:15 am

I don't know. Intel has to keep pushing in order to win over the smartphone/tablet market. That means continuing to push for process improvements which will benefit the desktop market as well as the mobile market. So they may not be pushing the envelope of performance to get better desktop performance but die shrinks can't help but improve performance for the desktop. So we may get that 50% improvement in the next 4 years.

Though I'm not sure what really needs that much performance in the general marketplace. Even games probably don't really need that sort of performance improvement if they were well written to take advantage of the multiple cores available as well as the GPU power available.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 8:12 am

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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 10:49 am

Most progress will be made on the smartphone front. The smartphone ecosystem is like the PC ecosystem several years back - rapidly growing, changing, expanding, something new coming out every now and then. Tablets will not be killed off by detachable laptops, because Windows just sucks for that usage case. Tablets are closely tied to the smartphones and will grow along with them.

Techreport will become a smartphone/tablet site. The mobile section will no longer focus on smartphones/tablets, but stuff like Google Glass and its competitors. (heh)

The PC system will be comparatively boring.
Intel will get lazy and their prices will reflect it. Meanwhile their graphics will eventually get faster than AMD's. They'll start thinking about getting into discrete graphics.
Apple will lose its way. They already are at the moment.
Samsung will not be successful at trying to switch Android users to Tizen.
AMD... I really hope they come up with something new, but I don't think I can say anything accurate at this point. Right now is a very important time for them. APUs are not doing a very good job of keeping people from switching to Intel, and their graphics performance advantage is diminishing.
nVidia... will be in trouble soon unless they can get their fingers in another pie.
Sound will continue to be a non-issue, nobody cares right now, and there is nothing to make people care more in the future.
Storage... some big changes expected. In 2-4 years SSDs will be well entrenched, but then something different should be emerging around then, memristors should be popping up in products then. I've heard that memristors enable incredible things like data being operated directly upon instead of having to be moved to a processing unit. This will also shake up the RAM industry.
Less progress will be made the performance front than the tangible stuff, i.e. mostly displays.

Meanwhile I will have really lost interest in PCs by then. A Radeon 7950 didn't make a big enough difference over my GTX470 to justify its 300EUR price tag. I will buy new peripherals but probably not new hardware, and probably move on to lower level stuff like microcontrollers.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 12:40 pm

Crayon, I feel your pain. The thought of needing to buy a whole new rig to upgrade anything at this point and not getting any noticeable gains in performance is disheartening. I can only hope that some really great games will come out and we will have affordable hardware to play them. I have played all the games that come with the 7950 bundle, and while the graphics for many of them are amazing, the controls are awful. Maybe I should invest in a gaming controller designed for PC.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 12:48 pm

Star Brood wrote: Maybe I should invest in a gaming controller designed for PC.
$40 + Free shipping.
http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Xbox-Wi ... 004QRKWKQ/
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 1:06 pm

auxy wrote:
just brew it! wrote:Oh, and pet peeve (@jihadjoe)... it's "silicon" not "silicone". Silicon (element #14 in the periodic table) is the stuff computer chips are made of; silicone (a rubbery compound consisting of of silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen) is the stuff of bathtub caulk and fake boobs.

This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine too. My little sister keeps insisting she wants to get silicon breast implants. I keep telling her they'll be hard and fake-looking, but she doesn't believe me ...

Well, it depends on what sort of implants she wants: http://xkcd.com/996/ (not the comic itself, you need to read the mouse-over text)
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 1:12 pm

Starfalcon wrote:
Waco wrote:Hybrid memory cube. :)


Yeah sounds like the holographic memory that they have been talking about for years. I remember hearing about it years ago and IBM had thrown huge piles of money at it and had some prototypes. Chances are 10+ years later and still nothing, it probably has a lot of serious issues they haven't been able to overcome. Same with OLEDs, they have been talking about those for years, but only recently have they been able to come out with them with a lifespan measured in more than a few days before failing.

Except that it's already in pre-production status...so I have the feeling we'll see it on the market in the next year or two.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 1:22 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Star Brood wrote: Maybe I should invest in a gaming controller designed for PC.
$40 + Free shipping.
http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Xbox-Wi ... 004QRKWKQ/


I have actually been looking for one since I wrote that comment (the most obvious things are always right in front of my eyes, I just want to overcomplicate it). Which would you recommend for ergonomics - the XBox style or the PS3 style like this Logitech?:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6826104402
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 1:31 pm

Waco wrote:
Starfalcon wrote:
Waco wrote:Hybrid memory cube. :)

Yeah sounds like the holographic memory that they have been talking about for years. I remember hearing about it years ago and IBM had thrown huge piles of money at it and had some prototypes. Chances are 10+ years later and still nothing, it probably has a lot of serious issues they haven't been able to overcome. Same with OLEDs, they have been talking about those for years, but only recently have they been able to come out with them with a lifespan measured in more than a few days before failing.

Except that it's already in pre-production status...so I have the feeling we'll see it on the market in the next year or two.

A lot of storage technologies make it to pre-production (or even production) status, without ever succeeding as a mainstream product. Remember bubble memory? Magneto-optical discs? Optical tape? If you've been around long enough you might remember the hype associated with them, but they have not had a lasting impact.

Cost, capacity, bandwidth, latency, reliability, ease-of-use: carefully balance all of those factors and you've got a chance of succeeding as a mainstream tech. Excel at one or more of them (even if you suck at the rest), and you *might* have a chance as a niche tech. Otherwise, you're just one more roadkill on the tech industry highway.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 2:20 pm

just brew it! wrote:A lot of storage technologies make it to pre-production (or even production) status, without ever succeeding as a mainstream product. Remember bubble memory? Magneto-optical discs? Optical tape? If you've been around long enough you might remember the hype associated with them, but they have not had a lasting impact.

Cost, capacity, bandwidth, latency, reliability, ease-of-use: carefully balance all of those factors and you've got a chance of succeeding as a mainstream tech. Excel at one or more of them (even if you suck at the rest), and you *might* have a chance as a niche tech. Otherwise, you're just one more roadkill on the tech industry highway.

I don't think this will be a passing fad - IIRC it already has a JEDEC spec and is near full production status.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 4:21 pm

Desktop (and server) RAMBUS memory was a JEDEC spec too. Even made it into volume production. And yet, it was a "passing fad".

Edit: Oops, my bad. They were a JEDEC member for a while, but AFAICT RDRAM was never officially adopted by JEDEC. It did make it into volume production though.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 4:36 pm

high speed, low power, high density memory a passing fad ?

This is the answer to many design. From server to desktop and mobile.

Samsung, Micron, IBM, ARM are all behind this next step in memory design. Being made possible by TSV fabrication.
And TSV is not a pie in the sky dream with the HMC 1.0 spec finalized.
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Re: Where do You See Hardware in 2-4 years?

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 4:49 pm

sschaem wrote:high speed, low power, high density memory a passing fad ?

This is the answer to many design. From server to desktop and mobile.

Samsung, Micron, IBM, ARM are all behind this next step in memory design. Being made possible by TSV fabrication.
And TSV is not a pie in the sky dream with the HMC 1.0 spec finalized.

This. :)
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