Power leakage puts Moore's Law in jeopardy

— 4:33 AM on December 12, 2002

Is the end in sight for Moore's Law? Intel's Andrew Grove thinks so. EE Times has a story on a recent address Grove gave that suggests that power consumption could kill off Moore's Law by the end of the decade:

While high-k dielectrics and clever circuit design may help keep the industry on its traditional curve of doubling device densities every two to three years, those solutions are likely to run out of steam by the end of this decade. Then, designers may have to make more efficient use of the number of transistors that a certain power budget may support.
The Inquirer's coverage of the address elaborates on just why power consumption will be such a big problem:
As chips become more powerful and draw more power, leakage tends to increase. The industry is used to power leakage rates of up to fifteen per cent, but chips constructed of increasing numbers of transistors can suffer power leakage of up to 40 per cent said Grove. In chips made up of a billion transistors may leak between 60 and 70 Watts of power, he warned. The power is largely dissipated as heat causing cooling problems for powerful chips.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before something caught up with Moore's Law, but part of me wonders if we won't have power leakage licked by the end of the decade. Only time will tell, I guess.
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