Sunday, May 5, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
My 2009 iMac has a first-generation Core-i7 chip that has 42-nanometer circuits. I just bought a refurbished laptop with a Core-I5 that has 35-nanometer circuits, and it performs 80% as well as the desktop even though it has half as many cores.
This is an interesting website about microprocessors. I don't think that I would want to buy a processor with a 10 to 14-nanometer process when 7-nanometer processors are coming from AMD in August. I find it interesting that Apple introduced 7-nanometer chips in their phones many months before either major processor company came out with 7-nanometer processors. I also find it interesting that both the new Play Station and the new XBOX will have 7-nanometer processors from AMD.
In terms of the laws physics, it is almost impossible to get much smaller than this, although I have heard talk of a 5-nanometer chip. I also heard about a possible 1-nanometer chip using different materials, but the technology is a long way off, and I have my doubts about how well it could work.
Friday, April 26, 2019
Thursday, March 7, 2019
Friday, February 22, 2019
Saturday, January 26, 2019
I have some interest in getting an APU at some future date with the idea of building a lower cost computer. An APU is a chip that has the processor and graphics "card" on one chip, and this can save quite a bit of money over buying a seperate graphics card. For the moment, if you want the best performance, you need a separate graphics card, because you can get both better processors and better graphics cards that way.
The AMD APU that comes with the XBOX One X is fairly impressive. The processor is not fantastic, but the graphics are really good. However, you can't buy this APU and put it in a computer. The APU's that AMD released for computers in 2018 were just for low end gaming. However, I have read that AMD is going to release new APU's in 2019 and 2020.
Both Microsoft and Sony are planning on releasing next generation consoles either this year or next. Reportedly, these both will have higher performance AMD APU's, but not necessarily the same processor. I don't like the idea of buying a console that has PC hardware that you can't use as a computer. It would seem better to have the same performance in a computer, but so far AMD has not been releasing those chips to the general public.
This video gives an interesting history about how the technology has been evolving:
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Way back when I had an iPhone 4, I tried running the chess program Stockfish on it in analysis mode, and it was examining around 250,000 nodes per second, which at the time seemed to me to be pretty good for a handheld device. This was not as good as my desktop, but still a good substitute for it. Two years later when I got the iPhone 5, the speed had improved to around half a million nodes per second. Two years after that with iPhone 6+ I was impressed to reach a million nodes per second. However, I have just upgraded to the iPhone 6s+, which is a three year old phone, and the same Stockfish program on this phone is examining an amazing two million nodes per second.
Compare this to my late 2009 iMac with a quad core 2.8 ghz core-i7 processor. For its day it was a top of the line desktop computer, but today it is about average. Using one core, the Stockfish program examines around 450,000 nodes per second. If I use all 4 cores then the program sees about 1.5 million nodes per second. The iPhone 6s+ only has two cores, but it is outperforming my desktop computer by a good margin.
Since the iPhone 6s+ came out, Apple has released the iPhones 7, 8, 10, and 10s, all of which are faster than the previous generation. (The 8 and 10 are part of the same generation.) The 10s is only slightly faster than the 10, because we are reaching a point where the laws of physics won't allow them to make the circuits smaller, therefor faster. I personally wanted an iPhone 10 or an iPhone 8, because I knew that the processor on those phones kicked ass, but I didn't want to spend a fortune for a phone, so I settled for the good enough iPhone 6s+, which I got on a Black Friday sale for $300.
Speaking of kicking ass, Apple has been doing that with their processor development. No other mobile phone manufacturer comes close. Apple is using a 7 nanometer process with their latest phones and tablets. Compare that to Intel, the world's largest microprocessor manufacturer, who recently backed off of their 10 nanometer chips because of problems and instead released 14 nanometer chips. AMD, who is already kicking Intel's butt, is scheduled to release 7 nanometer chips early next year, with a whole new line of processors that undercut Intel on price.
This is an exciting time because of how much progress has been made in computer processing power. It is also impressive how much power Apple has been able to put in mobile devices. The latest iPad Pro's, which use the same processors as their latest phones, outperform many desktop computers.