Nvidia: Moore’s law will die without GPUs

Tagged: gpu, Moore's Law, nvidia, Computer Hardware, Technology
Source: THINQ.co.uk - Read the full article
Posted: 4 years 29 weeks ago

Nvidia’s chief scientist, Bill Dally, has warned that the long-established Moore’s Law is in danger of joining phlogiston theory on the list of superseded laws, unless the CPU business embraces parallel processing on a much broader scale.

In a column for Forbes, Dally claimed that the CPU business "now faces a serious choice between innovation and stagnation.” According to Dally, it’s now time for the likes of Intel and AMD to start the push towards parallel processing, rather than clinging to the legacy of single-threaded processing.  

Of course, Intel could counter this with its big push towards multi-core CPUs with two, four and now six cores on desktop CPUs, but Dally says that this is nowhere near enough to keep Moore’s Law alive. In fact, he says this approach is "analogous to trying to build an airplane by putting wings on a train."

Back in 1965, Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors on a processor would double every year, and later revised this to every 18 months. It’s a rule that’s held true for several decades, with the increasing transistor-count also resulting in faster performance in the old days when single-core CPUs were judged primarily on their clock speed.  

However, with the size of transistors gradually approaching the atomic level, it’s clear that something has to change if the computing industry is going to stay alive. Dally points out that instead of inefficiently adding more transistors to an out-dated processing model, Moore’s Law could be saved by adding more transistors to a highly-parallel system such as Nvidia’s CUDA architecture.  

Dally points out that computers based on many smaller cores processing in parallel respond much more efficiently to the addition of more transistors. In these cases, says Dally, "doubling the number of processors causes many programs to go twice as fast. In contrast, doubling the number of transistors in a serial CPU results in a very modest increase in performance, at a tremendous expense in energy."

Power consumption is another case in point, and Dally notes that the power-scaling predicted by Moore, where the power consumption decreases in line with the transistor count, has now stopped. He has a point; we might have six cores rather than four at the top end, but Intel’s flagship chip consistently has a maximum TDP of 130W in each generation.  

"Every three years we can increase the number of transistors (and cores) by a factor of four," says Dally. "By running each core slightly slower, and hence more efficiently, we can more than triple performance at the same total power."

Of course, Bill Dally would say that. He is, after all, the chief scientist of Nvidia; a company with no x86 licence whose primary business is based on GPUs with multiple stream processors. That said, he’s right to say that parallelism is undoubtedly the way of the future.

Interestingly, though, only one company has the technology and IP needed to integrate a highly parallel GPU into a CPU... and that’s AMD.

 

Comments

massau
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just a real question how can we ever say that mores law is right i mean k dubbel the speed a before but it never felt so much faster after 2 years we can say dubbel the speed teoretical but if we want it to become real than we need software optimal  for multie cores i thank that most of the people has a dual core now so if we get software that can run optimal on multie cores up to 8 or 16 than we will have good software just look compare linux to microsoft, linux is faster but it isn't so welknown and used, microsoft wants to use a new base but never switched to it but they have tons of money to make a os that's at least twice as fast than win 7

GraysonPeddie
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It's because the evolution of hardware will stagnant if millions don't switch to faster computers with better hardware components. *devil grin*

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massau
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no no you don't get mine meaning i just want to say that software is getting heavier to do the same i mean you could write a text in xp and it would go faster than writing it in win 7 its just that win 7 is better written for 4 core k i accept that but why doesn't Microsoft try to write an os that requires the same or less than xp  but whit an optimal part for multi threating and multi cores. i think that even games could be written lighter and give better graphics and also take the full advantage of the future 8 + cores.

GraysonPeddie
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massau wrote:

eum the next architecture of amd and intel will be cpu+gpu in one block amd wanted to do this in 2009 but they lengthened the time and will now come whit an 8 core whit gpu intel want to do the same but whit an other architecture. but why do we always want the hardware to go faster? can't we just write the software better so we will have more performance whit less hardware just look winxp = 256mb of ram and 256mhz core win 7 needs 1gig of ram and 1ghz cpu i mean come on write it better and cut the eyecandy so we can do more things faster and almost all the pc's have the hdd as a bottleneck why not make ssd cheaper so we have better pc ?

Ummm... Windows XP requires about 64MB of RAM minimum with the recommended memory of 128MB of RAM. For CPU, you'll need a Pentium II 233MHz, but 300MHz as a recommended processor speed. There's no such thing as 256MHz CPU. There's 150MHz, 166MHz, 200MHz, 233MHz, 266MHz, 300MHz, 333MHz, etc.

If you want to stay at Pentium II 233MHz and use Windows XP, that's totally up to you. No one is forcing you to move up to a faster CPU. But try to load Windows XP in an Intel 486DX 66MHz and report back to me. I'll guarantee that you will have performance problems with that slow CPU.

Update: Sorry, I should have quoted his post but I thought my reply directs to him.

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Andreas Hofer
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Interesting article however there are some issues to address. First of all Moore's Law has been broken a long time ago when they started to port to multi-core in the first place. Now you could argue that a multi-core CPU is one processor and that is what Intel & others did. The problem is that Moore's Law is talking about transistors per processing unit. And this is the problem: To argue that it is only one processing unit, it needs to act like one but on modern multi-core platforms you see that each core comes with it's own instructions, cache and bus and therefore can operate different tasks without the need to work together so in fact they are individual processing units and so the law does no longer apply. And of course the matter of power consumption. Intel's current platform does need about 65-90W when SpeedStep is enabled and 135W at full load on the standard models and 160W on the high-end ones. AMD processors use about the same amount of energy but ship with 8 and 12 cores.

About the train thing: Would make more sense to say it's like putting more and more engines on the plane so it could carry heavier cargo while sharing the same amount of fuel.

Also you cannot compare Nvidia GPU's to CPU's. Even when considering the amount of data processed by the new GTX models, they drain up to 400W per hour and also keep in mind that the faster your GPU is the more your CPU has to work because otherwise the raw-data would not be send in time and this would cause a dramatic decrease in performance. One other thing is that GPU's are highly specialized units that work one operation at a time. Those of you that have or had an original MS Xbox and ran Linux on it (I know the US Federal Police will hunt you down etc. stuff - not living in the US) might have experienced it to be sluggish. This is because the 700MHz CPU is like the GPU's, single-threaded. I'm sure if you would run XP on a graphics card it would run fine until you open a web-browser and suddenly every click would have to wait in line before being executed.

Anonymous

And again NVIDIA FAIL, AMD WIN. ZING!

massau
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eum the next architecture of amd and intel will be cpu+gpu in one block amd wanted to do this in 2009 but they lengthened the time and will now come whit an 8 core whit gpu intel want to do the same but whit an other architecture. but why do we always want the hardware to go faster? can't we just write the software better so we will have more performance whit less hardware just look winxp = 256mb of ram and 256mhz core win 7 needs 1gig of ram and 1ghz cpu i mean come on write it better and cut the eyecandy so we can do more things faster and almost all the pc's have the hdd as a bottleneck why not make ssd cheaper so we have better pc ?

GraysonPeddie
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Build an airplane by putting wings in a train? I fail to see the logic when you use an analogy. What about building very big engines? I don't think a very big engine can make a train go faster, can't they?

Can you please give me more details about how you could build an airplane by putting wings to a train? This does not make any sense at all.

HTPC: AMD Athlon X2 4050e CPU with 780G ATX motherboard running Windows 8 DP (4GB) and Ubuntu; Server: AMD AII X2 240e CPU with 880G-based ATX motherboard running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS (8GB)

2 pairs of Insignia NS-B2111s (front/rear), Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker, and 12" Velodyne Sub

Just ordered HP Pavilion dv7-6165us from QVC. Will have it by next Friday.