How Chip Designers Are Breaking Moore’s Law

If microchips were cities, the new, industrywide strategy for making them better could be summed up in one word: sprawl. In some case, the chips inside our most powerful devices are taking up so much real estate they hardly qualify as “micro” anymore. One way engineers are making this happen is by piling microchips atop one another. It’s like urban infill, only instead of building towering new apartment blocks, the usually pancake-flat tiles of silicon inside of computers are becoming multistory, with the circuitry used for functions such as memory, power management and graphics stacked on top of each other. What’s driving this trend in chip design is a simple reality: The pressure to continue making chips faster and our devices more capable is unrelenting, and the chip industry’s ability to keep pace by shrinking transistors to eke out more performance is running into technical barriers. […]

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