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Why is processor nanometer size important?

Smaller Dies and More Processor Cores

Learn the answer to how we fit more processor cores in your CPU.

Episode #4-34 released on May 10, 2014

Technology is an ever advancing form of science that gets cheaper and smaller with time. From the time I was a kid to today, the processor speed, number of cores, and cache size has exploded. Technology is accelerating to a point where all my previous electronics combined processing power is less than any of my cellphones, tablets, computers, etc...

How is it possible that today's processors are faster than our previous electronics?

Well this has to do with the size of the die for each processor. Older processors from my youth contained a single core, and the die size was 1 μm, a micrometer in size. That is huge compared to today's standard. In the next month, Intel will be releasing the new Haswell processor line which features a die size of 14nm.

What does having a smaller die size benefit us?

The smaller the die size, the more processing cores a given processor can potentionally have. The more cores, the more processes can be executed at the same time. The more processes are executed, the faster the task is achieved.

Does the size of the die affect clockspeed and performance?

Yes, however, not in a direct way. Having a smaller die means you can have more cores running at the same clockspeed as a single processor, but having more cores means that more commands can be executed at the same time, making the multicore processor faster than a single core processor, and this, even if the single core processor has a faster clockspeed. Determining performance from clock speed is technically wrong. AMD explains it correctly by indicating the number of possible transactions per cycle. While overclocking the cores will effectively raise the number of possible transactions per cycle possible, the clockrate is independant of the total number of processor transations. You could have a slower clockspeed, with a higher transaction rate performing better than a faster clockspeed processor. Adding more cores to the processor makes the number of possible transactions greater.

In conclusion, why is the processor nanometer size important? The die size is reduced allowing for more processor cores to be added to the die, effectively multiplying by the number of cores the number of processor transactions possible per cycle, increasing the overall speed of completion of any given task given to the processor, without the need for extremely high clockspeeds that have very little to do with real performance.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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