Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Economics of Chip Making - cut throat market

There was a very old story I was told once about 3 chips that could be - Zilog Z80, Motorola 68000 and the pre-maturely born Intel 8086. The early release, familiar instruction set and price gave 8086 such a boost that we still have it around.
Given all the publicity about AMD - Intel rivalry it is interesting to follow what works in this arena. AMD had to split up design and manufacture, Intel might be following suit. Motorola spun off Freescale long long time ago.
Problem then as in now is the familiarity and usability of the instruction sets and the chips, the efficiency and transparecy with which silicon is exposed to the neurons. I researched some more on the new instruction set on the block, the GPGPU. I wish I could tag cloud the projects using Nvidia Cuda vs those using ATI Stream, but here is the googlebattle result , Cuda is nearly twice as much used as ATI stream.
There are some heavy-weights putting in behind Cuda, the very hot Lapack creators making MAGMA, with blessings from Mathworks and Microsoft. Microsoft itself making a GPU computing extension in Windows 7/ DX11. Not to mention GPULib from Tech-X, which has led to some very interesting experiments in remote sensing image processing. The core of all this comes down to my laptop having only an ATI Radeon and no decent GPGPU capability to play with, best of luck to AMD getting its house in order.

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