Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Chip Carl Sagan Would Be Proud Of

Remember the great astronomer Carl Sagan? He had a famous catch phrase describing the enormity of the universe, talking about "billions and billions" of objects.

Well, the semiconductor world has our first giga-transitor chip as shown in AnandTech: NVIDIA's 1.4 Billion Transistor GPU: GT200 Arrives as the GeForce GTX 280 & 260. Check out the article's die shot, which compares the GT200 GPU next to an Intel Penryn CPU. What a tour de force! Imagine all the EDA tools that chip must have broken, leaving vendors quaking in their shoes. :-)

In reading up on Carl Sagan,

  • I was reminded of the petty and very amusing feud between Sagan and Apple Computer.
  • I learned that "the indefinite and fictitious number Sagan has arisen in popular culture to indicate a count greater than 4 billion." Thanks to Moore's Law, we'll see the first "Sagan-chip" before you know it.


John said...

Great post, John!

I do remember "billions and billions" from "Cosmos". I never heard about the little conflict with Apple, though. Very funny - I went to the Wikipedia entry, and it said that there was something missing: something on "Personality". I think that lawsuit speaks volumes about his personality, don't you?

Anyway - a billion transistors? Amazing! I'd love to hear the DFT story on that one. Are they writing a paper? How about a DFT Digest exclusive... :-D


Chris said...

It's good to see that the 3dfx culture of creating perilously cumbrous design projects is alive and well inside NVIDIA. :)

nick said...

Hi John,
GTX 280 is as big as the cosmos.

There is an amazing amount of replication/similarity in the units inside the GTX layout.

The universe would have been a boring with such regularity in its structure :)