Moore's Law and Intel Mark Milestones in Tech History

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2015-05-15

Fifty years ago, Gordon Moore, an engineer with Fairchild Semiconductor, predicted in an electronics trade magazine that the number of transistors in a semiconductor would double every year, which would mean more powerful and less costly chips. That prediction became known as Moore's Law, and has fueled processor development for five decades and—according to a now-86-year-old Moore—will continue to do so at least for another five to 10 years as Intel pushes from 14-nanometer chips to 10nm, 7nm and beyond. In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce left Fairchild to create another processor company, Intel, the driving force behind Moore's Law as it became the world's largest chip maker. Moore's Law—which was amended 10 years later—helped usher in the PC era, and later the development of such devices as smartphones, tablets and wearable computers. At a recent event celebrating Moore and the 50th anniversary of Moore's Law, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the performance of Intel chips over that time has improved 3,500 times, while energy efficiency has increased by a factor of 90,000. At the same time, chips are coming in at a 60,000th of the cost, he said. By comparison, with the same gains, a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle would now hit speeds of 300,000 mph, get 2 million miles per gallon and cost 4 cents, Krzanich said. This eWEEK slide show looks at some of the highlights over nearly 50 years at Intel.


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