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Why cant cpu clockspeeds get any faster?

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September 16, 2006 2:28:01 AM

Why cant cpu clockspeeds get any faster?

And how fast does electricity travel on a modern motherboard (sending and the other end recive the signal)

More about : cpu clockspeeds faster

September 16, 2006 2:38:58 AM

Quote:
Why cant cpu clockspeeds get any faster?

And how fast does electricity travel on a modern motherboard (sending and the other end recive the signal)

Who said clock speedscan't get faster? If you're talking about the Intel Prescott, the reason they topped out at 3.8GHz was due to heat. A high operating voltage, combined with transistor leakage caused the chips to run too hot. In general, heat is the main enemy of clock speed. However, as processors continue to shrink and improve in design, clock speeds will increase again.

And for your electricity question, I believe that it travels in terms of nanoseconds. (Billionths of a Second)
September 16, 2006 2:41:00 AM

why cant they make a cpu with core 2 duo archetecture but single core and higher clock speeds?
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September 16, 2006 2:50:16 AM

In reality, they could - the overclocking success stories shared by members of this forum show that the Core 2 Duo has a lot of potential.

They will put out a "Core 2 Solo" next year based on the Conroe-L core. However, it will not operate as fast as the high end Conroes will. Why? It's not technical restrictions, it's marketing. Putting out a high-clocked Core 2 Solo might put it in competition with their flagship product, the Core 2 Duo (Though the fact that the Duo is dual-core somewhat voids this issue, but not entirely) . Intel is no stranger to accidentally cannibalizing sales of their high-end products - this happened back when Intel released the Mendocino Celeron.

In addition to market, the industry is experiencing a mass-migration to dual core. Putting out a high-end single core would be a bit backwards.
September 16, 2006 3:02:49 AM

well yea 2 cores are better than one but i dont even know what to do with with 4 cores is there were any.

hows hyperthreading, are they gonna forget it from the core 2 duo?
September 16, 2006 3:06:25 AM

as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond
or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.
September 16, 2006 3:09:18 AM

Hyperthreading was just a stand-in solution for Intel until they released the Pentium D.

Since Intel has true dual-cores now, hyperthreading is no longer needed. Although, it could surface on budget chips if Intel really needed it. Hyperthreading is dead on dual-core CPUs; for single-cores, it might still serve a purpopse, but otherwise, its dead.
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September 16, 2006 3:26:52 AM

Quote:

And how fast does electricity travel on a modern motherboard (sending and the other end recive the signal)


Basically speaking, electricty travels at the speed of light or very, very close to it since an electron has mass.

If the speed of light is too slow, then I would love to see your specifications to create a warp field generator so that objects can travel faster than the speed of light within a bubble of normal space/time.
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September 16, 2006 3:33:35 AM

Quote:
why cant they make a cpu with core 2 duo archetecture but single core and higher clock speeds?


Intel will be release a single core version of the Core 2 Duo CPU. The codename is Millville. It will have an L2 cache of 1MB which is half that of the Allendale core. Allendale is a dual core CPU with 2MB of L2 cache as opposed to Conroe which has 4MB of L2 cache.

Millville will come out next year and will probably replace the current generation Celeron CPU.
September 16, 2006 3:47:30 AM

one of the books i read that said a signal travels 1 inches on a motherboard when the cpu cycles once on a 3 ghz (48 000 miles a sec?) ;from the book: hacking the xbox By Andrew "bunnie" huang
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September 16, 2006 3:53:13 AM

Quote:
one of the books i read that said a signal travels 1 inches on a motherboard when the cpu cycles once on a 3 ghz (48 000 miles a sec?) ;from the book: hacking the xbox By Andrew "bunnie" huang


A signal and electricity are two different things. Based on fundamental physics electricity travels near the speed of light.
September 16, 2006 3:55:36 AM

Quote:
as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.


186000 miles per second is the speed of light.
September 16, 2006 3:56:56 AM

$Love=:lol: 


i dont spend alot of money and i dont get/ give love so im not happy
September 16, 2006 4:25:38 AM

Quote:
as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.


186000 miles per second is the speed of light.

exactly 186???? are you sure??? I would like to see the calibration certs on the equipment you used to measure it.
September 16, 2006 4:27:44 AM

well it is 186 thousandmiles persecond

look it up this is known for years hundreds of them :idea:
September 16, 2006 4:28:57 AM

Quote:
as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.


186000 miles per second is the speed of light.

exactly 186???? are you sure??? I would like to see the calibration certs on the equipment you used to measure it.

He used one of those nasty roadside speed cameras :lol: 
September 16, 2006 4:30:23 AM

Quote:
as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.


186000 miles per second is the speed of light.

exactly 186???? are you sure??? I would like to see the calibration certs on the equipment you used to measure it.186,282...IIRC. :wink:
September 16, 2006 5:15:43 AM

Quote:
Why cant cpu clockspeeds get any faster?

And how fast does electricity travel on a modern motherboard (sending and the other end recive the signal)



:)  ... What you are looking for is what is the drift velocity, though it is actually more complicated than that, overall the drift velocity is dependent on the electron density, current, charge, and potential energy drop that electrons experience when acclerated in an electric field.

The mathematical relationship between drift velocity is very simple really,

vd = uE (vd is the velocity, u is electron mobility, and E is the electric field accelerating the electron).

However, it is not really the signal in the motheboard that you need to address, those technologies have been developed or will be developed shortly. It is in the CPU.

In order to turn the transistor 'on' an electron must travel only 45 nm from source to drain based today's current 90 nm process (for Intel it is about 38-40 nm if they Lg scaled correctly for 65 nm). Operating at a frequency of say 2.4 GHz, a transistor must switch on faster than 1/2.4E9, or 0.42 nanoseconds. As the electron must transverse about 40 nm within 0.42 nanosecond then it must travel at about 95 meters/sec or quite abit slower than the speed of light. (The speed of light is 2.99E9 m/sec)

This is just oddball off the cuff calculations, but the ball park idea is there. 95 meters/sec is quite fast.

However, from the above equation, one can begin to understand why Intel, AMD, etc. are insterested in strain engineering --- strain (or stress as it is often called, incorrectly by the way) changes the mobility. By various processing techniques, process engineers enhance the mobility (via stress/strain) in order to increase the drift velocity of the electrons in the transistor. That is to make the electrons travel faster, switch the transistor on faster, one may simply increase 'u' in the equation above.

Alot of other factors come into play, however, you can also gather from the equation above why Vcore is needed to push clock speeds higher. Why? Well, increasing Vcore essentially increases E (the electric field strengths), thus making the electrons travel through the 'channel' faster. Hence, higher clocking (overclocking) often requires increasing Vcore. This is pretty much known, and understood, but the physics is buried in the equation above.

Or, you could simply ask BaronMatrix, he thinks he is omnipotent.

JackActually, 95meters/sec isn't really very fast...212 m.p.h. I would have thought that the current would travel at least at the speed of sound..~740 m.p.h (331 meters/sec). :?
September 16, 2006 5:27:40 AM

Wow i have no idea what u are saying, im only 14 dude,

if a cpu produce 10 times less head and 10 times smaller will it make the clock speeds to be 10 times faster?
September 16, 2006 5:29:21 AM

you have lots to learn young jedi :D 
September 16, 2006 6:00:47 AM

Quote:
Actually, 95meters/sec isn't really very fast...212 m.p.h. I would have thought that the current would travel at least at the speed of sound..~740 m.p.h (331 meters/sec). :?


Well, take that electron into a vacuum and put a large potential across a gap and you can accelerate it to very high velocities. As Jack pointed out, as you approach c, the energy required to accelerate further becomes quite large.
a c 473 à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
September 16, 2006 7:00:12 AM

Quote:


This is not quite true, an object that carries mass but approaches the speed of light becomes more and more difficult to accelerate. The theoretical limit to this is of course the speed of light, in which case the term 'relativistic mass' tends to infinity. This is quite impossible as the entire universe would expand into an infinite mass if any object of mass went at the speed of light. Thus the theory of relativity would suggest that no object that has mass can travel that fast. :)  Light, itself, is an odd ball because the photon is pure energy which carries momentum but does not have mass... very odd and very difficult to imagine conceptually.

Now, where the conceptual part becomes more difficult is that within the reference frame of the traveling object, the mass actually has remained invariant... so it is almost paradoxical --- think twin paradox. An object traveling away from you with mass would appear to you, if you could measure it, to have gained mass but if you stood on the object traveling with it, then your reference frame is traveling and, as such, the object has not changed mass. This is why it is called special theory of relativity, the observation is relative to the two different frames in which the object and the observer are in. Very confusing :) 

Jack


Since I didn't know the age of the post I decided to provide a simple, yet somewhat inaccruate answer.

Since an electron does have mass, the faster it accelerates the more energy is required. The required energy increases exponentially as the electron or any object approaches the speed of light until an infinite amount of energy is require. Thus, my very simplistic answer that the speed of the electron is "very, very close to the speed of light."

As you've said, a photon is a very curious particle since it is massless. It also have wave-like properties as well which is very odd for a particle.

I wonder if scientists will ever be able to prove the existance of the graviton particle. Which is a hypethetical messenger particle that is also supposedly massless as well.
September 16, 2006 7:55:15 AM

electricity travels at light speed. Electrons move much more slowly though. However this has little impact on today's processors - maybe it will have some when processors are made with 30°C superconductors (superconductor: a material that can conduct electricity without any form of electrical resistance. Righ now this can be attained on metal at very very VERY low temps).
September 16, 2006 8:05:51 AM

Speed can improved performance on the cpu no doubt but having multiple cores working as one is much better, hence the saying "Two heads are better than one". But increasing speed means more heat which is the other mention the number one enemy of the cpu or any other components. That said with multiple core cpu it can achieve higher performance while maintianing the same temps as single core high speed cpu and running at low voltage and low power consumption. Also programs, games and other softwares are beggining to use the "multi-threaded" execution to better benifit the multi core cpus and increasing performance while running the application.
September 16, 2006 1:55:39 PM

Quote:
On graviton, I recall an experiment years ago going up on one of the shuttles to measure such a wave --- they constructed 4 perfectly spherical balls made of silver, spaced them equal distance and measured the relative change in distance and distortion (geometrically from spherical that is). As I recall the experiment was a bust.


The last year has not been kind to evolving theories in physics. Well, that's not true - change can trash existing beliefs and still be good. Anyway, some folks are attempting an extreme facelift for the gravitron. I'll see if I can find that link...

Quote:
Gravity is even more mysterious than light in my opinion.


You bet. And to think how the community once thought Newton had taken us most of the way to an understanding!
September 16, 2006 2:58:07 PM

Quote:
as far as electricity. it travels around 186 thousand miles persecond
or is it 286 thousand miles persecound.


186,000 miles/second is correct. However, that is a theoretical number and current will only flow at (or near) this speed at absolute zero (-273º Celsius) . The conductive and inductive properties of the medium through which current flows, greatly affects the speed and the amount of heat generated. Think of a light bulb filament as a simple example of resistance, and its effects on current flow.
September 16, 2006 3:32:52 PM

Quote:
As you've said, a photon is a very curious particle since it is massless. It also have wave-like properties as well which is very odd for a particle.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it possible to defract a single electron as if it was a wave? I definitely remember covering an experiment in A level physics (although we didn't do it, just covered the basics). What happens in this experiment, electrons are fired at a flat absorbing material with a very small hole in it, and the electrons defract as a wave. The second stage of the experiment was to replace the material with one that had multiple holes in, and fire just a single electron at it, which would be defracted through all the holes as if it was a wave, and exist in multiple places at the same time. The teacher didn't go into how that is possible, I just thought I'd bring it up because it might add to the particle/wave duality debate, not to mention it's a real tricky idea to get your head round.

[edit]
I meant diffraction, oops. :oops: 
and this is an interesting article on the subject:Wave-Particule Duality :wink:
September 16, 2006 3:44:45 PM

Did that guy say electron move at 95m/sec?? Seems quite slow. Whats the muzzle velocity of a high power bullet? Around 3000Ft/sec. So hes saying that an electron only has to move a bullet speed to work??? Seems slow.


Electrons existing in multiple places at once?? The reason your teacher wasnt able to fully impliment the experiment is because it doesnt work that way. Yes parts of a wave MAY be able to pass through the multiple holes but they will not reform on the other side as the original wave. If broken and passing through as segments they will simply continue on as separate different parts. Whitch is why a microwave only has a metal mesh in the window. the harmful microwaves cannot pass thruough the holes, as they are much smaller then the amplitude of a microwave in air.

Mass does infact start to become infinate at infinate speeds. But, and I have no basis for this statement, but I cannot believe for a single second that 186,000 is infinate!! I imagine there are alot faster speed...say like 187,000.......or 188,000. Speed of light is just the fastest thing that we know about so far. Then we also used to think the world was phlat and was in fact the center of the universe. We knew it was true for hundreds of years. Then we figured out it wasnt.. the speed if light is a very FINITE speed.
September 16, 2006 3:52:33 PM

Quote:
Did that guy say electron move at 95m/sec?? Seems quite slow. Whats the muzzle velocity of a high power bullet? Around 3000Ft/sec. So hes saying that an electron only has to move a bullet speed to work??? Seems slow.


Electrons existing in multiple places at once?? The reason your teacher wasnt able to fully impliment the experiment is because it doesnt work that way. Yes parts of a wave MAY be able to pass through the multiple holes but they will not reform on the other side as the original wave. If broken and passing through as segments they will simply continue on as separate different parts. Whitch is why a microwave only has a metal mesh in the window. the harmful microwaves cannot pass thruough the holes, as they are much smaller then the amplitude of a microwave in air.

Mass does infact start to become infinate at infinate speeds. But, and I have no basis for this statement, but I cannot believe for a single second that 186,000 is infinate!! I imagine there are alot faster speed...say like 187,000.......or 188,000. Speed of light is just the fastest thing that we know about so far. Then we also used to think the world was phlat and was in fact the center of the universe. We knew it was true for hundreds of years. Then we figured out it wasnt.. the speed if light is a very FINITE speed.
Less. 3000ft/second is ~915meters/second....9.6 times faster than the electrons.
September 16, 2006 3:57:09 PM

so a bullet can travel 9 times faster than an electron?? Hmmm seems slow
September 16, 2006 4:54:06 PM

Quote:
so a bullet can travel 9 times faster than an electron?? Hmmm seems slow


I guess it all depends on what they are traveling through I guess light goes aprox. 186KMph through open space it slows when hitting air or glass or water (I dont pretend to know why it does this) I guess lasers take advantage of this ? anyway electricity is fairly slow untill it becomes lightning ? wich is plasma ? baahhh Highschool science class has been far too long ago lol
September 16, 2006 5:13:47 PM

Quote:
Why cant cpu clockspeeds get any faster?

And how fast does electricity travel on a modern motherboard (sending and the other end recive the signal)


Clock skew.
September 16, 2006 5:24:22 PM

Quote:


Mass does infact start to become infinate at infinate speeds. But, and I have no basis for this statement, but I cannot believe for a single second that 186,000 is infinate!! I imagine there are alot faster speed...say like 187,000.......or 188,000. Speed of light is just the fastest thing that we know about so far. Then we also used to think the world was phlat and was in fact the center of the universe. We knew it was true for hundreds of years. Then we figured out it wasnt.. the speed if light is a very FINITE speed.


I have no idea what you are talking about here.

However, you don't have to believe it, it is a consequency of the theory --- length contracts, time slows' and mass will approach infinity as an object which posesses length and mass approaches the speed of light. Einstein's theory has been validated experimentally to the degree that it can be done.

You should take the initiative to go learn about the Theory of Special Relativity.

Here is a dummy's guide to help you get started:
http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/vvc/theory/relativity.htm... getting irritated with all us dummies, Jack? :wink:
September 16, 2006 5:25:50 PM

Quote:
so a bullet can travel 9 times faster than an electron?? Hmmm seems slow


A bullet is not traveling through a solid.

Furthermore, an electron is nothing more than a particle, just like a bullet or a bb in a bb-gun. Are you telling me that just because it is an electron it must move fast? What about bb shot from a bb gun, is it moving as fast as a bullet from a 9-mm pistol?

As with all particles, to move they must be accelerated, to be accelerated they my be subjected to a force. The magnitude of that force determines the ultimate acceleration and after that acceleration the ultimate speed. The force on the electron is the electric filed applied by a voltage. 1 volt is not that much guys, not much at all.... accelerate an electron through 10 KV and yeah it will wizz up to 9500 meter per second.

There is even experiments out there that suspend electrons with 0 velocity, you can google search Zero Eletron Kinetic Energy technique. No kinetic energy means no velocity. Heck I will do it for you:
http://www.stormingmedia.us/27/2701/A270134.html
http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?p...
http://bromine.cchem.berkeley.edu/grppub/srpzeke17.pdf
http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?p...

Ahhh, yes I can in fact stop an electron with no momentum, and zero velocity.

Finally, an electron wizzing around in a solid, even with normal thermal kintetic energy is moving quite a bit faster thant the drift velocity. It is like a plinko game --- drop the puck at the top and it moves like crazy everywhere but because it bounces around the averge velocity downward is actually slow (drift velocity).

Damn. Guys go learn some physics.

Jack

Physics scare me !!! lol I did read a brief history of time and at the time it did make sense (if you dont continue reading the stuff it sort of turns into a muddled dream of wich you only remember bits and peices...)
September 16, 2006 5:36:39 PM

Quote:
so a bullet can travel 9 times faster than an electron?? Hmmm seems slow


A bullet is not traveling through a solid.

Furthermore, an electron is nothing more than a particle, just like a bullet or a bb in a bb-gun. Are you telling me that just because it is an electron it must move fast? What about bb shot from a bb gun, is it moving as fast as a bullet from a 9-mm pistol?

As with all particles, to move they must be accelerated, to be accelerated they my be subjected to a force. The magnitude of that force determines the ultimate acceleration and after that acceleration the ultimate speed. The force on the electron is the electric filed applied by a voltage. 1 volt is not that much guys, not much at all.... accelerate an electron through 10 KV and yeah it will wizz up to 9500 meter per second.

There is even experiments out there that suspend electrons with 0 velocity, you can google search Zero Eletron Kinetic Energy technique. No kinetic energy means no velocity. Heck I will do it for you:
http://www.stormingmedia.us/27/2701/A270134.html
http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?p...
http://bromine.cchem.berkeley.edu/grppub/srpzeke17.pdf
http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?p...

Ahhh, yes I can in fact stop an electron with no momentum, and zero velocity.

Finally, an electron wizzing around in a solid, even with normal thermal kintetic energy is moving quite a bit faster thant the drift velocity. It is like a plinko game --- drop the puck at the top and it moves like crazy everywhere but because it bounces around the averge velocity downward is actually slow (drift velocity).

Damn. Guys go learn some physics.

Jack

Physics scare me !!! lol I did read a brief history of time and at the time it did make sense (if you dont continue reading the stuff it sort of turns into a muddled dream of wich you only remember bits and peices...)Hmmmm... Stopping reading about the history of time and a night of drinking have the same outcome. :lol:  hehehe
September 16, 2006 5:37:03 PM

Electricity travels at 8675309 miles per hour. Ask Jenny.
September 16, 2006 5:38:38 PM

Quote:
Electricity travels at 8675309 miles per hour. Ask Jenny.
You named your calculator Jenny? :?
September 16, 2006 5:57:05 PM

@jumpingjack: utter nonsense about the electron speed: well, do the experiment: take a 20 cm tube, fill it with baubles in a nice line until it is filled. now then push a new bauble in the tube. Note that even if you push the new bauble in slowly, the bauble on the other side will instantly come out the other end.

Meaning the movement has traveled 20 cm instantly.

This is a metaphore; still, read up some physics book: electricity is generated by all the electrons migrating. Since an atom can only have a certain charge, if a 'new' electron comes in, an 'older' one has to leave (from an atom's outer crown) - to the next atom. The electrons themselves move slowly, but the 'pressure' propagates at light speed.

I learned that at school when I was 14 in basic physics class. I wonder what the school system is like where you live.
September 16, 2006 6:02:27 PM

Mitch - What you say is correct but not relevant. The electrons need to go from the transmitter to the reciever. This takes time. It doesn't matter that the electron you didn't need gets there instantly.

The last comment was unnecessary and does not belong in THG forums.

Why cant CPUs go faster? It has to do with some existential BS about work performed per cycle, pipeline lengths, process technology, and lots of other stuff I don't fully understand, and don't pretend to understand.
September 16, 2006 6:08:47 PM

actually, the relevance could be extracted this way: what slows down the electrons' movement is dubbed as resistance. A superconductor is a material with zero resistance - meaning it doesn't heat up, and doesn't get damaged due to electronic migration.

In short, a processor made using superconductor has no practical limits in clock speeds.

My previous point was used because jumpingjack said that electrons going slowly is bullsh*t. And if electronic migration has no relevance in an overclocker's forum, I wonder where it has any...
September 16, 2006 6:13:20 PM

Quote:
@jumpingjack: utter nonsense about the electron speed: well, do the experiment: take a 20 cm tube, fill it with baubles in a nice line until it is filled. now then push a new bauble in the tube. Note that even if you push the new bauble in slowly, the bauble on the other side will instantly come out the other end.

Meaning the movement has traveled 20 cm instantly.

This is a metaphore; still, read up some physics book: electricity is generated by all the electrons migrating. Since an atom can only have a certain charge, if a 'new' electron comes in, an 'older' one has to leave (from an atom's outer crown) - to the next atom. The electrons themselves move slowly, but the 'pressure' propagates at light speed.

I learned that at school when I was 14 in basic physics class. I wonder what the school system is like where you live.


Ah ya, a man that knows what he's talking about. Now if you can only teach em a little about valence electrons.
September 16, 2006 6:32:44 PM

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it possible to defract a single electron as if it was a wave?


Sure. I'm no big Wikipedia fan, but they did a decent job on ED:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_diffraction

Loads of really impressive work is in the literature over the last decade or so following advances in lens and pole design in electron microscopes.

Quote:
What happens in this experiment, electrons are fired at a flat absorbing material with a very small hole in it, and the electrons defract as a wave.


You can also prepare thin sections of materials and do ED on them. What's cool is the incredible array of microanalysis capabilities in the instrumentation that does this kind of work. You can do elemental analysis on a very small population of atoms or molecules. You can get all kinds of structural information on really tiny phases. So in one instrument, you might do high res imaging, then collect and energy dispersive X-ray spectrum for elemental analysis, then you could use those two pieces of data to select areas to do ED or something like parallel electron energy loss spectroscopy. This stuff is used from time to time to study migration in electronic parts or to analyze impurities, etc.
September 16, 2006 6:47:28 PM

Quote:
I guess it all depends on what they are traveling through I guess light goes aprox. 186KMph through open space it slows when hitting air or glass or water (I dont pretend to know why it does this)


The commonly quoted speed of light is for its velocity in vacuum. When it passes from a vacuum into a material, light slows and is refracted. I hate to reference Wiki twice in one day but since people seem to love it so much...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refractive_index

Quote:
anyway electricity is fairly slow untill it becomes lightning ? wich is plasma ?


Yes, lightning is a plasma, but regardless, comparing electron flow or velocity in a conductor or semiconductor is very different than in a gaseous mixture such as a plasma.
September 16, 2006 6:47:39 PM

Go correct your dissertation: it's written proton.

while the excitation is a result of the electron's migration (meaning it makes the atom's core 'shake' due to the energy increase provoked by the electron's movement), since the propagation is 'instantaneous' (it's going at light speed) the whole circuit gets powered 'instantly'.

Meaning that in a case when the circuit's resistance requires enough energy for the electron to move at, say, 1 m/s, this is the speed an electron 'jumps' from one atom to the other. However, the difference in potential the incoming electron provokes in the next atom makes it shake one of is own electrons loose before the incoming electron reaches it.

It's basically the same principle as what you use to make magnets repel each other.
September 16, 2006 7:06:28 PM

ah - ok, I didn't know electromigration was still a problem with superconductors. On the other hand, it isn't that illogical considering that while resistance is zero, due to the attraction between a proton and a neutron (which is what allows electrons to move) it isn't far fetched to think an atom would still 'go with the flow' once in a while.

As to the transistors: yup, right. Read my posts carefully, I didn't even ONCE, mention the fact that transistors moved at light speed (which is what, to sum it up, you imply I said); I said electrons move slowly, but the potential difference (which can create an energy dubbed as electricity) moves at light speed. In the case of a transistor, it is actually a mechanical process - which, although damn fast, occurs at the speed you mention.

Now, a transistor cuts conductivity to redirect it in another 'pathway'; during the cut, for an infinitesimal moment, nothing gets powered; adding up along all of a CPU's possible 'pathway', this slight lag accumulates until it may get noticeable in a binary system (during the time the transistor 'moves', there is neither 0 nor 1; since binary can't cope with 'maybe'...) - thus the maximum theoretical frequency o a CPU core being defined by its gate switching time, which you described aptly.

Now what we get out of this, is that potential differences which can be converted into energy moves at light speed, that actually generated energy in a copper or other conductive material moves much more slowly, and that this lower speed combined with a transistor's 'reaction time' helps define a chip's maximum clock speed.
September 16, 2006 7:27:13 PM

let's dabble with quantum physics, ok - you'll have to forgive my miscomprehension (english not being my first language), I thought you were using phonon instead of proton (I need to see what a 'lattice' is).

If I get your meaning well, it means (in layman's terms) that the energy charge carried by an electron (which has mass+velocity, thus energy) causes a disruption within the atom (it accelerates its vibration) causing it to heat up. Superconductors actually don't heat up because, due to a stabilized state of the solid, when an electron moves, the ions that got attracted to it and didn't have time to oscillate back attract the next electron, counteracting Coulomb's law (that two particles of same charge will be mutually repulsed) and creating a de facto 'chain reaction' on the electrons - but then Pauli's principle cuts the chain at 2, making a serie of pairs.

These pairs have boson properties, meaning that they act as bosons, which can occupy a single phonon ('vibration wave', since this is what is greek root indicates) - thus little energy. Like you pointed out, it's actually the number of electrons that 'move' the transistor, but in this case the energy required is very low - thus less heat.
September 16, 2006 7:29:04 PM

Well I'm going to say what everyone else has said since it's true. The only real reason for clock speeds being low right now is because of heat and power consumption! If you were running a Core 2 at 10 GHz you'd need a dedicated PSU!
September 16, 2006 7:36:45 PM

Hmm, this is really frightening. There is so many people wanting to explain just how electricity works and by doing so they spell all sorts of misunderstandings and false "truths". But heck! It seems like fun!! :D 

Here's my version...

Yes, electrons move slow - usually a couple of millimeters per second in conductors (I won't bother to comply with the stupid US system).

Yes, electricity is fast. Actually in ordinary cables it is able to reach 2/3 of the speed of light.

Which by the way is EXACTLY 299 792 458 meters per second in vacuum (since a metre is defined by just this speed. It used to be another definition but nowadays it's true).

Todays processors isn't exactly made from ideal conductors (semi-conductors anyone? = ) and thus the speed of the ELECTRICITY is considerably slower than 2/3 of the speed of light.

In a clock-cycle of a 3GHz processor, light have time to travel approximately 29.9 cm (or almost one feet). A reasonable assumption is that we can move the elctricity some 10 cm in the processor in the same time.

However, since it is a pipe-lined construction, the signal doesn't have to travel that far between the cycles (even if the roads are winding) and so it still works pretty ok.

Transistors can be made awful fast, there are examples of at least a couple of hundred GHz, but if you look at the power-consumption you see that we feed our poor Intel and AMD thingies with almost 100 Ampères, and that is a lot! Therefor measures where taken to turn this development around...

Anyone that has studied basic electricity knows that two conductors set apart by a isolator forms a capacitor... which unfortunately becomes less resistive at high frequencis and tehrefor leads to high leak currents.

Oh, to clearify: the movement of the electrons is a result of an electric force, that we measure in Volts, which accelerates the poor little electrons until they hit something and the acceleration has to start all over again. This is what we know as resistance.

In a material it is awfully close between things to hit and therefor the electrons move so damn slow. This is important: when current flow, the force is present in all of the conductor, not just in one end. This is due to the fact that an electron that moves just a little bit helps create the force-field and therefor affects the next electron.

Hmm, I probably lied just as much as the next guy but at least I got to have a little fun for a while... = )
September 16, 2006 7:47:34 PM

Hmm, it seems I should have read the last couple of post also... This thread is really spinning off. Too bad I haven't studied solid state... Well, I wish you all luck trying to disect this down to the very quarks! (Or maybe even beyond?! = )

It's sad to see a tired man lay down his hand and quit the wholy game of quantum physics... But I will for sure stay around just to learn a little something :idea:
September 16, 2006 7:48:36 PM

damn, I'd rather stop: after all I majored in litterature (the last time I did physics in class was like 10 years ago, the first year of high school), and I just read (and tried to understand) this or that article.

I was just trying to mark the difference between how long you needed a power cord to be to notice a difference from one end when you plug the other end in a wall socket (right now it needs to be a few thousand kilometers long) and how fast the electrons were moving (in your everyday semiconductor, slower than the speed of sound) - dispelling the idea that electrons were electricity, to those who couldn't see the difference.

Now you had to make me go and look through all my notes, pull out the dusty French-English dictionary I had down in the basement collecting dust, and you and I completely confused all those poor physics-deprived fellow posters... Shame on you, shame on me.

PS: sorry, I may have sounded harsh in a few posts.
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