Are processors running at clock speeds of 5GHz in our near future? Quite likely, and even though the industry has encountered walls many times before when it came to clock speed limits, new advancements in processes and new materials have continually allowed for faster chips. Intel has in the past demonstrated ALUs operating at 10GHz, and it seems that 5GHz is actually closer than we expected, despite no desktop CPU being above 4GHz (aside from overclocking). In response to Intel talking about the production of 45nm SRAM, several companies have brought some promising news:
But IBM, for example, said this week it will defy "conventional wisdom" and print circuits with 30-nanometer ridges, a third of the size of the 90-nm chips in production today, using current lithography imaging processes.
Also this week, Dutch-based lithography equipment maker ASML Holding NV demonstrated its 42-nm production process and said it had the equipment to make 35-nm chips.
Which means while we can expect multi core chips to continue to be all the rave, single-threaded applications will also still get boosts. Intel also claims that we may see 100 cores on a single CPU in a decade, though even a tenth of that would be incredibly impressive. The future of CPUs continues to look bright, despite the warnings of the impending wall continuing to be made.