Computers are getting really cool. Chips are shrinking, transistor technology is improving, Intel has announced things like tri-gate that could make chips really small and cool. Chip company’s want to cram more and more transistors in unit area of a die so that chips can do more.
We have already started putting in upto 16 cores of processor on a single chip die so that personal computers become really really fast. Today one’s personal computer that’s powerful enough like the MAC pro can seamlessly edit blue-ray quality videos with ease.
Rather than just cramming in processing power into a die, I feel there is another direction too. When ever I assemble a computer, I need to buy a processor, RAM and hard disk. I ask the question why should I do it? Why can’t RAM and flash drive (that can serve as hard disk) be baked into the processor die. This will save lot of time for computer assemblers, reduce the time needed to connect wires to PCB, to the hard disk, and need for separate power lines.
If a chip maker can do this, computer manufacturers will be delighted. A factory that can assemble 100 computers can assemble 120 to 150 computers given the same amount of time. This will reduce cost of computers too.
There are many issues like voltage levels, interfacing these three units in a die and so on. But VLSI / ULSI makers are expert in complex systems and will be able to accomplish it.
Not lot of hard disk need to be baked into a chips die. 20 GB will be a good start and 4GB ram will be generous for today’s standards (since everything is moving to cloud storage, who needs tons of hard drive?). PCB makers will have to put less effort in designing mother boards, but I think its better one gives the user to install additional RAM and hard drive (by connecting it to the mother board), because if the memories on the die happen to fail, this additional external ones can serve as backup thus increasing the life of the machine.
We already have such devices with baked in permanent and temporary memory. They are called micro controllers. What I am just saying is, make a bit bigger so that it behaves like normal desktop processor and computing costs and costs of making computer slashes down, say about 20%. And this will also improve working speed of computers too as almost all necessary components processor need to work is present in a single die / chip package.