Quote o' the day: Memory Speed
This is a quote from Expert C Programming, describing something that I’ve also been complaining about for roughly as long as this book has been in existence. (Remember, it was published in 1994.)
The real challenge in computer architecture today is not memory capacity, but memory speed. Your brand new shiny red Pentium chip [1994, remember?] isn’t going to win you anything if your software is actually constrained by disk and memory latency (access time). To be precise, there is a wide and increasing gap between memory and CPU performance. Over the past decade CPU’s have doubled in speed every one-and-a-half to two years. Memory gets twice as dense (64-Kb chips increase to 128Kb [Ahem.]) in the same period, but its access time only improves by 10%. Main memory access time will be even more important on huge address space machines. When you have access to huge amounts of data, the latency for moving it around will start to dominate software performance. Expect to see a lot more use of ache and related technologies in the future.
I claim independent discovery. Thpth.