I Didn’t Know That 1 – What is Wrong with this Quote?

9 12 2010

December 9, 2010

(Forward to the Next Post in the Series)

In the interest of interesting quotes, a quote that I found in the “Oracle Tuning the Definitive Reference Second Edition” book on page 995:

“In the 1970s, Moore’s law was introduced, stating that processor costs were always falling while speed continued to improve.  However, as Oracle professionals, we must understand that Moore’s law does not apply to RAM.  While RAM costs continue to fall every year, the speed of RAM access is constrained by silicon technology and did not improve over at least three decades as shown in Figure 17.1.”

What, if anything, is wrong with the above quote?  While my review of the book only provides an in-depth technical review of the first 200 pages of the book, this blog article series will dig into some of the pages that were not specifically included in the review.

The point of blog articles like this one is not to insult authors who have spent thousands of hours carefully constructing an accurate and helpful book, but instead to suggest that readers investigate when something stated does not exactly match what one believes to be true.  It could be that the author “took a long walk down a short pier”, or that the author is revealing accurate information which simply cannot be found through other resources (and may in the process be directly contradicting information sources you have used in the past).  If you do not investigate in such cases, you may lose an important opportunity to learn something that could prove to be extremely valuable.

Other pages found during a Google search of the phrase:

  • dba-oracle.com/art_dbazine_oracle_10g_data_warehouse.htm
  • dba-oracle.com/oracle_tips_hardware_oracle_performance.htm
  • dba-oracle.com/t_history_ram.htm

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2 responses

10 12 2010
Centinul

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law) says that Moore’s Law was introduced by Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper. What is meant by “speed”? That term isn’t well defined in this quote. Is it the clock speed of the processor? The amount of calculations per second? I’m sure there are other definitions of speed.

Wikipedia states Moore’s Law as the following:

“The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.”

While this may roughly equate to “speed” the author should have been more specific.

I did not spend a lot of time with the part of the quote on RAM. I find it hard to believe RAM hasn’t improved in the last three decades. A brief read of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_bandwidth and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_random_access_memory would imply that RAM has made significant improvements as we’ve more recently from DDR to DDR2 and now DDR3.

10 12 2010
Charles Hooper

Centinul,

Nice research. You are correct that Moore’s Law states nothing about “speed” or “cost” of the items covered by Moore’s Law. Improvements in speed and reduction in costs are merely side-effects of the increasing density of the transistors.

The second article found through a Google search, also written by the book author, states the following:
“Moore’s law has held true over the three decades since it was first published, and Moore’s law has been extended to cover RAM and disk storage costs as well,” which is what the second sentence in the book quote is refuting. The second sentence of the book quote may be the only accurate sentence from the quote.

For the third sentence, take a look at the following:
http://books.google.com/books?id=E1p2FDL7P5QC&pg=PA428 (Upgrading and Repairing PCs By Scott Mueller – I have two older copies of this book on my bookself)

http://www.computermemoryupgrade.net/types-of-computer-memory-common-uses.html

http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/kcs/document?c=us&l=en&s=gen&docid=DSN_81D59F89C70D4CA388E7374AAE294BD0&isLegacy=true

If the third statement is correct, then bubble memory (http://www.dvorak.org/blog/whatever-happened-to-bubble-memory/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_memory ) is just as good as the memory used in SSD drives.

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