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Innovation Abounds As x86 Stalls

The x86 architecture, and its inventor and cheerleader-in-chief, Intel, have had some tough times recently. With decades of substantial performance increases coming year after year, organizations are starting to make business and development plans with a kind of certainty that computer performance would be there when they needed it.

In this piece, Chris Evans looks at how companies are innovating as the performance and efficiency gains of x86 have come to a crawl. GPUs have increased in importance for almost a decade now with specialized AI and ML workloads. But new accelerators are offering specialized offloaded performance boosts, particularly for things like network functions. AWS’ Nitro cards and Pensando’s Distributed Services Platform, combined with speedy interconnections that bypass a lot of traditional overhead, are creating a new ecosystem of possibilities.

Chris does a great job comparing this to the IBM Mainframe days, as delays and outright cancellation of planned systems by Big Blue created an opportunity for accessory systems to make a name for themselves. Be sure to check out the piece for the full overview.

Read more at Fixing the x86 Problem

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.