RE: Deshall creating an Electron Hurricane in my Processor!!!

Adam Haberlach (
Mon, 5 May 1997 18:44:00 -0700


- -----Original Message-----
From: Michael R. McClelland []
Sent: Monday, May 05, 1997 4:38 PM
To: ''
Subject: Deshall creating an Electron Hurricane in my

> Someone mentioned the idea of wearing out a processor and I
>reading about an odd sounding phenomenon in Scientific
>American(one of my
>favorite sources for odd sounding phenomena),so I dug it up and
>sure enough
>it states that current flow can erode wires. Go figure. Not so
>funny now,

It never really was funny, but it still isn't a factor.

Most processors never really stop or turn off. If they aren't
grinding DES Keys (which is what all processors are designed to
do), they're updating the graphics or running NO-OP instructions
or counting down until the next mouse click. I really don't
think that we're going to wear a specific part of the chip out
by running the client against it, at least not within the
lifetime of the project, the computer, or us.

>One seemingly simple solution is to switch from aluminum
>wiring, which is
>now the standard, to copper. Copper exhibits lower resistance,
>and it is
>also less subject to a phenomenon known as the electron wind,
>the tendency
>of a dense flow of current coursing through a narrow wire to
>erode the
>metal. "You get a gap in the metal because the electrons blow
>the metal
>molecules down the wires," remarks G. Dan Hutcheson, president
>of VLSI
> "

BTW: this was one of the most simplisting articles I have ever
seen in Scientific American. I believe that their business
correspondant tried to write something about hard tech and this
is the result. They gave poor explainations of capacitance and
resistance, and over-simplified the process they were describing
(I believe it's usually called conductor migration or something
similar.) Moore's law is scheduled to hold for at least another

BTW-II:what was with that stupid artist's rendition of a
microchip? It looked like a circuit board. Couldn't they get a
micrograph of the real thing?

- ---
Adam Haberlach
Crack DES now!

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