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May 19, 2015


John Burrill

That's interesting. I heard that in 2014, sales of Ipads and fell while sales of desktops and laptops increased-specifically at Apple


While i would agree the speed up has slowed down, it is certainly not going backwards. For mobile devices battery life is important but the IPC of the new chips has improved in every generation, how many ghz don't really compare to each other if you don't account the actual performance per clocktick.
Skylake will add another 15% at the same clockspeeds.

Dimitri Rotow

There are many reasons why speeds are going down but one of them is certainly the end of Moore's Law, which, effectively, has been dead and gone for years.

Moore's Law is about the doubling of the number of transistors in a processor every 18 months or so (the original version was doubling every 12 months). In years past in a world of desktop machines that extra capacity was primarily used to cover the many sins of sloppy software through faster machines. Don't worry about pigging out that code because the machines will be twice as fast in a year.

But doubling the number of transistors also means the same number of transistors can be put onto a smaller and smaller die over time and thus consume less and less power while operating faster and faster. When Moore's Law ended that automatic reduction in power consumption or, for the same power operating faster, ended.

What you see today is just the fun beginning for three reasons: First, programming today has gotten sloppier and piggier than ever before as script kiddies turn to massively inefficient ways of writing code. Second, add to that the tendency of today's billions of abjectly clueless users to hand over their devices to whatever software Google or their "carefully selected" cast of millions of advertising carpetbaggers want to load onto their smartphones means that bloatware, malware and endless other programs will be eating alive whatever processing capacity there is.

The third reason is that with Moore's Law dead the only practical way of keeping speed up is through parallel processing, and writing real parallel code is very difficult. Simply dispatching four different tasks to four different cores ain't writing parallel code, it's just a different way to time-share existing resources in a non-parallel way. Automatically chopping up a single program to run simultaneously on four cores and then re-assembling the results at the end is parallelism, and that's way more difficult.


Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

My notebook bought in winter 2011, is still more powerful than anything easily available in local stores today. For the same money i spent back then at most I get a 50% bump in performance, even when buying online. Whereas the jump in performance when upgrading my 2007 device was 200-300%

Progress has slowed to a crawl if you what you are looking for is raw processor power. The same goes for desktop processors, its not worth upograding. You get less bang for your buck now than 3 years ago. The retail stores are full off underpowered low energy devices, whereas a few years ago they will full of higher performing less efficient devices.

However, the same cannot be said for GPUs and Mobile devices. They have come on leaps and bounds.

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