Are PC Performance Advancements Slowing Down?

The need to regularly upgrade computer hardware has changed in the past decade. For the longest time, it seemed like you could only get a few years out of a computer before it needed a replacement or a major upgrade in order to handle the newest software. Today, many new applications are designed to accommodate older computers. Why is this?

This need in the past to constantly upgrade can be attributed to what’s called Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore was a CEO at Intel who predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors on integrated circuits would continue to double every other year. Since 1965, Moore’s Law has been modified to say that computing power doubles every 18 months.

Moore’s Law proved true throughout much of the history of computer development. That is, until recently when the enhancements to PC performance began to increase at rates far less than 50-60%. In fact, the Microprocesser Report showed that between 2009-2012 CPU performance increased at just 10% per year for desktops, and 16% for laptops.

There are many different factors that contribute to this current plateau that we are experiencing in the application of Moore’s Law. One reason is that Intel has hit a “power wall” back in 2005, meaning that CPU performance advancements are no longer determined by transistors, but instead by power availability, which is limited. With the lack of major performance advancements, new software is designed with this limitation in mind. This is why new software can run just fine on old computers running Intel’s Core 2 Duo and Quad chips.

This power wall is one reason that we have seen an emphasis on features instead performance in the last 5 years or so. Computer manufacturers continue to pack mobile devices full of desktop capabilities, and we are seeing new computers and devices emphasize features like gesture controls, speech recognition, and cloud services–none of which require a high performance processing chip.

Overall, this is an interesting and unique time in the development of the PC. In the future, we are sure to see the issues currently holding back performance advancements resolved. When all these new and innovative features are coupled with Moore’s Law, it will likely make for a new and exciting time in the development of consumer technology.

Whether you are getting by with older computers and need IT support to keep them running like new, or maybe you are looking to upgrade to the high performance equipment so that you can get more work done faster, give Think Tank NTG a call at 800-501-DATA and let us make technology work for you!

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