It took me many years to learn one thing about higher clock speeds of processors. Updating from a 486 – 33Mhz to a 486 -66Mhz did not DOUBLE my speed. In fact I was lucky to increase the speed of the system by 5 to 10%. And so it went as we continued down our journey through cpu lane, that each new clock speed promised better performance but at a higher price. It also seemed that the only ones who could continue to increase the speed of their systems were either hardware geeks or those who purchased new systems.

You see as cpu speed increased the chip people also changed the pin layout. So if you wanted to upgrade, you may also of had to change the motherboard. Oh, and the RAM you had from the old system may also need changing because it was also to slow to keep up with the new processor. It was usually cheaper just to buy a new system, which is exactly what everyone wanted in the hardware business and was hoping for in the first place.

Intel and AMD got into a mighty battle of who could come out with the fastest cpu, and for awhile AMD took a slight lead. I know, you Intel fanatics will so it isn’t so. But this rant is not about Intel or AMD, but more about when did we actually reach a speed point that software has not kept up? I don’t know exactly when it happened either. But just a wild guess it was about the time that clock speeds starting going over 1Ghz that the average non gamer, stopped seeing a real speed increase. Again, this is just a guess on my part. But since I am writing this article I get to guess all I want. LOL

As we approached the 3Ghz speed people started to notice that their cpu’s were getting a might bit toasty. Bigger heatsinks and larger fans were all the rage. Plus some were even adding water pipped in to cool down their cpu’s. I always found this a bit strange since it always seemed to me that electricity and water made strange bed fellows.

Intel and AMD had a problem. Was Moore’s law really going to limit processing speed and performance? As the speeds reached over 3Ghz, Intel started getting out of the speed game by changing their cpu designations. If you wanted to find out the speed, you had to check out a secret chart that Intel kept locked away in a safe. Just joking. Some thought it was to keep AMD from using the speed of Intel chips to gauge the speed of their own chips. It came down to ‘who cares!’

But now we haves something new to play with. To entice the mases the two chip companies first came out with dual core chips. Now Intel has a quad chip which AMD will also be coming out with. So we consumers are in a great position. You see recent testing of the newest and greatest quad core is showing that there is only a slight performance gain. And unless you are having your computer digest large amounts of video or are the heaviest of all gamers, you may see little or no performance enhancement.

Which brings me to my final summation. Dual core systems have dropped like a stone. I just saw a dual core Dell lappy with 2G of RAM on sale last week for $699. What a deal! So while Intel and AMD slug it out and introduce their quad cores, dual cores should become more attractive and further affordable.

Comments welcome.

[tags]intel, amd, quad, dual, core, [/tags]