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Mike Vogt

Moving At the Speed of Technology

Think back about a decade and a half ago, 1995-1999. Mobile computing technology was just starting, computers were much larger, however the bigger the size did not make them any faster. A little more than 10 years ago once desktop computers really started to take-off with Windows 98 and Windows 95, desktops were commonly equipped with an Intel Pentium II processor.

Microsoft Windows 98.

 

Compared to modern day computers, these computers are archaic. Even though these computers are the same age as today’s teenagers! It is amazing to see how fast we have doubled, tripled, even quadrupled the speed of our computers! Let’s look at our progress.

Today our computers still use Windows, but a more powerful version with a lot of new features. Our technological specs have surpassed what anyone would have imagined 20 years ago. An Intel Pentium II processor had a speed of 450MHz, you can’t even find a computer for sale with any processor in the Megahertz range, they have all been upgraded to Gigahertz. Which we can only imagine Gigahertz will become the new Megahertz soon.

There was 32K of level-one cache in the Intel Pentium II processor, and 512K in the level-two cache. Today, in an Intel i3 processor there are 3MBs of level-three cache. The difference between the two processors is unbelievable, even though they are about a decade apart.

Intel Core i3 Diagram.

The amount of cores we hear in a computer today are fairly relevant, we always hear, “Dual core!” this and, “Quad-core!” this. However, back then there was no choice on how many cores you could get in one processor. One processor meant one core, unless you put the two processors together. Then you could have two whole cores, and not even as fast as today’s low-end laptop.

The maximum amount of memory you could put into a system with an Intel Pentium II processor was 4GB, which was unheard of at the time. Today a computer manufacturer puts in 4GB of memory and we rip it out and install more, because we ‘need’ more speed.

It is amazing we have come this far in the world of computer sciences, where one of our lower-end model computers could out-power three or four moderate computers from a decade ago. It is great how everyone is worried about the latest and greatest technology, however sometimes we need to stop worrying about what’s next, and think about how much we have achieved in such a short amount of time.

 

 

 

ProcessorIntel Pentium IIIntel Core i3
Operating Frequency450MHz3.3GHz
Memory4GB128GB
L1 Cache32k32kB(Per Core)
L2 Cache512k512kB
L3 CacheNone3MB
Cores12