Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Nov 2011 22:32 UTC
Intel You may not realise it, but today one of the most important pieces of technology celebrates its 40th birthday. In November 15, 1971, a company called Intel released its Intel 4004 processor - the first single-chip microprocessor, and one of the most important milestones in computer history.
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RE: Comment by MOS6510
by gpsnoopy on Wed 16th Nov 2011 17:48 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
gpsnoopy
Member since:
2007-04-17

Actually, it's probably several order of magnitude higher than that. I'd roughly say 10^9 to 10^12 4004 units to reach the performance of current CPUs.

The things is that current CPUs do in hardware things that have to be emulated (i.e. slowly) on the 4004:

- The 4004 is 4 bits per instruction, x86-64 can work directly on 64 bits registers. Hence operations on normal 32 or 64 bits integers take several instructions on 4004 while only one on x86-64.

- The number of cycles needed to execute complex integer operation such as division and multiplication has been dramatically reduced on modern CPUs.

- The 4004 has no hardware support for floating point math. Compare that with the Core i7 Sandy Bridge that can execute an operation on 8 floats in one instruction via AVX.

If you throw into the mix things like GPU (CUDA/OpenCL), it's just getting ridiculous.

Yet, it would only take of few years for the 4004 to do more computation than what civilization has ever done before the advent of electronic computer in the 1940's.

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