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Need for speed: Why computers stopped getting faster

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mg22530091.500-1_1200Dizzily increasing PC power used to be a given. No longer – speeds stalled a decade ago and only a radical reboot of computing will accelerate things

TEN years ago, computers stopped getting faster. Stroking your sleek smartphone or latest laptop, this may seem a rather implausible statement. Surely there’s no contest between it and a decade-old desktop?

That’s true – in a way. But even if computer chips weren’t made of silicon, the comparison would be built on sand. Continually increasing computing power used to rest on a solid foundation of ever smaller, faster chips. In the past decade, though, it has become a case of using more chips, less efficiently. Chip speed stalled sometime around 2004.

You don’t need to be the type who camps outside stores for the latest gizmo to be concerned. Since the silicon chip’s invention some 40 years ago, …

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