The GHZ is a story about the evolution of The GHZ and the meaning of the acronym. The GHZ is a history of computers as we know it. Computers have changed considerably over the years. In the 50’s a computer used for simple calculations would have taken up a football field, and the military needed entire base facilities just to house their computers. Back in the 50’s you didn’t work on a computer, you worked inside the computer! Finally in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the first PC’s, the 8088’s, where released and back then it would have cost you $1500 for a monochrome monitor, an 8088, and a printer that only printed Ascii and only in black and white.
The 8088 was the onset of a new theme smaller is better. With new silicon based technologies allowing companies to produce smaller and smaller pipelines by which electricity could pass came faster and smaller computers. A Silicon chip contains all the same pipelines and electrical conduits that use to run through entire buildings in a core no bigger then your pinky. Once this technology became available the progress in computers excelled at an astounding rate.
The advent of the 80286 came out next running at double the speed of the 8088. Still this wasn’t enough for a decade, and the next thing you know the 80386 was released! the frequency of the 386 as compared to the 286 wasn’t that significant, but these PCs where becoming gaming machines capable of real time processing and basic AI at the same time. Finally around the end of the 80’s the 486 was released and you could run some of the later 486 processors at nearly 100 mhz! Wolfenstein was the big thing in this era followed by Doom in the early to mid 90’s.
The 90’s began a new fab Intel released the pentium 1, Cyrix, and AMD. New companies released there first processors to the IBM PC market, and we get the P2, P3, and early P4’s. In this decade we went from 100 mhz to 1 GHZ with Intel still leading the way. Towards the end of the decade Intel began falling behind as AMD caught up and Cyrix dropped out of the race.
It’s 2000 now the millennium bug is all the rage. Computer companies are making people paranoid in order to market new products, and we are falling for it. In this next decade 2000 till now we went from the 1Ghz processors of 10 years ago, and shot up to 3 GHZ wait that’s only a 3X increase right? Not quite, you see our 3 GHZ processors of today have 4 cores! They really operate each at 3 GHZ giving more capacity to process then a single core processor running at 12 GHZ so we increased in 10 years time by 1,500%
The computers of the 80’s are so antique now they don’t really even serve a purpose anymore, today we melt them down for scrap gold. It’s insane to think of the processing power and memory capacity of today computers when compared to the 8088 or even the 80286, 80386, 80486, or P1. Just in the last 20 years computers have gone so far in leaps and bounds. The late 90’s computers where just peaking at 350 mhz for a good Pentium 2 processor.
To put this into better perspective, an average PC today runs at 3Ghz and has 4 cores in it each able to be utilized for another task. “1 Ghz = 1,000 Mhz” The 8088 was a single core processor which ran at approximately 9 Mhz, so in comparison 9 * 1300 = 11,700 mhz or 11.7 GHZ, which is slower then a 4 core 3 Ghz processor due to it having separate threads. This is just in terms of speed so you figure our computers today are more then 150,000% faster then the computers of the 80’s. Remember this is just in clock cycles we haven’t gone on to comparing memory or hard drive space yet.
The average computer in the 80’s the 8088 had 2 megs of memory, where the average computer of today has 2 gigs, many have 4 gigs or more. That’s a 200,000% increase. The memory of the 80’s ran on a 2 mhz bus between the processor and the memory, today’s computers typical memory buss is 866, and we have boards and memory capable of running bus speeds of up to 1.6 Ghz. The typical video card of that era was Monochrome! This means 1 color “lit” now our monitors produce 32bit color that’s 16,777,216 colors. I’m to lazy to calculate multiplier for that increase…
Now in comparison video cards use to have 512 kb(Kylobytes), where as a common Video card is 512 megs today. That is a 100,000% increase again, and the common video processor was 1 mhz. Today it’s not uncommon to see a video card core clock at 600+, and that’s not counting the Shader clock, which is a group of separate cores specifically designed to produce shading effects.
In terms of vertices a video card is able to produce, the video cards back then may have made 6 vertices at a time or been capable of drawing 2 triangles at a time without slowing down. Today we draw millions of small triangles in each image we represent, 2d has been rendered obsolete because our video cards are so capable now that the triangles can be so small, that you can’t even tell they are triangles anymore. Then with added shaders and smoothers we have been able to make a circle look like a perfectly smooth circle.
A hardrive in the mid 80’s could hold approximately 50 mb of data. Today and here’s a relatively new term we have TerraByte Hard Drives that’s 1000 Gb or 1 million MB another 200,000% increase so all in all the computers of today are approximately 150,000% faster then 30 years ago. and 100,000% faster then 20 years ago 2,000% faster then 10 years ago and 2X faster then just 4 years ago.
Amazing indeed such an increase of processing power and nearly all within my lifetime.