The Change of Processor Power in the Past Four Years

Posted: , By Patcoola

The time old question about how much more powerful desktop computer processors have changed in the past few year can be answered. I will take a sample of processors from around 2009/2010 and provide a basic comparison between present day 2014 processors. Note that models and equivalent of each time period is difficult to gauge and can be very subjective, I tried to find fair comparisons. This write up also focuses on the basics and most noticeable changes in technology and trends.

AMD Processors

AMD Past AMD Present
Processor Phenom II X6 1100T FX-9590
Lithography 45 nm 32 nm
TDP 125 W 220 W
Year 2010 (Present 2014)
Benchmark* 5878 10216

A 73% increase in computing power.

What’s the differences: AMD really pushed the 9590 with a super high clock speed of 4.7-5 Ghz increasing the power consumption dramatically, as well the 9590 is a quad core with the math computing separated from the cores making a total of eight cores, the 1100T is six cores.

AMD Past AMD Present
Processor Phenom II X4 965 A10 7850K
Lithography 45 nm 32 nm
TDP 125 W 95 W
Year 2009 (Present 2014)
Benchmark* 4270 5647

A 32% increase in computing power.

What’s the differences: AMD’s 7850K is a completely new processor of it’s own called the Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). The 7850K is a dual core processor with the math computing separated from the cores plus eight graphics cores integrated together sharing the same resources and sharing computing power making a total of 12 cores. In theory all 12 cores are considered computing cores. The APU also integrates many of the motherboards components such as the L3 cache, Memory Controller and Bridges.

Present Trends

Processor TDP Cores Graphics Benchmark*
FX-9590 220 W 8 N/A 10216
FX-9370 220 W 8 N/A 9596
FX-8370 125 W 8 N/A 9115
FX-8370E 95 W 8 N/A 7982
FX-8320 125 W 8 N/A 8073
FX-8320E 95 W 8 N/A 7500
A10 7850K 95 W 4 8 5647
A10 7800 65 W 4 8 5443
A8 7600 65 W 4 6 5296

AMD’s FX processor may just be the highest wattage is history but also a fad that may disappear in the future, AMD’s TDP wattage has consistently been one of three numbers 125, 95 and 65. AMD’s trend shows an increase in cores with little to no increase in raw performance, however, AMD has switched from a low clock speed to a high clock speed. AMD has shown they can pack in more stuff into a little package while maintaining the same TDP.

AMD’s APU is an amazing design for the future and could mean wonders someday. AMD has managed to pack in powerful integrated graphics while keeping the wattage and temperature down and at an affordable price. The APU has huge untapped potential that could equal an Intel Core I7.

AMD is doing very will staying competitive despite the lack of multi-gate transistors.

Intel Processors

Intel Past Intel Present
Processor Core i7-860 Core i7-4770
Lithography 45 nm 22 nm
TDP 95 W 84 W
Year 2009 (Present 2014)
Benchmark* 5089 9898

A 94% increase in computing power.

Intel Past Intel Present
Processor Core i5-760 Core i5-4460
Lithography 45 nm 22 nm
TDP 95 W 84 W
Year 2010 (Present 2014)
Benchmark* 3926 6710

A 70% increase in computing power.

What’s the differences: All Intel processors in this sample are from the same family so the differences between them are mainly in improvements, however, the most noteworthy difference is the lithography size and the inclusion of the integrated graphics processor and the huge performance jump thanks to the multi-gate transistor (FinFET).

Present Trends

Processor TDP Cores Graphics Benchmark*
Core i7-4770 84 W 4 1 10216
Core i7-4770S 65 W 4 1 9596
Core i5-4590 84 W 4 1 7244
Core i5-4590S 65 W 2 1 7040
Core i3-4360 54 W 8 N/A 5558

Intel has kept a balance with TDP wattage and improvements, the biggest trend is the lithography size keeps getting smaller and the wattage is slowly dropping even as the graphics demands increase. As well we can expect to see improved multi-gate transistors which will increase computing power.

How things have changed or improved in four years

AMD has put a huge focus on cores and graphics cores, AMD’s goal is to integrate both as a single system. The change in raw computing power in general has been small as AMD has yet to adopt multi-gate transistors which could double AMD’s computing power. Overall AMD has managed to stay competitive focusing on multitasking and excellent integrated graphics.

Intel has made a big leap forward as they adopt multi-gate transistors thus almost doubling their computing power, as well Intel has added integrated graphics. Overall Intel processors have almost doubled in computing power, decreased in size by half and lowered power consumption.

We can except processors to be more power efficient in the future. AMD to continue adding more cores, and Intel to improve multi-gate transistors and integrated graphics.

* Benchmarks taken from
** Processors from 2009/2010 have to do with spread out release dates


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