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Author Topic: Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?  (Read 3692 times)

Michael Finley

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Michael Finley asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Are newer computers more efficient than older ones, like a fridge or a furnace?  

How do I know when to get a new PC or Mac?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/02/2011 16:30:05 by _system »


 

Offline Pumblechook

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Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?
« Reply #1 on: 06/02/2011 17:44:27 »
I would have thought that any increase in efficiency is minor and the latest computers with more and more memory etc might actually consume more power.
 

Offline graham.d

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Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?
« Reply #2 on: 06/02/2011 19:08:34 »
If you measure efficiency in some sensible way like (for example) the number of floating point multiplications per Watt of power then they are getting more efficient all the time. Actually, by any sensible measure, efficiency has improved vastly over the years and is continuing to do so. A modern computer may use a similar amount of power to a computer 20 years ago but you can now do over 1000x the amount of calculations per second compared to the old one.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?
« Reply #3 on: 06/02/2011 22:12:17 »
There are many aspects to the question.

The computers of the 1960 through early 1980's were resource HOGS.
So in that sense, a modern laptop is more efficient than a room full of computer circuits.

One of the big changes in microcomputers is the ability to push more power into the CPU.

So, the first IBM PC's all used passive cooling of their 4.77 MHZ CPU.
The new 3 GHZ CPU's almost all require active cooling due to much higher power consumption.

Likewise, I would think there would be a power consumption shift from MGA to VGA to SVGA to XGA to UXGA, WUXGA....

Should I add in teletypes?
 

Offline thedoc

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Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2011 19:08:47 »
We discussed this question on our  show
We put this question to Mike Muller of ARM...
Mike -  There’s no doubt, newer computers are more efficient than older ones and they get better every year. It’s the perennial technology question of, “If you wait just a bit longer, you can get one that goes faster, takes less power, and will be a bit cheaper.” But you can always wait forever...
Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 01/01/1970 01:00:00 by _system »
 

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Are newer computers more efficient than older ones?
« Reply #4 on: 08/02/2011 19:08:47 »

 

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