Intelligent Machines

March of the Machines

The growth in processor power over the last 40 years seems so uniform that it almost has the status of a law of nature. Moore’s Law, as it is called, states that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years. We don’t know how long it will hold true, but here are some of the most significant chips and devices this growth has made possible.

files/39895/TR_moores_02.swf

Explore the exponential growth in processor power over the last four decades with this interactive graph. The number of transistors belonging to key microprocessor in computing history is plotted against time. Click on each data point to see a description of the chip, and the influential products that were based on them.

This story is part of our May/June 2010 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Credit: Alastair Halliday

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.