For the past half century, the processor has doubled in capacity every two years and has become faster, cheaper and more energy efficient. But as chip capacity began to approach physical limits, they became more expensive to produce and manufacturing hit a profit wall. In the past five years or so, instead of increasing speed, reducing power consumption and lowering costs with each generation, chip makers have had to choose two out of three to stay competitive.
They picked energy efficiency and lower cost, and compensated for lack of speed increase by using multiple cores that allowed processes to run in parallel. These individual cores, even if bundled in a 2, 4, 6 or 8 core processor aren’t substantially faster. In fact, because energy efficiency has become a high priority for chip manufacturers, individual cores have become somewhat underpowered.