Computing Power throughout History

(Updated 13 March 2014)

References Consulted:

CPU World Website
Journey to the moon - the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer by Eldon C. Hall
A Third Survey of Domestic Electronic Digital Computing Systems; Report No 1115 by Martin H. Weik (available HERE)
Naval Engineer's Journal Volume 121 Issue 3
Intel Microprocessor Export Compliance Metrics
Compute!
#132 (August 1991) (Link to Web Article) (Rehosted Article)
Cray X-MP Series Model 48 Mainframe Reference Manual, Cray Research Inc. (August 1984) (11.6~ MB PDF)
DHRYSTONE” Benchmark Program by Reinhold P. Weicker (December 1984) (Original Link) (Rehosted)
The CRAY X-MP Series of Computer Systems, Cray Research Inc. (1985) (4.4 MB PDF)
Roy Longbottom’s PC Benchmark Collection (Claims 1980-96) (Link)
Tech Power Up’s GPU Database (Link)
Maximum PC Retrospective on GPUs (Link)
[Note: A lot of early computing history information and brochures are available at bitsavers.org and archive.computerhistory.org. I’ve rehosted the PDFs I’ve found there on my server to provide a backup for readers, in case those locations go down.]

Note On Data

I have tried to collect as many performance metrics as possible, from transistor counts to GFLOPs and Composite Theoretical Performance (CTP) so that you can have some sort of method to compare the march of computing power through history.

For me, when things are fuzzy, I tend to fall back onto transistor counts and clock speed as they are a general rule of thumb to show how powerful a computer is that is somewhat free of marketing buzzwords like “Blast Processing” circa mid 90s from Sega Genesis ads.

IBM System/4Pi-EP (Manned Orbiting Laboratory)

Weight: 167 lbs
Volume: 4 ft3
Power: 763W

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971

Univac 1824-MGC (Titan IIIC)

Weight: 100 lbs
Volume: 2 ft3
Power: 168W

Notes: Used discrete components mixed in with DTL ICs.

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971

IBM LVDC (Saturn IB / Saturn V)

Weight: 80 lbs
Volume: 2.1 ft3
Power: 138W

Notes: Used discrete components.

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971

IBM ASC-15 (Saturn I) (1958)

Weight: 75 lbs
Volume: 2.12 ft3
Power: 150W
Memory: 6,886 words @ 22 bits (18,936.5~ bytes) in Drum Memory

Notes: Used discrete components.

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971

AN/FSQ-7 SAGE (1958)

Memory (1958): 8,192 words @ 33 bits (33,792 bytes) in magnetic core memory
Storage (1958): 147,456 words @ 32 bits (589,824 bytes) in magnetic drums

Memory (1961): 69,632 words @ 33 bits (287,232 bytes) in magnetic core memory
Storage (1961): 153,600 words @ 33 bits (633,600 bytes) in magnetic drums

Vacuum Tubes: 50,000
Diodes: 170,000
Transistors: 703

Operating System: 1 million lines of code
Power Consumption (Computer): 1.5 MW
Power Consumption (Air Conditioning):
288 kilowatts
Volume (Computer): 10,450 ft3
Volume (Air Conditioning): 8,500 ft3
Floor Area (Computer): 1,580 ft2
Floor Area (Air Conditioning): 1,250 ft2
Weight (Computer): 113.1 tons
IOPS: 75,000 operations

Notes: SAGE was a duplex system; e.g. it was actually two separate computers linked together for system reliability; so that one could be running while the other was down for repairs. So divide the vacuum tubes, etc by two.

Librascope-3 ASN-24 (Centaur) (1961)

Weight: 67 lbs
Volume: 1.83 ft3
Power: 150W~

References:
NASA SP-8070
Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

IBM Gemini Digital Computer (GDC) (1963)

Memory: 12,288 words @ 13 bits (19,968 bytes)
Clock Speed: 0.5 MHz
Transistors: Unknown
Volume: 1.35 ft3
Weight: 58.98 lbs
Power Consumption: 94.54 watts
Operations Per Second: 7,000~

MIT/Raytheon Apollo Guidance Computer, Block I (1964)

Memory (ROM): 24,576 words @ 16 bits (49,152 bytes)
Memory (RAM): 1,024 words @ 16 bits (2,048 bytes)
Clock Speed: 1 MHz
Transistors: 12,300 (4,100 NOR Gates, each containing 3 transistors and 4 resistors)
Volume: 1.21 ft3
Weight: 87 lbs
Power Consumption: 85 Watts

MIT/Raytheon Apollo Guidance Computer, Block II (1965)

Memory (ROM): 36,864 words @ 16 bits (73,728 bytes)
Memory (RAM): 2,048 words @ 16 bits (4,096 bytes)
Clock Speed: 1 MHz
Transistors: 16,800 (5,600 NOR Gates, each containing 3 transistors and 4 resistors)
Volume: 0.97 ft3
Weight: 70 lbs
Power Consumption: 55 Watts

Honeywell HDC-701 (Minuteman III)

Weight: 50 lbs
Volume: 1.2 ft3
Power Consumption: 270W

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971

AN/ASG-18 Fire Control Computer

Memory (ROM): 40,960 words @ 19 bits (97,280 bytes)
Memory (RAM):
1,280 words @ 19 bits (3,040 bytes)
Transistors
: 1,683
Volume: 2.1 ft3
Weight: 135 lbs
Power Consumption: 850 watts

Notes: System ROM/RAM are carried in Magnetic Drums.

AN/ASQ-28 Emergency Digital Computer

Memory (ROM): 3,456 words @ 26 bits (11,232 bytes)
Memory (RAM):
38 words @ 26 bits (123.5 bytes)
Diodes:
4,395
Transistors
: 592
Volume: 1.9 ft3
Weight: 81 lbs
Power Consumption: 250 watts

Notes: Backup Bomb/Nav computer for B-70A.

AN/ASQ-28 Main Digital Computer

Memory: 1,024 words @ 24 bits (3,072 bytes) in Core Rope Memory
Memory: 26,624 words (Instructions) @ 16 bits (53,248 bytes) in Magnetic Drum Memory
Memory:
6,656 words (Constants) @ 24 bits (19,968 bytes) in Magnetic Drum Memory
Diodes:
13,076
Transistors
: 1,697
Volume: 7.4 ft3
Weight: 260 lbs
Power Consumption: 800 watts

Notes: Main Bomb/Nav computer for B-70A.

Polaris Guidance Computer, Mark I (19xx)

Transistors: 1,200 (400 NOR Gates, each containing 3 transistors or equivalents)
Volume: 0.4 ft3
Weight: 26 lbs
Power Consumption: 80 Watts

Polaris Guidance Computer, Mark II (19xx)

Memory (ROM): 12 words @ 17 bits (25.5 bytes)
Clock Speed: 0.0816 MHz
Transistors: 2,400 (800 NOR Gates, each containing 3 transistors or equivalents)
Volume: 0.1 ft3
Weight: 12 lbs
Power Consumption: 40 Watts

Poseidon Guidance Computer, Mark III (19xx)

Memory (ROM): 100KB (used for guidance formulations)
Memory (RAM): 12KB (stored variables that were read in during flight)
Transistors: 15,000 (5,000 NOR Gates, each containing 3 transistors or equivalents)

Notes: Uses plated-wire RAM for radiation-hardening purposes.

Poseidon Guidance Computer, Mark IV (19xx)

Notes: Was canceled.

Trident Guidance Computer, Mark V (19xx)

System: Trident I C-4
Memory (ROM):
200 KB (used for guidance formulations)
Memory (RAM): 48 KB (stored variables that were read in during flight)

Notes: Uses plated-wire RAM for radiation-hardening purposes.

Autonetics D37B (Minuteman II “Soft”)

References:
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

Autonetics D37C (Minuteman II “Hard”)

Weight: 40 pounds
Volume: 0.43 ft3
Memory: 7,225 words @ ? bits
Power Consumption: 315W

References:
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

Autonetics D37D ()

Weight: 42 pounds
Volume: 0.6 ft3
Memory: 14,137 words @ ? bits

References:
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

AP-1 (CP-1075/AYK) (19xx)

Memory
Clock Speed:
Transistors:
Volume: 0.9 ft3
Weight: 40 lbs
Power Consumption:
Operations Per Second: 450,000 (not sure)

Notes: Used on F-15A Eagle. OPS is from “The directory of defense electronics products: United States manufacturers, 1975”

AP-101B General Purpose Computer

Memory: 104,000 words @ 32 bits (416,000 bytes) of iron core memory
Weight: 114 lbs
Power Consumption: 650 watts
Operations Per Second: 400,000~
MTBF: 5,200 hours

Notes: Used on Space Shuttle from 1981-1991, when it was phased out in favor of AP-101S. Operates in 4+1 configuration with four “voting” units and a backup unit.

AP-101S General Purpose Computer

Memory: 256,000 words @ 32 bits (1,024,000 bytes) of CMOS memory
Weight: 64 lbs
Power Consumption: 550 watts
Operations Per Second: 1.2 million
MTBF: 10,000 hours

Notes: Used on Space Shuttle from 1991-2011. First launch was STS-37. Operates in 4+1 configuration with four “voting” units and a backup unit.

Trident Guidance Computer, Mark VI (19xx)

System: Trident II D-5
Memory (ROM):
1 MB (used for guidance formulations)
Memory (RAM): 200 KB (stored variables that were read in during flight)

Notes: Uses plated-wire RAM for radiation-hardening purposes.

Autonetics D17 (Minuteman I) (1960)

Weight: 70 pounds
Volume: 1.55 ft3
Power Consumption: 350 Watts

References:
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

Teledyne TDY-300 (Improved Centaur) (1970)

Weight: 27 lbs
Volume: 1.25 ft3
Power: 185W
Memory Capacity:
             8,196 @ 24 bits (24,588~ bytes) core rope memory
                          or
             16,384 words @ 24 bits (49,152~ bytes) core rope memory

References:
NASA SP-8070 Spaceborne Digital Computer Systems, March 1971
Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles by Marshall W. McMurran

Intel 4004 (1971)

Transistor Count: 2,300
Clock Speed: 0.74 MHz
Process Scale:
Thermal Design Power: 0.63 Watts
Operations Per Second: 92,000
Dhrystone: 0.1 DMIPS

Notes: First Microprocessor in history.

Argon-16 (1974)

Memory: 2 kb RAM
Storage: 16 kb ROM
Operations Per Second: 200,000

Notes: Analog flight control computer used on Soyuz from 1974 to 2010.

Zilog Z80 (1976)

Transistor Count: 6,000~
Clock Speed: 2.5 to 12 MHz (depending on version)
Thermal Design Power: 0.25 to 1.05 Watts (depending on version)

Notes: Widely used in embedded applications, such as Texas' Instrument's TI-8x series of graphing calculators..

Cray-1A “Supercomputer” (1977)

Clock Speed: 80 MHz
Peak Performance: 160 MFLOPs
Sustained Performance: 50~ MFLOPs
Memory: 8 MB
Disk Space: 2.5 GB

Intel 8086-4 (1978)

Transistor Count: 29,000
Clock Speed: 4 MHz
Process Scale:
Thermal Design Power: 1.79 Watts

AN/UYK-7 Single Bay Version (1970)

Memory: 48,000 words @ 32 bits (1,536,000 bytes)
Speed: 750,000 FLOPS

Notes: Major component of the AEGIS Mk 7 Weapons System.

AN/UYK-20

Memory: 8,000 to 64,000 words @ 16 bits (128,000 to 1,024,000 bytes)
Dimensions: 20” high, 19” wide and 24” deep
MTBF: 2,000 hours (1984)

AN/UYK-20A

Memory: 32,000 to 262,000 words @ 16 bits (512,000 to 4,192,000 bytes)

AN/UYK-43

MTBF: 56,000 hrs (Claimed)

Motorola 68000 (1980)

Transistor Count: 40,000~
Clock Speed: 4, 6, and 8 MHz available in 1980. 10 MHz by 1981. 12.5 MHz by 1982.
Operations Per Second: 1 MIPS at 8 MHz

Notes: Early on, the 68000 was used in high end stations, then by the late 1980s, it had become cheap enough (below $30 per CPU) to begin to be used in consumer electronics like the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. By 1998, prices on the 68000 had become cheap enough to enable it to be used in TI-89 Graphing Calculators.

Intel 286-12 (1982)

Transistor Count: 134,000
Clock Speed: 12.5 MHz
Process Scale:
Thermal Design Power: 3.3 Watts

Cray X-MP/1x Series “Supercomputer” (1983)

X-MP/11 Memory (RAM): 1 million words @ 64 bits (8 MB)
X-MP/12 Memory (RAM):
2 million words @ 64 bits (16 MB)
X-MP/14 Memory (RAM):
4 million words @ 64 bits (32 MB)
X-MP/18 Memory (RAM):
8 million words @ 64 bits (64 MB)
Benchmarks:
200 MFLOP (1 x 200 MFLOP CPUs)
                                                or
                        105 million floating-point additions/second per CPU
                        105 million floating-point multiplications/second per CPU
                        105 million half-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU
                        33 million full-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU
Dhrystone (X-MP/12): 12,204 average (registers+no registers) or 6.94 DMIPS.

Cray X-MP/2x Series “Supercomputer” (1983)

X-MP/24 Memory (RAM): 4 million words @ 64 bits (32 MB)
X-MP/28 Memory (RAM):
8 million words @ 64 bits (64 MB)
X-MP/216 Memory (RAM): 16 million words @ 64 bits (128 MB)
Benchmarks:
400 MFLOP (2 x 200 MFLOP CPUs)
                                                or
                        105 million floating-point additions/second per CPU
                        105 million floating-point multiplications/second per CPU
                        105 million half-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU
                        33 million full-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU

Cray X-MP/4x Series “Supercomputer” (1983)

X-MP/48 Memory (RAM): 8 million words @ 64 bits (64 MB)
X-MP/416 Memory (RAM): 16 million words @ 64 bits (128 MB)
Benchmarks:
800 MFLOP (4 x 200 MFLOP CPUs)
                                                or
                        105 million floating-point additions/second per CPU
                        105 million floating-point multiplications/second per CPU
                        105 million half-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU
                        33 million full-precision floating-point divisions/second per CPU
Dhrystone (X-MP/48): 16,741 average (registers+no registers) or 9.52 DMIPS (possibly for just one CPU)

Intel 386DX-16 (1985)

Transistor Count: 275,000
Clock Speed: 16 MHz
Process Scale:
Thermal Design Power: 2.3 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 2.778 MTOPS

Intel 386DX-25 (1988)

Transistor Count: 275,000
Clock Speed: 25 MHz
Process Scale:
Thermal Design Power: 2.89 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 2.778 MTOPS

Intel 486DX-33 (May 1990)

Transistor Count: 1.2 million
Clock Speed: 33 MHz
Process Scale: 8000nm
Thermal Design Power: 4.73 Watts
CTP Benchmarks: 12.407 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.03 GFLOPS

Intel 486DX2-50 (March 1992)

Transistor Count: 1.2 million
Clock Speed: 50 MHz
Process Scale: 8000nm
Thermal Design Power: 5 Watts
CTP Benchmarks: 18.611 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.05 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 24 DMIPS

Intel Pentium 60 (March 1993)

Transistor Count: 3.1 million
Clock Speed: 60 MHz
Process Scale: 800 nm
Thermal Design Power: 14.6 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 60 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.06 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 70 DMIPS

Intel Pentium 90 (March 1994)

Transistor Count: 3.2 million
Clock Speed: 90 MHz
Process Scale: 600 nm
Thermal Design Power: 9 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 90 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.09 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 107 DMIPS

Voodoo I 4MB Card (1996)

Transistor Count: 2 million
Process Scale: 500 nm
Fill Rate: 47 to 50 megapixels/sec

Notes: Transistor count was split evenly amongst a Raster and Texture chip, each with 1m transistors.

Intel Pentium 200 (June 1996)

Transistor Count: 3.3 million
Clock Speed: 200 MHz
Process Scale: 350 nm
Thermal Design Power: 15.5 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 233.334 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.2 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 224 DMIPS

Intel Pentium II-233 (May 1997)

Transistor Count: 7.5 million
Clock Speed: 233 MHz
Process Scale: 350 nm
Thermal Design Power: 34.8 Watts
CTP Benchmark: UNKNOWN
Benchmarks: 0.23 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 309 DMIPS

Voodoo II 8MB or 12MB Card (1998)

Transistor Count: 4 million
Process Scale: 350 nm
Fill Rate: 90 megapixels/sec

Intel Pentium II-450 (August 1998)

Transistor Count: 7.5 million
Clock Speed: 450 MHz
Process Scale: 250 nm
Thermal Design Power: 27.1 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 525 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.45 GFLOPS

Intel Pentium III 500 (February 1999)

Transistor Count: 28 million
Clock Speed: 500 MHz
Process Scale: 180 nm
Thermal Design Power: 16 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 1,166 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 1 GFLOP

GeForce 2 GTS 32 MB Card (April 2000)

Transistor Count: 25 million
Process Scale: 180 nm
Fill Rate: 0.8 gigapixels/sec, 1.6 gigatexels/sec

Intel Pentium III 1 GHz (March 2000)

Transistor Count: 28 million
Clock Speed: 1,400 MHz
Process Scale: 130 nm
Thermal Design Power: 29 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 2,333 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 2 GFLOPS

Intel Pentium 4 1.6 GHz (Willamette) (July/August 2001)

Transistor Count: 42 million
Clock Speed: 1,600 MHz
Process Scale: 180 nm
Thermal Design Power: 61 Watts

Intel Pentium 4 – 520 (Prescott) (June 2004)

Transistor Count: 125 million
Clock Speed: 2,800 MHz
Process Scale: 90 nm
Thermal Design Power: 84 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 10,696 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 5.60 GFLOPS
PCMark 2005: 3,522 points

GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB Card (2006)

Transistor Count: 681 million
Process Scale: 90 nm
Fill Rate: 10 gigapixels/sec, 12 gigatexels/sec
Benchmarks: 228 GFLOPs
Thermal Design Power: 150 Watts

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (January 2007)

Transistor Count: 528 million
Clock Speed: 2,400 MHz
Process Scale: 65nm
Thermal Design Power: 95 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 72,800 MTOPS
SiSoft Sandra Dhrystone: 39,400~ MIPS
Benchmarks: 38.4 GFLOPS
PCMark 2005: 7,770 points
PCMark Vantage: 6,506 points
Dhrystone: Around 45,000~ DMIPS.

Intel Atom N270 (June 2008)

Transistor Count: 47 million
Clock Speed:
1,600 MHz
Process Scale:
45nm
Chip Size: 26 mm2
Thermal Design Power:
2.5 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 7,200 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 3.2 GFLOPS
Dhrystone: 3,846 DMIPS
PCMark 2005: Around 1,500 points
PCMark Vantage: Around 1,200 points.

Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 (January 2009)

Transistor Count: 410 million
Clock Speed: 2,200 MHz
Process Scale: 45 nm
Chip Size: 107 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 35 Watts
SiSoft Sandra Dhrystone: 20,100~ MIPS
CTP Benchmark: 34,467 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 17.6 GFLOPS
PCMark Vantage: 4,793 points (Toshiba A505 Satellite)

Intel Core i7-950 (May 2009)

Transistor Count: 731 million
Clock Speed: 3,066 MHz
Process Scale: 45nm
Chip Size: 263 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 130 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 92,820 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 48.96 GFLOPS
PCMark Vantage: 9,834 points

TsVM-101 (2010)

Memory: 2 MB RAM
Storage: 2 MB ROM
Speed: 8 million operations/sec
Weight: 26~ kg
Power: 80 watts
Operational Life: 35,000 hours

Notes: All-digital computer to be used on Soyuz from 2010 onwards.

Intel Atom D510 Dual Core (December 2009)

Transistor Count: 176 million
Clock Speed:
1,660 MHz
Process Scale:
45 nm
Chip Size: 87 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 13 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 7,470 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 3.32 GFLOPS
PCMark Vantage: 1,830 points

Notes: A fanless heat sink assembly is available for this processor, making it virtually noiseless.

Intel Core i7-980 (June 2011)

Transistor Count: 1,170 million
Clock Speed: 3,300 MHz
Process Scale: 32 nm
Chip Size: 239 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 130 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 149,985 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 79.992 GFLOPS

AMD E-300 Dual Core (August 2011)

Transistor Count: Unknown
Clock Speed:
1,300 MHz
Process Scale:
40 nm
Chip Size: 75 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 18 Watts
PCMark Vantage: 2,248 points

Notes: Has integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU with 80 shaders.

AMD E-350 Dual Core (January 2011)

Transistor Count: 380 million
Clock Speed:
1,600 MHz
Process Scale:
40 nm
Chip Size: 75 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 18 Watts
SiSoft Sandra Dhrystone: 9,600~ MIPS

Notes: Has integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU with 80 shaders.

AMD E-450 Dual Core (August 2011)

Transistor Count: Unknown
Clock Speed:
1,650 MHz
Process Scale:
40 nm
Chip Size: 75 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 18 Watts
PCMark Vantage: 2,718 points

Notes: Has integrated Radeon HD 6320 GPU with 80 shaders.

Core i7-3770 (Ivy Bridge) (April 2012)

Transistor Count: 1,400~ million
Clock Speed: 3,400 MHz
Process Scale: 22 nm
Chip Size: 160 mm2
Thermal Design Power: 77 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 136,000 MTOPS (Base)
Benchmarks: 108.8 GFLOPS (Base)

Notes: Has integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU.

GeForce GT 630 Rev.2 2048MB (May 2013)

Process Scale: 28 nm
Fill Rate: 7.22 gigapixels/sec, 14.4 gigatexels/sec
Benchmarks: 692.7 GFLOPs

GeForce GTX 780 r.2

Transistor Count: 7,080~ million
Process Scale:
28 nm
Thermal Design Power: 250 Watts
Fill Rate: 41 gigapixels/sec, 166 gigatexels/sec
Benchmarks: 3,977 GFLOPs