In PC hardware, such as CPUs and GPUs, is the transistor count 'actual' or is it like saying this car has 300 horsepower. The car doesn't really have horses under its hood. Is it the same with the chips?
If the transistor count is 'actual' how are the engineers able to manipulate more than 4 billion transistors (and counting) every year or so for new architectures? Do they actually manipulate individual transistors (I know they don't interact with it physically, but when designing the architecture, do they actually fiddle around with individual transistors on the schematics?)