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Saw a Commodore 64 recently and it got me wondering how much faster current desktop computers than the 8 bit machines we had in the 80s.

Does anyone know approximately how much faster an i7 than the 6510(6502) processor at integer calculations.

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closed as not constructive by Journeyman Geek, Diogo, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, ChrisF, BBlake Nov 6 '12 at 14:42

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You might want to talk about a criteria like flops, but this is a bad criteria when software floating points or dissimiliar floating point requirements are taking into account. Ultimatly, you should choose a criteria. – Mikhail Nov 6 '12 at 9:42
Yep. Integer calculations. As I remember the 6510 being pretty sluggish at floating point! – Karlth Nov 6 '12 at 9:44
See also and the comments on it for discussion of how it matters a LOT what kind of workload you're talking about. If you want to make 6502 look even worse, consider a task with a large working set in memory, that would require working with segments for all pointers. Almost any modern workload wouldn't fit in a single segment, but that's not really a fair comparison. – Peter Cordes Jul 15 '15 at 16:28
up vote 7 down vote accepted conveniently has values for both:

  • MOS Technology 6502: 0.500 MIPS at 1 MHz
  • Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 3960X (Hex core): 177,730 MIPS at 3.33 GHz

So it's about 250,000 times faster. Note that this doesn't translate into UI responsiveness, as you're also running much more software.

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This also doesn't account for the difference in register widths. Each instruction on a 6502 can manipulate an 8-bit quantity while each instruction on a Core i7 can manipulate a 64-bit quantity. (Or even larger ones due to SSE, but not with full generality.) Saying it's about half a million times faster overall is not unrealistic. – David Schwartz Nov 6 '12 at 11:29
Well, the question is inherently vague; as you say, SSE, or the modern PC may come with a graphics card capable of millions of theoritical MIPS. Ultimately you have to pick a benchmark. – pjc50 Nov 6 '12 at 11:50
Ah, the memory of a C64 with 980 kiloHertz 6510 :) (0.98Mhz) – Hennes Nov 6 '12 at 13:06

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