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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, techie007, 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! –  user80237 Nov 6 '12 at 9:44
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_per_second 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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