I was wondering if my PC has surpassed the processing power of Deep Blue which famously won against the human world champion Garry Kasparov. What was the processing speed of Deep blue as compared to todays ordinary desktop processors like core 2 duo , i3 etc. ?

  • It seems that even our mobile phones may have surpassed the Deep Blue now...
    – ab.aditya
    Jul 3, 2014 at 7:06

7 Answers 7


I saw your question and became curious myself. I found this quote from an interview with a Deep Blue coder in 2007:

Wired News: What is the state of supercomputer-versus-human matchups? How are we humans doing?

Murray Campbell: Not so well! The current world champion, Vladimir Kramnik from Russia, lost a match to a PC program in November, 4-2. If you look at the supercomputer that Deep Blue ran on, I think a present-day Cell processor has as much processing power as that entire system did in 1997.

Source: Wired's interview with Murray Campbell.


Well if wikipedia is accurate here are the specs for deep blue:

30 x RS/6000 SP Thin 120MHz P2SC-based system in a cluster. Each contained a special purpose VLSI chess chip. Running AIX.

Processing performance was 11.38 GFLOPS & at the time was the 259th most powerful supercomputer.

Ok, lets take a stab at it. It's pretty hard to tell what the VLSI chess chips were doing, but a reasonable guess is they improved performance of the chess game by doing certain heavy calculations that were slow on the CPU.

I can say for sure that the 120MHz RS/6000's are Dinosaurs by todays standards and an average desktop PC would outperform a bunch of them tied together without even getting hot. If you also count the GPU in a gamer machine e.g. the ATI Radion R800 can achieve 3.04 TFLOPS (I think single precision) and this is not the fastest out there.

Even on an average CPU I'm sure it'll outperform deep blue. Throw in the GPU and utilise CUDA and you'll probably outperform deep blue by over a hundred times.

Computing power is just way way quicker than it was 13 or so years ago.


Deep blue was also "enhanced with 480 special purpose VLSI chess chips".

Dedicated silicon for a specific task running in a massively parallel configuration can be extremely quick.

Deep Blue could evaluate 200 million positions a second. Two core Duo chips running Fritz could manage 8 million positions a second.


". In June 1997, Deep Blue was the 259th most powerful supercomputer according to the TOP500 list, achieving 11.38 GFLOPS on the High-Performance LINPACK benchmark"


"As of 2010[update], the fastest PC processors six-core has a theoretical peak performance of 107.55 GFLOPS (Intel Core i7 980 XE) in double precision calculations. GPUs are considerably more powerful. For example, NVIDIA Tesla C2050 GPU computing processors perform around 515 GFLOPS[14] in double precision calculations while AMD FireStream 9270 peaks at 240 GFLOPS.[15] In single precision performance, NVIDIA Tesla C2050 computing processors perform around 1.03 TFLOPS while AMD FireStream 9270 cards peak at 1.2 TFLOPS. Both NVIDIA and AMD's consumer gaming GPUs may reach higher FLOPS. For example, AMD’s HemlockXT 5970[15] reaches 928 GFLOPS in double precision calculations with two GPUs on board while NVIDIA GTX480 reaches 672 GFLOPS[14] with one GPU on board."


  • 2
    Nice answer, but GFLOPS buys you nothing when playing chess. I'm actually surprised that Deep Blue had an FP unit at all. According to wiki, it was capable of evaluating 200 million positions per second. I don't think current PCs can do it.
    – maaartinus
    Feb 25, 2011 at 1:58
  • 1
    Who said anything about Chess? OP's question was about processing speed. Feb 25, 2011 at 2:03
  • 5
    The OP did, when he mentioned Gary Kasparov and Deep Blue.
    – deltaray
    Feb 25, 2011 at 2:38

This question is nearly 10 years old, but it's still interesting. To put it in perspective, even an old smartphone like the iPhone 7 doing SGEMM (SGEMM is a kind of single precision multiply) scores over 46 Gflops, something like a 10th gen Intel i9 scores over 800 Gflops. These are scores I found looking around on-line, so they might not be comparing apple to apples (excuse the pun), but they are certainly indicative of the progress made over the 20+ years since Deep Blue.


No. Deepblue, an IBM machine that's comparable to the IBM eServer and AS/400 or RS/6000 is just not comparable with a PC. You say you could build a better server that run Linux with an Intel i5/i7/Xeon/Opteron, it will beat an IBM server, but in a lot of specific domains the IBM machine will outperform it. That was the case for this one. Will it run Crysis? No, or emulate it with lag. Will it run a stream of financial calculations in real time, non stop for your enterprise and keep a database of thousand employees maintaining their payroll, and manage the stock and customers too? Not wasting a single of these gigaFLOPS and never crash for years? Yes.

  • 1
    Technology is improving very fast and the question is 6 years old
    – yass
    Mar 26, 2017 at 8:45
  • I fixed some of your punctuation but the grammar needs a lot of help. I'm not entirely sure what some of the sentences actually mean here fully. This seems like more of an opinion answer rather than an objective address to the question. Mar 26, 2017 at 9:00

1997 Deep Blue ~ 11 GFLOPs

2001 Pentium-4 ~ 3 GFLOPs

2010 Core-i7 ~ 50 GFLOPs

2011 IBM Watson ~ 80 TFLOPs

2016 GTX-1080 ~ 8 TFLOPs

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