I bought a new laptop last week. My old laptop has felt slow for quite a while, but I haven’t wanted to spend the money on buying a new one. My original plan back in 2009 was to buy a new laptop when the game started selling, but I once I started to see sales numbers, I could see that things were tight.
The test I’ve been doing with my new laptops is to see how fast they can recompile the source code. When I last upgraded my laptop, I got a 3x improvement in compile times. The new laptop brought a 31 minute compile down to 14 minutes. In those terms, it’s 2.3x as fast as my previous laptop. I have to say, it’s been 4.5 years since I bought my previous laptop, and I was hoping for a better time than that. It’s not bad, but it seems like there’s been a decline in the rate of improvement of computers. Moore’s Law is that the number of transistors double every 18 months, which is widely (and not so accurately) interpreted as doubling the speed of a computer every 18 months. It’s been three 18-month cycles since my last laptop purchase, and this certainly isn’t 2^3 times faster (which would be 8 times faster). Although, it certainly seems more than 2.3x faster in most other tasks. According to notebook check, this laptop is 2.9x – 3.8x faster in their benchmarks than my previous one.