Feeds

Research reveals mislaid microprocessor megahertz

The more CPUs speed up, the more they slow down

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

April Fool It's no wonder we need to upgrade our computers on a regular basis. Not only are chip companies regularly releasing ever-faster microprocessors, but new research has revealed that modern CPUs actually lose megahertz over time.

This startling conclusion follows a five-year research programme carried out by the Illyria University's Information Technology department.

"Five years ago, we activated a dozen new, freshly-purchased systems," said Computer Science Professor Asteio Artikolos. "Since then we have measured, on average, a 10-15 per cent reduction in the machines' clock speeds over that time. It's as if each machine's stock of megahertz were somehow leaking away.

"Each year, we have added new, faster machines. Not only have these seen a similar reduction over time in the number of processing cycles available each second, but the rate of decrease is greater than older, slower microprocessors."

So far Artikolos and his team have been unable to explain the phenomenon. One possibility is that the effect is related to the time dilation effect discovered by Einstein. Any moving body operates on a different temporal frame of reference than a static one, said Artikolis. As processors are clocked higher, so their transistors move more quickly, altering their apparent speed when measured by benchmarkers in a state frame of reference.

"It's certainly the case that many computer users notice a decrease in performance over time," Artikolos told Register Hardware. "A machine that seemed incredibly fast on the day of purchase seems torpid within three years. Traditionally, this was blamed on reduced free hard drive space and the increased memory requirements of software updates. Our research suggests a more fundamental problem, one that centres on the very way modern microprocessors operate."

Artikolos' findings pose an interesting question: where exactly are all these megahertz ending up? More research, he said, was needed.

Intel was unavailable for comment. AMD, however, claimed to be well aware of the problem and to be already designing processors capable of working beyond the limits of Einsteinian mathematics - with a negative temporal displacement facility built in.

"It's why all our processors appear two years ahead of the other guys' stuff," a spokesman said.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.