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Computing Power

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Aginor, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Hey y'all!

    Cross-posting this from another forum because it might be entertaining for some.


    So, today I ran this old gem on my phone, on ScummVM.

    Screenshot_20191118-195621_ScummVM.jpg

    And I wondered just how much faster my phone is, compared to the speed of the PC I played this game on, in… 1990 I guess.

    And WTF. I knew today’s stuff is a lot faster, but seeing the numbers is insane. It doesn’t feel right, like, if someone just was off by an order of magnitude or two. It is just unreal.

    So let’s see.
    MIPS = Millions operations per second
    FLOPS = Floating point operations per second. Usually in MFLOPS or GFLOPS (M = millions, G = billions and so on)

    My PC back then was an 80286 with a stunning 12 MHz and a MIPS claim of… two point six. 2.6 MIPS.
    I can’t say a FLOPS number since it couldn’t do floating point operations at all. Damn. I don’t know enough about theoretical computer science to make an approximation if one would just use big numbers and shift them around.
    So, I went and looked at the weakest comparable processor I could find that could do floating point operations, a (much faster) 80486/25. That one is at least four times as fast (in fact its MIPS claim is a stunning fifteen (15), so that’s six times faster) Its MFLOPS number is… wait for it… One. Literally. 1. Uno. That’s it. Cool. So let’s take this.

    Edit: corrected some numbers.
    Now, my Samsung Galaxy S9 has an integrated GPU/CPU unit, a Snapdragon 845.
    Conservatively speaking the CPU alone should have a raw computing power of… somewhere between 200 and 300. GFLOPS. No, not MFLOPS. GFLOPS. With G.

    The GPU/CPU comes in at (conservatively computed according to my source) at least 720 GFLOPS.

    1 GFLOPS is 1000 MFLOPS.

    So that difference between my old PC and my phone is… man, that’s… pulls out calculator … no wait… That’s a factor of…
    700,000??? Seven-hundred-thousand??? (And that’s compared to the 80486, and not the 80286)
    …so I don’t even exaggerate when I say that my phone is more than a million times faster than my old PC??

    At which point did we enter the future? This is clearly the future.


    Edit: did I mention that this is a phone? A PHONE!
    It isn’t even a PC! A modern graphics card for 500 bucks would be fast enough to make the top500 super computer list of 2008 (not a joke, an RTX2070 can do 14 TFLOPS or so).

    Have a good day, all you people of the future! :D
     
  2. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Related XKCD:
    abstraction.png

    Just for laughs I tried to figure out what was the first PC I had that exceeded 1 GFLOPS.
    It was the Pentium III, 1000 MHz that I got back in 2000, with 2 GFLOPS.
    Its predecessor was a Pentium 400 from 1997 that could do around 400 MFLOPS.

    Then I tried to figure out which PC of mine was the last one that gets beaten by my current phone.
    It looks like a decent PC from 2010 (especially with a then current gaming GPU, as GPUs are much better in FLOPS) can beat my phone, but back then I still had my GeForce 9800 GT and that one loses.
    So for me the answer is: the one from 2008 that I had until I bought a new one in 2013 (I didn’t play a lot of games that needed a fast PC during that time).
     
  3. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Then another user suggested to compare to the fastest super computer available at some point (like for example the day of someone's birth).

    This one is the fastest super computer at the time I was born:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray_X-MP

    My phone beats its computing power by a factor of roughly 1000.
     
  4. Warden
    OldBlood

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Loved this thread. Great rabbit holes to dive down into.

    It is amazing what we are able to do with computers nowadays.

    Even more amazing to realize the great lengths and feats of engineering it took for our ancestors to get people to the moon without modern technology.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Crowsfoot
    Slann

    Crowsfoot Guardian of Paints Staff Member

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    I'm playing Raid on my phone, visuals are stunning, yet my pc can't even run TW2
     
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  6. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Fun fact: not only is your phone faster than the Apollo guidance computer they had on board, it is also more powerful than the computers NASA had on the ground.
    ...and more powerful than ALL computers from that year combined.
     
  7. NIGHTBRINGER
    Slann

    NIGHTBRINGER Second Spawning

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    Either can mine... damn GPU. :(
     
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  8. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    It's amazing. I knew all these things, but you usually don't think too much about it.
    When you focus the concept, it's really breathtaking.
     
    Aginor and Paradoxical Pacifism like this.
  9. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    That's my reaction every time I think about it.

    Knowing the numbers is one thing, but sitting back, compiling them together and putting them into perspective is an eye opener. Every time.

    I like to play complex flight simulators (X-Plane 11, DCS World), and in recent years those simulators have started doing their flight models differently.
    In earlier days those were basically performance tables based on a few parameters such as altitude, speed, and angle of attack.
    The system looked up those tables and applied forces onto the plane.
    It was a lot of work to create those, and they were always approximations that worked halfway well during normal flight operations, but failed to recreate some special characteristics that planes have. They never felt really realistic.

    Nowadays things are...different. They actually use the 3D model of the aircraft, build a few thousand surfaces, and compute the forces (lift, drag, pressure, heat and so on) for each of those.
    Basically they do what aerospace engineers do when designing a real plane, an aerodynamic simulation.

    Including stuff like for example buffets, mach tuck, partial stalls, or wings creating vortices that can hit the ground, other planes, or even other parts of the same plane (such as the horizontal stabilizers or control surfaces).

    They do that in real time (several times per second, for each plane in the simulation) now. For a PC game.
    That was straight up impossible until quite recently.
     

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