Cache is king when it comes to designing the gaming CPUs of the next 20 years

Read more: the future of CPUs

If you remove the heat spreader from a processor, clean it up, and use specialised camera equipment, you’ll see some spectacular silicon staring back at you. Each individual section of the processor is a pivotal part in delivering performance, and the number of key bits inside that processor have grown exponentially over the past half century.

Take the Intel 4004: the highly influential microprocessor that supercharged the modern era of computing in 1971. It has 2,300 transistors. Today’s CPUs count transistors by the billion. Some server chips contain as many 70–80 billion, making up double-digit core counts, huge caches, and rapid interconnects, as do some of the largest GPUs.

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