Back in 2000 which was quite some time ago, the first 1GHz processor was released. It was the Intel and AMD that were competing with each other. In modern times, the processors have not just doubled or tripled but quadrupled in frequency. It seems like we are going to reach 10GHz but what is slowing down our progress?
The main problem at the moment now is heat. When the frequencies increases, more heat is generated. That’s why you often see professional overclockers use liquid nitrogen when trying to push the clock speeds however that is impractical.
“The main limitation is found in the conveyor level, which is integral to the superscalar structure. Functionally, every execution of a processor’s instruction is divided into several steps… These steps follow each other sequentially, and each is executed on a separate computing device,” as Zhislina wrote on the blog, “What does this have to do with frequency? Actually, different stages can vary in execution time. At the same time, different steps of the same instruction are executed during different clock ticks. Clock tick length (and frequency as well) of the processor should fit the longest step.”
This technical nature of CPU design is why frequencies are no longer being pushed higher as much as they once were. A higher frequency will only help the initial execution but this will only result in delays further down the line. The only way to raise the frequency is the shorten the longest step but that will make the design very complicated on the nanometer scale and the heat emission will increase significantly.
There lies the problem since there are not many ways of doing that right now. A suggested way is to create a more advanced technological process that can reduce the size of the components. This will make the processor faster since the electrical impulses don’t have to travel as far and the transistor switch time will also be reduced. Despite all of this, there has still been a constant effort in trying to reach higher frequencies.
For fully understanding this in-depth, do consider checking out Intel’s blog on this.