Transistor Count Per Year (1970 – 2021) Infographic

The transistor count in computers usually refers to how many transistors there are in a microprocessor. These transistors are also called MOSFETs, which is an acronym for metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors. All modern integrated circuit chips make use of MOSFETs. The number of transistors is the most utilized measure of the complexity level for modem IC chips. More specifically, a transistor is the basic building block of the computer circuitry and acts like a binary switch. It can either prevent the current from coming through or allow it. Even one up-to-date CPU today can have millions and billions of transistors. 

Moore’s law states that the transistor count in computers is doubling every couple of years. The highest transistor count in 2020 was for the Wafer Scale Engine 2 by Cerebras. This is a deep learning engine and is designed for routing non-functional cores on various devices. There are a whopping 2.6 trillion MOSFETs on this engine. Of course, microprocessors that are commercially available have a much lower transistor count than that. However, the largest count here was around 114 billion MOSFETs. With so many businesses now requiring a lot of new software and programs, the transistor count is a relevant concern for most people. The computer industry is also growing by the numbers and doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.  Since computers are such a large part of our lives today–with devices such as tablets and smartphones also counted as computers–it’s worth looking at the increase in transistor count for the past few decades: 

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Transistor Count Per Year (1970 - 2021)