I attended the 25th (plus one) anniversary celebrations for the Andrew project at Carnegie-Mellon University. As part of these James Gosling gave a talk. He stressed the importance of parallelism in programming, reinforcing the point with a graph of CPU clock rate against time. For many years, clock rate increased. Some years ago, it stopped increasing. Did Moore's Law stop working? Not at all, there were no strong technological barriers to increasing the clock rate. What happened was that increasing the clock rate stopped being a way to make money. Mass-market customers wanted lower power, lower price CPUs, not faster ones. So that's what the manufacturers made.
Follow me below the fold to see the analogous phenomenon happening to disks, and why this is bad news for digital preservation.