Yes I know technically the number of transistors on a chip is still doubling every 18 months or so; and yes that means cheaper chips that use less power. Yes that is all fine and good. But kids today don't seem to remember back when having twice as many transistors pretty much meant having twice the computing power. That 486 could do twice as much at the same clock speed as the 386 -- and the 486 was eventually going to be sold at higher clock speeds. And you didn't need to recompile anything to take advantage of all the cores they stuck in there -- even if you didn't bother to recompile anything it would still run twice as fast. Then a few years later the pentium/686/k5/"whatever they called it to avoid intel's army of lawyers" would run twice as fast as the 486 for the same clock speed and once again the chips would eventually come out with higher clock speeds.
Today you don't have to spend a lot of money on a new computer and you can still be confident that your computer will still be able to run all of the latest software many years after you buy it. In the 80's and 90's that really nice and really expensive computer (much more expensive than today's computer if you adjust for inflation) was completely hopeless in just a few years. We all knew that in some ways buying new and expensive hardware was a waste because in a few years that hardware will be so slow that it will have no purpose but to sit in the corner and gather dust. But we bought the new hardware anyway because each time we did it was like making a down payment on the future. The 80's and 90's were an amazing time to be a nerd and I just don't know if computer hardware has the same optimism as hardware of yesteryear. Or maybe it is just that I am older now than I was then.