The key phrases you are looking for are "rainbow tables"; "time / memory trade-off"; "distributed computing"; "embarrassingly parallel"; "GPGPU Computing" and probably "More's Law".
So now computers are faster than when they cooked that "100,000 years" phrase. They are employing many different computers with multiple cores. GPUs are much faster at this calculation that X86 processors. Rainbow tables are ingenious methods to store precomputed results, so the actual cracking is simple comparisons between encrypted text with known values and the data you are attacking.