There is no doubt that CPUs have come a long way since 1999. And a decent quad core CPU will kick butt compared to an underpowered pig like the Atoms they put in all those netbooks back around 2009.
That said, the whole CPU development thing lately has been more about reducing power consumption and extending battery life than it has about raw performance.
I have two desktops. Both of them I'd describe as powerful, responsive snappy. Desktop 1 has a Sandy Bridge quad core which is 5 generations behind the times. Desktop 2 has a second generation AMD Bulldozer APU which was crippled from the get-go by bad design decisions. Yet I'm happy with them both.
The reason for this is that there are many other factors today which influence perceived computer power and responsiveness, namely:
- An SSD . The difference in performance made by an SSD is night and day. Nothing I've ever seen comes close.
- Fast Internet. Better downloads, faster web browsing.
- Lotsa RAM. You want to load it and leave it in RAM, not swap it to the hard drive. Even if you have an SSD it's better to keep data in RAM.
- Decent graphics. It doesn't have to be state of the art But I see a definite improvement with a discrete video card.
- A lighter O/S. Linux is better than Windows with its CPU sucking security apps. And a lighter desktop environment is clearly snappier no matter how much computing horsepower you have.
In short, while I find it interesting to read about all the Intel Kaby Lake and AMD Ryzen CPUs I hope my old school quad cores keep on truckin' for a few years yet.