The classic Moore's law has the power available from CPUs doubling every two years. This is true but there has been a slight critical change. Ten years ago I purchased a high-end developer laptop that ran a single core 3.2 GHz CPU that left me with a hot lap and lasted 15 minutes on batteries. Today I have for my developer laptop a computer that has four cores running at 2.6 GHz and last 3 hours on batteries. Chips are no longer getting faster, they are getting more cores on the chips.
SQL Server is designed to support multiple cores. I recently read a case study where SQL Server was running on 512 cores, and you can buy such a machine 'off the shelf'. As an ISV architect, I have often seen applications developed that did not exploit the multiple cores on chips. This is not the case with ITRON -- they are designing software that allow close coupling of front end .Net Parallelism with SQL Server Parallelism resulting in full exploitation of the cores. These sister technologies maximize your hardware investment and allow the next generation of multiple core chips to be exploited. Currently, 10 core chips have been announced; in a few years, I expect 32 cores chips to be appearing.
You may wish to hear a 'geek talk' byhere.on his work in this area. The video is