This Salesforce blog post Apex Runtime Update for Developer Edition Orgs describes a significant change in how Developer Edition orgs execute Apex code, and this 3rd party blog post by Alex Berg Salesforce’s Apex Runtime Design – Old vs New provides more explanation. However I couldn’t find any statement about when this change will be rolled out into production orgs.
Before this change the performance of Apex when executing CPU intensive logic in an application was surprisingly poor – see My laptop is 300 times faster. The good news is that running the same test today in a na3 Developer Edition org multiple times (to allow bytecode caching) resulted in an average time of 208ms. Hence the new conclusion that my laptop is only 10 times faster.
This is a dramatic improvement, making Force.com a more practical platform for executing CPU intensive logic as long as the logic remains within the “total number of executed code statements” governor limit.