Friday, July 13, 2007

The Tyranny of Moore's Law

Matthew Yglesias does the math on what a quarter-century of computer technology has brought us: seems that back in 1982, James Fallows paid $4,000 for his computer featuring 64k of RAM plus another $800 for a floppy disk drive. According to the handy CPI calculator on the BLS website, $4,800 in 1982 is equivalent to a bit over $10,000 in today's money.

Naturally, I had no choice but to scroll over to the Apple Store and see how much computer I could get for $10,000. Well, I got myself a Mac Pro with two 3.0 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon processors, 8 gigs of RAM, four 750 gig hard drives, two Super Drives capable of reading and writing CDs and DVDs, a 30 inch Apple HD Cinema Display, a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. That comes to $9,449. I believe that's a 128,000-fold in RAM. The improvement in storage capacity is, in some ways, even more impressive.

1 comment:

auntiegrav said...

Fine. Nice comparison.
My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20. I bought it to help me design a spaceship to save the world. (I was young and stupid then, not realizing the world didn't want to be saved.)
Regardless of MY folly, the question still remains: "What are you buying this stuff FOR?"
What is your Net Creativity going to be with it? What FUTURE usefulness will be created in exchange for consuming those resources?