Sunday, February 26, 2006

PC Pricing: A Blast From the Past

Bill over at PlanetPeschel runs across a 15-year old ad for a PC. Check out these specs:

20-MHz 386 processor
1 MB of RAM
40-meg hard drive
Windows 3.0

The price: $1688, without a monitor.

Frightening but true: my Dad bought this system, or one very like it, from Tandy around that time. It was a decent machine.

That really brings it home, doesn't it? I spent a similar amount last year and got:

3.4 GHz Pentium IV processor (four generations more advanced, 170 times the clock speed)
2 GB physical RAM (2000 times as much)
80-gig hard drive (2000 times as much)
Windows XP

Calling a generation of CPUs a doubling in raw power, which is roughly fair, and ignoring the fact that $1700 was worth more in 1991 than it is today, we're looking at performance/capacity improvements of 1500-2000 fold.

That Moore guy apparently knew something.

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