1984 – Now: Computers I have known

I just finished reading the fabulously nerdy Ready Player One, a book that celebrates the early days of computing. This set me to thinking about all the computers I’ve ever owned and how they’ve changed over the years. Thanks to wikipedia I was able to quickly put together a list.

What struck me most was just how much faster and better computers have gotten in such a short amount of time. Because I’m a nerd, I decided to make a visualization showing the progress. I used RAM as the yardstick because it’s pretty much the only easy constant to measure: processor speed is hard to compare, I have no idea how much hard disk storage there was in each machine, and there is a mix of laptops and desktops so size is out. The results shouldn’t surprise me, but it still did. It’s an object lesson in Moore’s Law. Every computer I have ever owned has more RAM than all the previous computers put together. If car performance had improved like this since the 80′s I’d be driving a million miles a gallon now. Thanks to¬†XKCD for the inspiration for this visualization!

Computers I Have Known

Click to enbiggen!

3 comments

WTF were you doing with an Amstrad PC?!?

My father was an anglophile, I guess? :-) JC Penney carried these in the mid-eighties, and for some reason they became not only the PC of Europe, but also of the Moore household :-)

Fantastic infographic. Of course, you have no choice but to abide by the law you were named after.

I’ve been reading Ready Player One. I want to love it, but I am barely liking it. I can’t get over the writing style, which sounds like an 18 year-old boy to me. I know that’s probably the effect Cline is shooting for, but it annoys me to no end.

How’s that for an off-topic post?