Computing Power Continues To Get More Affordable

super affordable computing
Shot with Sony FE 24-105mm lens on Sony a7r III

About 25 years ago, I bought my very first PC. I was super happy for maxing out specs (at the time) for my budget. Here's what I got for $1,400 (yes, fourteen hundred dollars):

Processor: 133Mhz Intel Pentium
RAM: 32MB
Storage: 2GB
Networking: 56K Modem
4xCD-ROM drive
Connectivity: serial port, parallel port, PS2 ports for mouse/keboard, VGA (for monitor), audio jack
OS: Windows 95

All of the above in a decent-sized, beige-colored tower!

Fastforward to 2021. I've been thinking about a NAS solution to keep my files on a hard disk but access them from Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and iPad Pro, but without having to move the hard disk around, wherever I happened to be at home. I do not want to pay a cloud storage solution provider like iCloud, Amazon, DropBox, OneDrive, etc. for about 10TB storage. I did some reasearch and figured out that with Openmediavault installed, a Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB RAM) can be used as a low-cost NAS solution.

Like in the past, this time, too, I chose the fastest processor with most RAM available within my budget! Here's what I got for less than $100 (yes, less than one hundred dollars):

Processor: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB Micro SD card (I had this around at home)
Networking: Gigabit Ethernet + 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
CD-ROM drive: None
Connectivity: 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2x micro HDMI ports (for 2x 4K display), USB-C (for power supply), 4-pole stereo audio and composite video output OS: Raspberry Pi OS (a Linux variant)

All of this fits in a box that came with Apple Airpods!
Shot with Sony FE 24-105mm lens on Sony a7r III

As you can see, 133MHz processor then and a quad-core 1.5GHZ processor now. Similarly, 32MB RAM then vs 8GB RAM now. I have more RAM now (8GB) than I had storage back then (2GB)! Simply mind-boggling.

If you think computing prices are low now, we can only imagine what technology advancements of next twenty five years will bring. Happy computing, y'all!!!

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