Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Megabyte Of Memory Costs 10,000 Times Less Than It Did In 1989

In 1989, I bought a computer and an external hardrive that had 40 megabytes of memory.The drive cost $700 (and that was with the student discount at the Washington State University computer store). The consumer price index has gone up about 75% since then. So raising 700 by 75% gives us about 1226. So if we bought that 40 megabyte hardrive today, it would be $1,226. That works out to $30.67 per megabyte.

My wife recently bought me an 8 gigabyte flash drive for $25. A gigabyte is 1,024 megabytes. So the flash drive has 8,192 megabyters. At $25, that works out to $0.003. That is
less than one cent per megabyte. Since $30.67/.003 = 10,051, it means that a megabyte now costs 10,000 times less than it did in 1989.

Of course I am no computer expert, so maybe there are even better deals out there for memory. If anyone has purchased memory for less than 1 cent per megabyte, let me know.


Teresa said...

This note makes me think about Moore's law, which predicted the evolution of computing hardware. In fact, in 1965 Moore said that the processing power will double every two years. This can also be applicated to the storage capacity like hard discs or flashdrives.

Another version of this law sais that the performance of computer per $1 doubles everu 2 years. So, if 1Mb cost $30.67 in 1989, which means 0.03Mb per dollar, and if the Moore's law is true, the present capacity of storage that you can buy for $1 should be... 33.4Mb.

In this case it's actually ten times more, 327.68Mb, and the support is much easier to carry. So, computing development has been really quicker than in late 60's, but the main trend persists :).

Greetings from France!

Cyril Morong said...


Thank you for reading my blog and commenting. Looks like you have revised Moore's law, at least for memory, that it more than doubles every two years.

How did you come across my blog?

Where in France do you live? I visited Paris in 1994.


Teresa said...

Well, for memory it doubled every 18 months (which would be more realistic nowadays), but when I tried to check it out rapidly on the anglophone webpages the only version I found was the 2 years one.

I came across your blog few months ago by a link on another economist's blog.

I live in Paris. Did you enjoy your visit here?



Cyril Morong said...

Yes, I enjoyed my visit to Paris. I was there for a conference and then stayed a few more days and saw some of the famous attractions. I especially enjoyed riding a bike at Versailles and hearing some jazz.