Friday, February 29, 2008


1988: Tandy 1000 TL :

Price: $1400 ($2454 adjusted for inflation)
CPU: Intel 80286
RAM: 640KB
Storage: 3.5-inch floppy
Monitor: 14-inch, 640-by-200 RGB CRT, 16 colors

2008: HP Pavilion Elite m9100z series :
Price: about $1000
CPU: 2.8-GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ dual-core
Storage: 750GB HD, CD/DVD recorder
Monitor: 17-inch, 1440-by-900 LCD, 16.7 million colors

By the year 1988, personal computers had found themselves a way into about 15 percent of U.S. house holds. PC's dominated, but other home systems were popular as well among them the Apple II Mac, Macintosh, Commodore 64, Atari ST, and Amiga 2000 etc.
PCs that came with DOS; Windows 2.0 with a $99 option, and one of many competing graphical interfaces were available there. Radio Shack was a home PC central, offering the Tandy 1000 TL for $1400 in a configuration that included a 14-inch, 16-color monitor; 640KB of RAM; and also a single 3.5-inch floppy drive with it.
Tandy's DeskMate graphical interface provided you also an office suite, drawing and sound editing apps, and PC Link online software, a precursor to AOL. The 16 inch color monitor, graphical OS, and multimedia support were some cool cutting-edge in an era still dominated by monochrome monitors and with DOS. But the $1400 price didn't even cover a mouse, a modem, a network--card, or a hard drive, each of which was an expensive add on to it. And CD-ROM drives were extremely rare at that time. Microsoft had just released the first version of it's Bookshelf, a collection of reference materials on the CD-ROM in September 1987, and it would be another couple years before the CD ROM format really took off.
The situation in 2008 almost defies a comparison with 1988. Instead of conserving RAM and disk space like the gold and diamonds, we store our entire lives on our hard drives and expect our PCs to double as the home entertainment centers. For a total price of $1000, the HP Pavilion Elite m9100z is available for you with a cool Vista Home Premium, a 1 TB hard drive, an cool HDMI graphics card, Wi-Fi/ Max, a CD/DVD R/W, an HDTV tuner, surround sound, and a 17-inch flat monitor.

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