Then and Now

People who grew up with the computers discussed in the Hall of Fame won't be surprised by the comparisons below, but for the more recent generations it might help to explain some of the challenges that were faced (and usually overcome) using these older machines. Even if it doesn't it should at least give an idea of how much things have changed in such a short space of time.


Date Memory Description
1981 1kB The amount of memory in a Sinclair ZX81
1985 128kB The amount of memory in a Commodore 128
1987 512kB The amount of memory in a Commodore Amiga 500
1989 2MB The amount of memory in an Atari TT
2001 64MB The minimum memory requirements of Windows XP
2010 1GB The average amount of memory in a small laptop
2012 1GB The minimum memory requirements for Windows 8
2013 6GB The typical amount of memory in a consumer laptop

In just over 30 years, the amount of memory in a common home computer increased by a factor of six million! To run Windows 8 you need the equivalent of over one million ZX81s!


Date Memory Description
1982 160kB Everything written to audio cassettes (estimate based on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum saving to a C15 cassette)
1985 150kB The capacity of an Amstrad 3 inch floppydisk
1987 360kB The capacity of an original Atari STFM floppy disk
1989 40MB The capacity of an Apple Macintosh SE30 hard disk
2001 1.5GB The minimum disk requirements of Windows XP
2007 1TB Hitachi announce a 1 terabyte hard disk
2008 16GB SanDisk announce a 16GB SDHC flash memory card
2008 8GB The amount of onboard storage on a Nokia N85 mobile phone
2012 32GB The amount of onboard storage on a Google Nexus 7 tablet
2014 32GB Capacity of a cheap (less than £20) MicroSD card

In those same 30 years, the amount of storage available to a home computer is two hundred thousand times larger! A MicroSD card can store the equivalent of more than 200,000 3 inch floppy disks or 800 Mac SE30 hard disks in a device not much bigger than than your fingernail! Imagine how much less power it requires too.