Anyone who’s been around technology knows that over time you get more for less. Whether it’s more GB, more GHz, more pixels, it’s a side effect of Moore’s Law and market forces. You always pay a premium for the new stuff but over time the price falls.
Sometimes, it’s not always readily apparent how much it falls. Perhaps it’s because it’s often a year or two between purchasing whole new computers and you only really consider the total cost of the PC. Perhaps it’s because the latest OS consumes resources such that Windows 7 on a Core processor runs as well as Windows 98 on a Pentium III.
But recently I had the opportunity to really see how much prices fall over time. Back in June 2010, I built a PC from components and at the time I only had enough money for a dual core processor and 2 GB RAM (which is fine for running Linux). Last week I decided to upgrade to a quad core processor and 4 GB RAM. When I saw the prices, I couldn’t believe that they’d dropped so much.
June 2010 – 2 GB @ £37
Feb 2011 – 4 GB @ £31
AMD Athlon 2
June 2010 – Dual core 3 GHz @ £57
Feb 2011 – Quad core 3 GHz @ £63
The RAM prices are a direct comparison as it was exactly same memory module from the same vendor. For the CPU, it was the quad core version of the dual core in terms of clock speed and cache, though the vendor was different.
I can’t say exactly when or why the prices actually fell, but from an empirical point of view after about 9 months, the same amount of money seems to gets you twice as much RAM or twice as many cores.
I’ll buy that for a dollar!