Thursday, January 19, 2017
How Far Personal Computing Has Come
Back in 1984 I received my first personal computer for my nineteenth birthday. The Commodore 64, released two years prior, was a very cutting-edge piece of technology.
The newly developed 8-bit central processor by MOS Technology ran a standard 1.023 MHz. The SID 6581 sound chip, the best on the market, could play up to three different "voices" at a time. The display output was a dazzling 320x200 in 16 colors. The computer got its name from the fact that it had 64K of RAM memory. All this computing power was housed in the sleek keyboard integrated unit and weighed 3 pounds 15 ounces. The price tag was just under $600.
The Commodore 64 did need additional things to be useful. Output was achieved using an RCA connector (red, yellow and white plugs) to attach to a television or monitor. As there was no native hard-drive on the system, all software programs were loaded through an external cassette or 5 1/4 inch floppy drive; I was lucky to have the latter.
Let's compare this to the HP laptop I am writing this post on today.
My laptop runs a 64-bit Intel Core i3-6100U processor at 2.30 GHz. The stereo sound and HD picture quality are as rich and vivid as many televisions on the market. The laptop contains 6GB of memory and 1TB hard-drive. Although it has a built-in keyboard, tracking mouse pad, touch-screen display, and DVD/CD-ROM drive, additional peripheral devices can optionally be attached but are not required for operation. Unlike the Commodore 64 which was a standalone unit, the HP laptop can network with other devices and the Internet via either an Ethernet or wireless connection.
All of this fits into a 4.74 pounds package with a price tag of $400.
Where will personal computing take us in the next thirty-two years of my life? With the rapidly changing rate of technology, the sky is the limit.
For more information on the classic Commodore 64 computer look no further than the historical information that can be found on their website www.commodore.ca/commodore-products/commodore-64-the-best-selling-computer-in-history .