Computers have made leaps and bounds in terms of size, speed, and other metrics. We take a closer look at how hard drives, memory, monitors, sound cards, and other components compare over two decades of digital change.
Hard Drives: In 1995, most of the hard drives on the market came with 400 to 1,000 megabytes. There were three primary hard drive types, including the IDE, EIDE, and SCSI interfaces. Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) typically tapped out at 540MB, while Extended Integrated Drive Electronics allowed 1GB and larger hard drives to be used in home computers for the first time. The first Macintosh computers featured a Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) that allowed a theoretically unlimited amount of drives to be chained together. Today, budget computers are outfitted with at least 500GB, but consumers can access up to 1TB for an affordable price, depending on quality, cache, etc.
Memory (RAM): In 1995, a standard computer came with up to 4MB of space. Today, even a budget PC comes with 8GB of space. In a nutshell, modern users have 8,000 times the capacity to quickly access applications, needed data, and operating systems. The average cost in 1995 was approximately $30 per megabyte or $30,875 per gigabyte. Now, modern consumers pay approximately $4.35 per gigabyte.
Monitors: In 1995, 14- to 15-inch home computers with Cathode Ray Tube (CTR) display were the standard. Flat screens became popular, because they nullified the glare and curved image problems found with 14-inch monitors. Today, hardcore gamers can have their pick of the litter. Most personal computers come with a 24-inch widescreen LCD or LED monitor, but curved gaming monitors are now as large as 49 inches across and counting.
In addition to hard drive, memory, and monitor upgrades, modern computers have changed drastically since 1995. Modems are obsolete, except for users who live in very rural areas. Optical disks are also obsolete because digital downloads are so prevalent. Even the way we use computers has changed drastically. In 1995, approximately 12 million people used online services. Today, there are more than three billion people who now use the internet.
As manufacturers continue to make product and service improvements, it will be surreal to examine how our current computers change over the next few decades.