36 Years of Technical Innovation

1978 Mainframe vs. 2014 Mobile Phone

Here is a technical comparison of the Control Data Corporation mainframe computer I used at the Northwestern University Vogelback Computing Center in 1978 versus my Google Nexus 6 smart phone that I purchased at a T-Mobile store on 12/15/2014.

1978 2014 factor
CDC 6400 computer Nexus 6
0.0500 CPU speed (GHz) 2.7000 54
0.0010 RAM (Gb) 3.0000 3,000
3.0000 storage (Gb) 32.0000 11
0.0003 telecom (Mbps) 60.0000 200,000
10,000 weight (lb) 0.4 25,000
$3,000,000 cost (US$) $650 4,615
39,876,923,076,923,100,000

The product of all the factors of difference is 3.9 x 10^19.
And note that the CDC 6400 didn’t have GPS, Wi-Fi, LTE, a digital still camera (13mp+2mp), a digital video camera (4K), accelerometer, barometer, magnetometer (compass), ambient light sensor, etc.
And the CDC required dramatically more electricity to operate.

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