Processor Technology Advert - January 1977
From Byte - The Small Systems Journal
Processor Technology: New 16K RAM Fully Assembled
More bits per buck than ever before on a fully burned-in and tested board unconditionally guaranteed for one year, says the advert about what is apparently a breakthrough price for a whole 16 kilobytes of memory. This did indeed compare well to the usual amount of memory available on contemporary systems, like the 8K that came with the Cromemco Z-1, the 2K that came with a SWTPC 6800 or the Commodore PET's 4 or 8K allocation (although these were up to 16 or 32K only a year later).
It's always interesting to compare then and now, and this provides some truly staggering figures when comparing a 1977 16K card retailing for $529 (about £2,470 in 2020 money) to a 2014 4GB memory stick retailing for £20. For one thing, cost per megabyte has fallen 25 million-fold over a thirty-five-year period.
- if cost per kilobyte remained the same, a 4GB stick would cost £576 million. Processor Technology's first-ever product, a 4K static memory module for the MITS Altair 8800, released in 1975, would give an equivalent cost of around £1 billion (the cost of memory had halved in less than two years).
- if power consumption per kilobyte remained the same (this 16K board is stated to consume about 5 watts), the 4GB stick would consume 1.3 megawatts - enough to run about 65 houses
- The 16K board is made up of 4 x 4K Mostek MK4096 chips (not the same as MOS Technology, the company that Commodore had bought the year before) plus no fewer than 48 controlling chips. A 4GB stick using the same configuration would require 14.6 million chips. If one chip weighs 10 grams, that's nearly 150 tonnes of chips
- The longest row of chips is a line of 19 industry-standard 16pin DIP controller chips. These were mounted on an S-100 board, which has dimensions of 10" x 5", or 25.4 x 12.7cm. 4GB of memory would require 250,000 boards which would cover nearly 8,000 square metres, or 1.2 full-sized soccer pitches.
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