Another classic Cory Doctorow quotes

There's another classic Doctorow quote from here:

"For the second half of the 1990s, my standard advice to people buying computers was to max out the RAM as the cheapest, best way to improve their computers' efficiency. The price/performance curve hit its stride around 1995, and after decades when a couple gigs of RAM would cost more than the server you were buying it for, you could max out all the RAM slots in any computer for a couple hundred bucks. Operating systems, though, were still being designed for RAM-starved computers, and when you dropped a gig or two of RAM in a machine, it screamed."

Now, I know what he actually means: Around a decade ago, buying lots of RAM was a simple way to improve performance. As I grew up amongst the Amish, I was regarded as technically competent, and spouting this advice made me look god-like for five or six years. Please ignore numbers and dates in anything I write, as I don't do accuracy. Taken literally, however, it's rather more amusing.

According to this site, which matches my memories, and a bit of extrapolation, one gig would cost $32,000 in 1995, $3,700 in 1997 and $1,600 in 2000. And it's really more than that, since it's not inflation adjusted. "A couple hundred bucks" is a particularly interesting way of looking at it. Plus, of course, there's the question of what you could physically cram in. There certainly was a huge price drop in the first half of 1996 ('around 1995'), just after I bought myself a big pile of RAM, but the days of happily shovelling gigs of RAM in were certainly a lot later.

Unsurprisingly, his entry is a link-fest to all the gear to buy from Amazon, with all the kick-back referral commission stuff enabled for him, which kinda tells you what it's really about.

Still, as the quote goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to look like idiots.".

Posted 2013-12-04.