Samples Computer Science Computing Systems

Computing Systems

684 words 3 page(s)

One of the earliest notebook computers I used was an IBM ThinkPad T20 (T20) in 2004. I still have fond memories of it because to this day, it was one of the most reliable notebook computers I have ever used. At that time, IBM had not sold its personal computing division to China-based Lenovo yet. Even though T20 was pretty reliable even by today’s standards, it was another story in terms of functionalities and power.

As I look back, the pace of technological progress in personal computing amazes me. Today, I can purchase a notebook computer with 6GB RAM for under $800 but T20 cost $1100 at the time and only came with 256MB RAM . The storage capacity was only 4GB where as now 500GB is the minimum one expects. I also remember T20 didn’t come with a webcam or integrated wireless router. Instead, I had to purchase both as an add-on options which cost me upward of $100 at the time and of course the quality of webcam videos and pictures or the speed of wireless router was no match to what one gets today.

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The monitor on my T20 was square and 14.1 inch which was deemed reasonable at the time but now widescreen monitors at 15.4 inch have become the norm. The screen resolution in T20 was 1024×768 while the Sony notebook computer I bought in 2010 has 1600×900 display. The touch screen feature was almost alien to computers at the time though I do remember seeing it in some PDAs but now touch screen interface is becoming a major threat to keyboard. In fact, touch screen technology has advanced so much that even many of the desktop models come with touch screen interface and Microsoft has even been designing its operating systems with touch screen technology in mind.

As far as desktop computer is concerned, I have very fond memories of iMac G3 (G3) which was one of the earliest products after Steve Jobs returned to the company he founded and was ousted from. Even though design aesthetics has rarely been given any priority by desktop computer manufacturers, one could not help but be attracted to the various colors in which G3 came. But it also added to G3 cost which was over $1000 at the time and except the 1990s, desktop computers have mostly been priced under the $1000 mark. In terms of processing power and functionalities, G3 only had 64MB RAM which was one percent or less than what modern desktop computers usually come with. The memory dedicated to video card was only 16MB and as a result, all video games had pixilated graphics. Even the video games took so less memory that one could download tens of if not hundreds of games on a CD with about 700MB capacity. The display resolution was only 800×600 which pales in comparison to 1366×768 screen resolutions that became the norm last year .

I also remember several other physical features that have changed dramatically. First of all, the monitors were CRT displays and bulky. In addition, they were also curved and not flat screens like we have today. Even the mouse was track-ball system and not the laser-types we use today. Track-ball mouse had limited lives because the ball would easily accumulate dirt over time. In addition, the performance was also subpar because the speed of the mouse depended upon the surface on which it was glided.

Looking back, computing technology has not only progressed tremendously in terms of power but has also become significantly cheaper. In addition, we have also witnessed significant shrinkage in sizes. Now, tablet devices have lot more power and functionalities than what desktop computers had just a decade ago and in addition, tablet devices barely weigh few pounds.

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