March 02, 2016

Cheap memory

I would have posted about the latest episode of Musaigen no Phantom World but it was totally forgettable. There wasn't even any good fan service. (Except for Lulu waving a katana around.)

The HD in my main computer is getting full, so it's time to unload some stuff onto some other medium. I could buy an external USB HD (and in fact I have a couple I use for this) but it occurred to me a couple of days ago that USB flash thumbdrives might be a good way to go, so I visited NewEgg.

It's amazing just how cheap and plentiful flash memory has become. I remember back when I was still at Qualcomm that there was an industry-wide concern that demand for flash memory was exceeding supply, so prices were going up. But that appears to be long gone. Supply has exploded -- but demand is growing, too.

Anyway, I ended up ordering six 128GB flash drives, which are supposed to be delivered this afternoon.

Three quarters of a terabyte, and it cost me about $150. It could have been even cheaper but those were a supplier I had never heard of, and I didn't want to trust them.

It's typical for a product to initially be very expensive, and then as technology improves and volume increases, for it to get cheaper and eventually reach a price floor. Then, over time, it slowly becomes more and more expensive.

But when it comes to electronics, seems like we never seem to find the floor. The price just keeps falling. These days you can buy a computer for $500 which has more compute power than existed on the entire planet in 1960. And I'm buying more memory than existed back then, for $150.

We live in an age of miracles.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Computers at 12:04 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment
Post contains 302 words, total size 2 kb.


Damn kids and their new-fangled technologies.   I was perfectly happy with my slide rule!  Happy, I tell you!

(Ok, not really... by the time I reached high school, Texas Instruments had taken over the world with cheap LED calculators running on 9-volt batteries.  The sample slide rule hanging in front of our science classroom was never touched by the teacher.)

Posted by: ubu at March 02, 2016 12:10 PM (SlLGE)

I was shocked to see 8GB of RAM going for $20 - $30. That amount of memory was almost inconceivable 20 years ago when I was paying a couple hundred bucks for a couple of megs.

Posted by: wahsatchmo at March 02, 2016 01:08 PM (VFkGH)

3 Actually, my phone has more compute power and memory than existed in 1960, and the display is better than anything that existed even in 1980.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 02, 2016 01:46 PM (+rSRq)

4 I just bought two 128GB USB sticks - tiny things that fit mostly inside the USB port - and an 8TB disk drive.  Even with the weak Australian dollar they were amazingly cheap; combined they were half the price of my first 40MB hard disk back around 1988.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 02, 2016 03:49 PM (PiXy!)

5 Oh, and while I was placing the order I threw in a 1200dpi 18ppm networked Postscript colour laser printer as an afterthought.  (This one.  The Australian price is even better, worked out to about US $99.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 02, 2016 04:08 PM (PiXy!)

6 I've told this story before, but this is as good a time as any to trot it out again.  I worked for Cowputers, in one of their stand-alone stores, for a year (until they closed all their stores, in fact).  This would have been 2003 when I started. 

At that time, they gave every employee a flash drive for demonstration purposes.  We were expected to put pictures, music, whatever, on them to wow the customer, y'know?  At the time, the drives were $39.99... for 16mb.  Yes, megabytes.

We sold 128mb flash drives for $99.99... and that was competitive.

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 02, 2016 05:32 PM (KiM/Y)


I still remember the time when I got my IOmega Zip Drive (Remember those?), which cost $100+...And the Zip disk sold for the bargain basement price of $30 for a two disk pack.  Note that each disk held 100MB.  I was giddy about getting it and ran through a lot of disks storing all the files I no longer had to delete.

What amuses me is while computers have gotten so much more powerful, compact, and cheap than their predecessors, the current graphing calculators used by students do not appear to have made anywhere near the advancements over a top of the line graphing calculator from 20 years ago.  You have the USB ports, some of color LED screens, many now can do functions from multiple subjects - but the price is within the ballpark of what they cost 20 years ago and a cheap Android smart phone could easily do more with proper apps and a memory card.

Posted by: cxt217 at March 02, 2016 06:20 PM (RfVOD)

8 Reaching back a decade, I remember my first digital camera coming with an 8MB SD card.  I remember being able to upgrade my 386 to 2MB of RAM, and getting a 1MB graphics card.

But best of all, I remember getting my Tandy 1000SX upgraded from 256K to 640K of RAM.  I think the upgrade cost $400.  But a 640K machine could run ANYTHING.

Posted by: Ben at March 02, 2016 06:30 PM (DRaH+)


I had forgotten about the old 8MB at 16MB flash drives!  Yeah, it's weird to think about paying that much for that little.

We had the Zip drives in the computer labs at college, and you bought one to keep a large archive of your files.

cxt, I don't know what this "student" thing for graphing calculators is--I use mine a lot, to include earlier today and most of yesterday morning.  I'd stab someone before I gave it up for a smartphone app, because of the soft keyboard on current phones.  It's so much faster and more accurate with an actual keyboard.

Posted by: CatCube at March 02, 2016 06:40 PM (fa4fh)


I don't know what this "student" thing for graphing calculators is--I use mine a lot, to include earlier today and most of yesterday morning

That is obvious a 'your mileage my vary' issue.  I still have my trusty graphing calculator, but I never use it (As oppose to the cheap and simple calculator.) because I never need to.  Though I have written out long division on paper because I found it easier then fiddling around with my phone sometimes...

The keyboard interface is a major advantage that graphing calculators - and any device that uses one, like a laptop - have over a tablet or smart phone.  I especially loathe the keyboard used by IPods/IPhones, which obviously were programmed to be used by a child Edward Scissorhands.

Posted by: cxt217 at March 02, 2016 07:16 PM (RfVOD)

11 USB sticks seem like a pretty good way to go.  Right now I'm storing everything on a USB RAID box, but that's getting close to full. 

Posted by: BeckoningChasm at March 04, 2016 06:40 AM (AroJD)


I've got a RAID NAS, and it says one of its drives has already failed. I had a Windows Home Server NAS, and Windows Update killed it one time.

So for the time being I'm rolling things off my desktop onto the RAID NAS and also copying to USB flash drives, for redundancy.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 04, 2016 01:29 PM (+rSRq)

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