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The Ups And Downs Of RAM

After reading a few articles about the 30th anniversary of the introduction on the Apple Macintosh computer, I was a little surprised to be reminded that the original Mac only had 128KB of RAM. That's 128KB, not 128MB (most PCs now have at least 4GB, by comparison). The original crop of personal computers were 8-bit systems - so they could not really use a whole lot of RAM anyway. Applications were small too, as were disk space requirements. Over time, we got 16-, 32- and 64-bit systems, each able to access (and to require) more RAM. Programs got more complex, and grew to gobble up whatever extra RAM and CPU performance was available.

However, when smartphones and tablets became so insanely popular, they brought with them the low power requirements of mobile devices. The amount of RAM in these types of devices might only be 256MB or 512MB in the first round of devices, and currently perhaps 2GB in the more upscale tablet models. The Apps shrunk down too, as did the the available local storage.

As technology tends to do though, we are on the road to more RAM and more performance again, as Apple brought us a 64-bit processor in the latest iPhone, and we should see 64-bit Android devices this year. If I am blessed enough to be around in another 10 or 20 years, I'll probably be looking back at 64-bit as being really quaint...


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