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How does the computing power of my phone compare to my old desktop?

  1. Aug 6, 2012 #1
    This question came up in conversation the other day and I was wondering if anyone could quantify this.

    How far back in time must I go before I find a desktop computer that is only as powerful as my Nexus S smartphone? Would that be a Pentium III, for example?

    I understand that the answer might be different depending on which aspect of the computer we're talking about, since things like persistent storage progress differently than the CPU. Even then, I'm sure the answer is somewhat complicated by things like the lack of an FPU on my phone (if that's even true!).

    However, I'm sure approximate answers can be given to these questions. The storage question should be easy enough and integer operations per second for the CPU is good enough for me!

    Does anyone know?

    Thank you...
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2012 #2


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    I'd say it's pretty much comparable to a Pentium III with a GPU in it.
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3
    You would have to travel back to 1983 to purchase the first commercial touch screen monitor from the HP-150, you then would have to wait until June 1995 to purchase a MMX Pentium 1 (32k L1 cache) socket 7, windows 3.1x would allow you to do all your word processing although you would have to wait 3 months for Windows 95, In 1996 you can finally purchase 4x128MB 72-pin EDO ram (512MB total) and a motherboard to support 512MB of FPM/EDO ram (FIC PT-2200) to get the same graphics as your phone you would have to wait until the Year 2000 to purchase a Gforce mx440 so watch out for the Y2K bug!

    So technically you would only have to go back to August 2003 due to needing skype to make calls/txt from your PC or the year 2000 to to just create a machine that has the same performance as your phone.

    I priced all of the above previously and it came to a grand total of $532! $2.01 more then your phone, (this was using a different touch screen) it was around $280 if you just used a $20 CRT monitor, Old touch screens are expensive!

    I had some fun!

  5. Aug 8, 2012 #4
    Wow, you have a really good memory! ...except you forgot about the hard drive! I can't even remember what was common in 2000. Was it 80 GB? How long ago were 16 GB drives common?

    Are these prices adjusted for inflation? Where are you getting your information?

    I hope you did! I certainly found it interesting...
  6. Aug 8, 2012 #5
    I had a much more in depth look at this yesterday, although when i clicked Submit Reply the data center for PF went down, so i lost my original message,

    all prices are current from ebay and other online sales, ram $40, mobo $111, graphics card $8, the rest i dont remember exactly although i do recall the touch screen i found that was produced in 1996 you can purchase now for roughly $350 these are all in AU dollars as of yesterday.

    as for the hard drive you would be looking at the 1997 – IBM Deskstar 16GP "Titan" which held 16,800 Megabytes (16.4gb)

    Surprisingly all around the same era!
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