iPod vs. Early Apple Computers

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by starcrossed, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. starcrossed macrumors regular

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    San Antonio,TX
    #1
    I was just thinking about the technological advances that have to come to create the iPod we all know in love. But I began to wonder since the iPod is like a tiny computer with a hard drive, mini processor, ram, and operating system, how would it faze up to Apple's early computers, if its even possible to. I don't know much about Apple's early computers, since I was born around the beggining of Apple, but I was hoping to spawn a community discussion here from those who are familiar with the products. Its just the thought if one would go back in time to the 80's with an iPod Photo in hand and walked into the Apple campus with it, just how amazed they would be and how it would make their amazing computers at the time look. Just a wild idea, so discuss.
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #2
    I think that a good place for you to start is here.
     
  3. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #3
    hmm...so the 4g and the mini are clocked lower than the 1g, 2g, and 3g ones...interesting. i wonder how fast the ipod photo processor is :eek:
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #4
    I noticed that a little while ago. I can only assume that they've improved the firmware and so can do the same amount with a slower processor - meaning better battery life.
     
  5. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #5
    i never thought of it that way...
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #6
    I always find comparisons like this fun. Comparing a modern 40GB 4G iPod to an original 128K Mac of 20 years ago seems like a good matchup.

    So, looking at RAM, ROM (remember the iMacs had a boot ROM back then, too), hard drive, processor speed (took me a while to track down MIPS numbers for both, which is the closest I could come to a standardized benchmark), screen, and size:

    Mac 128K
    Processor: 8Mhz 68000 (integer speed roughly 1.2MIPS)
    RAM: 128K
    Storage: Optional 20MB HD (actually released later, for $1500), 2800RPM, ~1MB/s
    Screen: 512x342 pixel black and white
    ROM: 64KB
    Audio: 8bit mono
    Weight: 16.5lbs
    Price: $2500

    iPod 40G, 4G
    Processor: dual 80Mhz ARM7 (integer speed roughly 80MIPS each)
    RAM: 32MB
    Storage: 40GB HD, 4400RPM, ~20MB/s(?)
    Screen: 160x128 pixel black and white
    ROM: 32MB
    Audio: 16bit stereo
    Weight: 0.35lbs
    Price: $400

    So, basically, for 1/6th the price, you can get a handheld doodad weiging 1/50th as much as a Mac that is 750-1500 times faster (probably way more in floating point), has 250 times more RAM, a hard drive 2000 times bigger built in, and better sound. The old Mac has a screen nine times larger, though.

    Impressive progress.
     
  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    Jul 17, 2004
    #7
    I agree... but what about the iPod Photo? That has a color screen. VRAM anyone? :p

    Also, the iPod does not have a mouse, keyboard, etc. And my MIPS you mean, Million Instructions Per Second right? I don't quite know what that means.
     
  8. starcrossed thread starter macrumors regular

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    San Antonio,TX
    #8
    :eek: Wow! That was the comparison I was hoping to see in this post. Now with the iPod Photo, you could even add color LCD, 60GB capacity, and more to the iPod's specs.
     
  9. toughboy macrumors 6502a

    toughboy

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    #9
    come on.. its been 20 years since Macintosh 128.. plus, it is not just an ordinary 20 years, those 20 years changed the entire computing life, pioneered by Apple...
     
  10. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #10
    Yeah, that's kinda my point. Those 20 short years have brought almost unimaginable advances in computing technology and those changes have, in turn, had a measureable and perversive (and probably perverse) effect on society and the way individuals live their lives. Lead, indeed, by Apple on more than one occasion.

    Compare that to the changes in the automotive industry over the past 20 years (heck, the last 50 years), or for that matter just about any other field outside of physics, biology, and genetics.

    Incidentally, I don't know whose posterior I pulled my comparitive numbers out of, but the iPod is "only" 70-135 times faster than a Mac 128K.
     
  11. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

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    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    #11
    I think it was mine, that would explain quite a lot...

    Anyway, I'm wondering if computers can possibly keep up this dramatic pace of development. Moore's lay predicts about 13 doublings in 20 years, 2^13 is 8192. Are today's computers 8200 times faster than those back then...
     
  12. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

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    Apr 14, 2004
    #12
    ack! :eek: My mind! That is incredible to see!

    Mike
     
  13. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #13
    Thankfully, having no firsthand experience, I can make no comment on this.

    That's actually in the general vicinity of how much faster a 2.5GHz G5 is than an 8Mhz 68000, though if you take everything into account (that is, including floating point and vector calculation improvements), then they're a lot more than 8200 times faster, and 3D graphics cards are mind-bogglingly more powerful than anything of 1984.

    That said, Moore's law was just an observation, not some insight into the fabric of the universe. The rate of processor speed increase has been slowing somewhat recently, and the once-amazing rate of increase in hard drive storage density has dropped significantly. It's possible these are momentary stutters, but there are physical limits to how small things can get, so we will likely hit a point of diminishing returns somewhere (though I expect the decline will be slow).
     
  14. abc123 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 26, 2004
    #14
    i remember when i was younger my dad bought a new computer with a 20MB hard drive and everyone laughed at us saying that we'd never use even half of that. it cost over $6000 at the time too, i forget the other specs though but it worked for over 15 years without once needing repairs before we finally parted with it.
     

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