Daily Illuminator

August 10, 2005: Moore Was A Pessimist

GURPS Cyberpunk, written in 1989 and 1990 and released in 1990, described futuristic (for the time) computer systems. Its extrapolation of (for the time) incredibly large hard drives was based on Moore's Law. This is not an actual law of man or nature, but an observation about the wonderful, wonderful speed with which the feasible complexity of integrated circuits increases, and therefore the speed with which the price of processing power declines. Storage and other aspects of hardware have followed a similar path.

At any rate: in GURPS Cyberpunk the price of a terabyte of storage, at Tech Level 8, was $10,000. It weighed 500 lbs. and took up a cubic yard of space. At the time, this appeared to be a reasonable prediction.

I have in front of me a copy of a mass-market computer catalog. I can go online right now and use my credit card to buy a terabyte of storage. It will cost me $989; they'll deliver it free. Size and weight aren't given, but extrapolating from the size of the visible ports, it's about the size of a phone book and probably not much heavier.
-- Steve Jackson

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