Until a few days ago, the last new computer I bought was a Mac SE, back in 1990. It had 2MB of RAM, a 40MB hard drive, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, and a SuperDrive, weighed 17 lbs., and ran (at its latest) System 6.0.8. It was named Horton, since elephants never forget, and it had as much memory as any computer I’d used to that point.

How times have changed.

The new beast has 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, a 1.83GHz dual-core Intel Pentium M processor, and a SuperDrive, weighs 5.6 lbs., and is currently running OS X 10.4.5. I’m still pretending it’s called a Powerbook.

For comparison, that’s 500× more memory, 2000× more drive space, more than 450× more CPU cycles per second (if both cores are running flat out) (and I have no idea how much faster it is in real-world performance), and can store more than 5800× more on an external disk, at about ⅓ the weight.

Oh, and the Powerbook cost about 60% as much as the SE in 2005 dollars. And I got the SE with an educational discount.

Last I knew, Horton was doing service as an aquarium.