Mom dropped off her new Dell Inspiron 1545 for me to set up this weekend. Her old laptop was a Frys store brand, but this is a Dell and the price was the same (except that she got an extended warranty on the first one and this one she is just doubling Dell’s one-year warranty with her credit card). Moore’s law says that the number of transistors on a computer processor doubles every two years. It has been five years so everything should be at least 4 times better and maybe 6 times. Let’s see:
The old processor was a 1.3GHz Celeron and this is 2.2GHz Dual Core Pentium. Since there are two cores (processors) now I’m going to say this qualifies, but I have no idea how many transistors are on a Celeron or a Pentium. She had 256MB RAM and now she is getting 3 GB of RAM (1 GB was added to the old laptop later on). So that is 12 times. The old hard drive is 40 GB, the new one is 250 GB (6 times).
There are some notable changes between laptops of yore and today. Most of the ports, including the USB ports, were on the back of the old computer. Now they are on the sides. Her laptop didn’t come with a built-in wireless card (though the computer that replaced it when her hinge cracked did) but it was 802.11g and this one is also 802.11g (I guess that’s more of a notable lack of change). In the meantime they have come out with 802.11n, and most of the higher end laptops support that, but this one does not. There is a SD card reader in the front for transferring pictures from a digital camera. Also, while the old laptop had a microphone, this one has a microphone and a web cam for internet video calls. Also this screen is wider in relation to the height to mimic HDTV’s. That changes the overall shape of the laptop a little, but this one seems about the same size and maybe a pound lighter than the old one (and noticeably lighter than my 2-year old Dell), which was pretty heavy. Lastly, this computer has Windows 7 and the old one had Windows XP, so she skipped right over Vista. I like Windows 7 so far. It seems pretty snappy and hasn’t given me a ton of warning messages.