The Changing Cost Of Tech. How do the prices of gadgets today compare to those from the past?

We live in an age of technology and anyone who wants to stay on top of the gadget tree has to spend a small fortune to ensure they have the latest kit in their hands. But how do today’s tech prices compare to those of the recent past? Read on to see how things have changed.


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Domain names

A visit to the fantastic Wayback Machine reveals that just over a decade ago, in 2000 to be precise, the UK’s leading domain name registrar 123-reg was charging 39p for a domain name. But a glance at the small print shows this didn’t include VAT or a £2.50 a year registration fee.

The cheapest domain extension on the site today is .eu, which will set you back £1.99. Anyone after a will have to pay £3.49 a year. Not a huge price change, anyway you look at it.


The same can’t be said for data storage. Back in 1980 you would have had to fork out a hefty $193,000 for one gigabyte of storage. By 2010, you could buy a one terabyte drive for $71.42. That’s $0.08 a gigabyte. A staggering fall.


As you might imagine, the cost of hard drives had a large impact on the cost of a personal computer. For $9,329 in 1980, you could have got a Horizon HD-1 which featured a staggering 64k of RAM, two quad capacity mini drives and an 18Mb hard disk drive. You could add a 80 x 24 display terminal and NEC Spinwriter printer to that, but only if you were willing to splash out a total of $13,239.

These days, that £8503 would get you four 15-inch MacBook Pros if you shop around. Each one packing a Intel Quad Core i7 2.6Ghz processor, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash memory and a 1GB GeForce GT 650M graphics card.

The budget-conscious 1980s computer geek could have picked up a ZX Spectrum for just £125, although that would only get you 16kb of RAM and no monitor.

Mobile phones

In 1983 anyone wanting to be at the forefront of a telecoms revolution would have had to splash out $3,995 for the DynaTac 8000X – 13 inches and 850g of mobile phone. Capable of 30 minutes of talk time and eight hours on stand-by, it’s poor by today’s standards but was ground-breaking at the time.

For that price today you could buy four iPhone 5s and have a chunk of change left over. You might even find the battery lasts a bit longer. If you’re lucky.

Tablet computers

Believe it or not, the iPad wasn’t the first tablet computer. In 1989, you could have picked up a GRiDPad for just $3,000. For your money, you’d get a 9 x 12 x 1.4 inch device, with a 10Mhz processor, a 256KB RAM card, 1MB of system memory, and the MS-DOS operating system.

A far cry from the £500 a pop iPad 4 which offers a 1.4Ghz dual core processor, up to 128GB of flash memory and 1GB of RAM.

It’s all enough to make you wonder what the tech marketplace will look like in another 15 years.

Featured images:

Guest post by Will Stevens of domain name registrar The company has just launched a new line of cloud servers.

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