This is going to be somewhat unscientific, but here goes.
20MHz Intel 80386 Microprocessor -> Today’s Price ~ $1.56 (3.2GHz Intel P4 @ $250 / 3200 X 20)
2MB RAM -> Today’s Price ~$0.36 (256MB Kingston Value RAM @ $50 / 256 X 2)
The cost of the CPU is roughly 48% of the total cost of the unit (at least it is today). So that leads to a computer worth around $3.25…monitor, keyboard, and mouse not included of course ;-).
From $8499 to $3.25 in just sixteen years. Wow.
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Thursday we mostly worked on the ME’s Fish Bot. There was a problem with the board they used to program the fish. They could write to RAM and run in debug mode and everything would work fine. They could also flash the ROM, but they couldn’t run out of ROM. After a few hours of testing with the scope, it problem was traced to a malformed 3.3 v wave form. Instead of being a constant 3.3 volts, the fish was getting somewhere between 3 and 3.3 volts. The dip in voltage was attributed to a power converter that could only handle 200mA. The fish nominally uses 300mA. So we added another 200mA power converter and the fish worked! Score one for EE.
Friday was just a massive 7 hour coding spree. The code I wrote is working, sort of. But I have a new idea. So I’m going to pretty much start from scratch next week.