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"Current Hard drives are incredibly fast, compact, and have large amounts of free space."

Ram's greatest advancements have been in speed, quantity, and price. Were once you might have spent over $200 on 128k of ram, now you can get 256megs for under $100. Originally, it was a fight between parity, non-parity, and EDO, EDO standing for Extended Data Output. EDO tended to be quite faster and thus more desirable. The only fallbacks of EDO, being that you need two sticks of the same memory size to be recognized (i.e., two 32megs or two 8megs). It was not long before SDRAM showed up. Standing for Synchronous ram, SDRAM actually runs synchronous with the CPU's bus. There for if a CPU is running with a 100mhz, the SDRAM will run at 100mhz as well. SDRAM speeds have progressed extremely well.

Originally, 15ns (nanosecond) and 8ns ram were the most common. That provided support for CPUs running at 66mhz bus and 100mhz bus. As of recently, 7.5ns and lower ram has been popular due to its ability to overclock and CPUs running at 133mhz bus (The formula for finding the clock speed of ram, is speed (in nanoseconds) / 1000). Currently, there is SDRAM that is capable of running at 150mhz and more, much higher than any ram technology previous. While there have been uses of Rambus, and DDR (double density) ram, it has not been common as of yet. AMD plans to implement DDR ram into the new Athlon chipset. DDR ram obtains twice its clock speed, as such 100mhz DDR ram would run effectively at 200mhz.

Current Hard drives are incredibly fast, compact, and have large amounts of free space. Not only that hard drives today, physically are only a fraction of the size of original harddrives. Not to mention their maximum capacity never breaching 100megs. Lacking DMA (direct memory access) support, these hard drives created a large CPU overhead whenever the disk is accessed. Compounded with the fact that often the hard drive was paired with a 386 or slower CPU, loading times were often overly drawn out.

40MB HD:

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