Bill Gates believed that 640 kilobytes would be enough for everyone. How could he be so badly wrong?

If you look at interesting facts about the creator of Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates, then there is one interesting phrase that is attributed to him:

- "640K should be enough for everyone" (original translation: 640K ought to be enough for anybody)

Gates himself has repeatedly denied that he said such an absurdity, but it wasn't just someone who invented it? According to legend, he said this in the late 70s.

Bill Gates believed that 640 kilobytes would be enough for everyone. How could he be so badly wrong?

What is 640 kilobytes?

If it is really quite simple to count, then 1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes, that is, 1 character is 1 byte. In fact, more - it all depends on the encodings and the transfer of various service information.

It turns out that a text of 640 kilobytes is "only" 655 360 characters. Not so much actually. Well, take into account that from a modern smartphone one photo can take 5 megabytes, almost 10 times more than 640 kilobytes...

Why was Bill Gates convinced that 640 kb would be enough for everyone?

It should be understood that computers of the 70s could only be similar in appearance to modern ones. And even then not always.

One of the Soviet self

The reason for this statement by Bill Gates is that just in the 70s the world moved from huge ES computers, which occupied several rooms, to miniature personal computers.

If the first Intel 8008 processors supported 16 kilobytes of RAM, then the next generation Intel 8080 is already 64 kilobytes, and the appearance of the processor became a real breakthrough Intel 8088, which knew how to work with 1 megabyte of RAM!

CC BY-SA 3.0, curid = 97813

But they used only 640 kilobytes of memory, and the rest went for video memory and some hardware processes. And apparently, Bill Gates inspired by such a breakthrough and made such a statement. Like, 640 kilobytes is cool and enough for everyone.

And there was no graphics, browser, Internet in the computer. And 99% of tasks were done through the command line:


It should be understood that for a huge computer that could occupy several rooms and have a separate fountain for cooling 640 kilobytes of RAM was a very decent number.

I remember when Windows XP came out and I had 256 megabytes of RAM in my computer, then personally I didn't think there could be more.

And much more? The system worked pretty well. And now, 4 gigabytes of memory for Windows 10 is already an unspoken minimum for comfortable work.

Technology is developing rapidly, and I think that time will pass and some Windows 25 will require 256 gigabytes of RAM. Time will tell. Guessing even now is quite problematic, perhaps we will face stagnation in the field of computers. Wait and see.

Thanks for reading!

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