CSIRAC’s vital statistics

When you look at the chart below, you might think that CSIRAC was a pretty slow machine, but you must compare it to what was available to the scientists of the time.

Scientists of the 1940’s would employ one or more computers (generally a person operating a mechanical adding machine), or manually perform complex computations by hand, to complete their research. Calculations could be performed at about the rate of one operation per second.

CSIRAC, although slow by today’s standards, was faster than anything else available at the time at 1000 operations per second.

Comparing CSIRAC to today’s computers
  CSIRAC - 1956 Desktop PC - 1996 Laptop PC - 2000 Smart phone - 2014
Speed .001MHz 100MHz 500MHz 1400Mhz
Word size 20 bit 32 bit 32 bit 64 bit
RAM 768 words
(1,920 bytes)
8,388,608 bytes 536,870,912 bytes 1,073,741,824 bytes
Disk capacity 2048 words
(5,120 bytes)
1,048,576,000 bytes 19,327,352,832 bytes 137,438,953,472 bytes
Power consumption 30,000 watts 250 watts 50 watts 3 watts
Weight 2,000 Kg 25 Kg 2.6 Kg 129g

Chronology

Please note: Figures are approximate