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Apollo Moon Missions
Apollo 11
The Moon

What was the processing power of the first manned mission to the moon compared to today's computer processors?


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September 13, 2011 4:39PM

The Apollo flight guidance computer (AGC) was the first computer to use integrated circuits.

At the time, most of the integrated circuits in the world went to the Apollo flight computer and the Minuteman missile guidance computer.

The AGC had 2 kibiwords of RAM and 36 kibiwords of ROM. (This was long before hard disk drives were invented). Both kinds of memory had a cycle time of about 11 microseconds, and a word width of 16 bits.

Many of today's desktop computers have DRAM chips with a cycle time of much less than 50 ns, packaged on a 72 bit word width card holding over 2 Gibibytes of RAM -- much more than 200 times faster and 500 000 times as much capacity.

The AGC was controlled by a 2.048 MHz crystal clock.

Many of today's desktop computers have a CPU that runs at 2 GHz or more, 1000 times as fast as the AGC.

The Apollo manned moon missions included two CPUs, one AGC in the command module and another AGC in the lunar module.

I once heard a rumour that a "Sega Saturn" would have all the computing power needed to rival the Apollo comuters of the time, (including the ones needed on earth in ground control) oh how we have moved on