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That Time I Paid $6,544 for 256MB of RAM to Run Photoshop…


Back in January 1995, I upgraded my Mac 8110 desktop to 256 megabytes of RAM for $6,544. Why? Because Photoshop needed a minimum of 5 times the RAM to work with a 8.5×11 RGB 8-bit color page, and that was 24 megabytes.

The Chip Merchant was the least expensive source for RAM at that time. I purchased eight 32-megabyte chips at $818.00 each, or $6544.00 total — about $10,646 in today’s money after adjusting for inflation. Insured shipping was $42.85.

Several years later, when it was time to upgrade my desktop, there was no way I was going to send $6,544.00 to the trash. So I removed the motherboard, used a saw to cut out that 256 meg of RAM (including the backup battery), and framed it in a gold frame.

My framed $6,544 RAM. The stuffed Voodoo Mac with pins was used to diagnose Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) ID cable termination problems with earlier Macs. The doll helped sometimes. Those were the good old days of computing.

Today, of course, 256 megabytes of RAM on Amazon is $2.51 with $4.48 shipping. Some of the images produced with that 256MB of RAM can be seen on my website electronfx.com. It’s a very outdated website, as I’m retired now.

About the author: Gary Bartholomew is a retired photographer and Photoshop user who did commercial work during the “good old days of computing.” You can find more of his work and products on his websites here and here.

Image credits: Header RAM photo © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons). All other photos © Gary Bartholomew.