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Hey guys,

This is a question for the older guys out there. If you were to compare the processing power of the ATmega32U4 to that of personal computers how far back in time would you have to go to go for it to match the best computers on the market?

I'm only early twenties so the slowest computers I've worked with were like 700MHz processors.
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IBM PC Jr? 8-bit 8088 based, with 16 bit registers.

I put together a 600MHz Pentium, was a real screamer at the time. Absolute pig now with the bloated operating systems that are out.  Not too bad with something more minimal like Puppy Linux.
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This is a question for the older guys out there. If you were to compare the processing power of the ATmega32U4 to that of personal computers how far back in time would you have to go to go for it to match the best computers on the market?

How do you define 'best'? Do we count mainframes? To be the best computer in the world you'd have to go back to the 1950s-1960s.

If we ignore RAM size, the Arduino CPU is more powerful than a typical early-1980's home computer (Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, MSX, etc.) and probably more powerful than a 4.7MHz 8086 PC.

I'd say it loses the lead around the time of the 80286/Atari ST/Commodore Amiga, so ... 1985-ish.
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Yeah I meant like personal computers. Not mainframes. I was also not taking RAM into account, Arduinos don't have to run operating systems after all.
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In terms of home computers I guess you could compare the Leonardo to the 6502 or Z80 based computers which appeared in the early 80s, such as the BBC Micro (1981) or Sinclair Spectrum (1982).  Although they usually had more RAM, commonly 16-64k, that memory also had to contain the program (and the video memory).  The OS was in ROM, so did not use up much RAM.  So the overall memory constrains were similar.  They were a good bit slower than an Arduino though, running at 2-4 MHz.  'C' compilers were not readily available so most of use used Basic (which was slow to run) and Assembler (which was slow to write).

In cost they were absolutely not comparable to an Arduino.  Even the Spectrum, one of the cheaper home computers of the time, was well over a hundred pounds.  Computers with user-accessible IO and ADCs were considerably more.  In fact I can't think of any programmable computing device which has ever been cheaper than an Arduino...
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For most home computers around 1980s? not sure for laptops or any portable computer back then thou and I would agree with CrossRoads, Fungus, ianphil397 and tim7
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