Well, here’s something you probably haven’t thought you would read today: an Anker charger has more processing power than the computer inside the Apollo 11 Mission rocket!
It’s an odd comparison, for sure, but one that was made nonetheless, by an Apple developer. You can read about it in this article from Gizmodo, and from the original information tables at Forrest Heller, the study’s author, webpage.
Here are the main points:
- The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Guidance Computer (AGC) had a clock speed of 1.024Mhz - there’s a point there after the one, it’s important, reads “one point zero-twenty-four Megahertz” or basically 1Mhz
- The Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 has a processor with 48Mhz - almost 48 times as much as the AGC
- The Anker charger also has twice the RAM
Of course, the processors have intrinsically different objectifs, hence different codes for different outputs. Still, the author believes that with four Anker chargers - and I guess a lot of tinkering with code and hardware - it would be possible to go to the moon and back. Why four? Because there were four AGCs in the Apollo 11, and it seems one single computer, even more powerful, couldn’t be used.
In the words of the author himself:
I claim that we would only need the compute power of 4 Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 USB-C chargers to get to the moon with the following caveats:
- The CYPD4225 is definitely not rated for space. I have no idea if it would work in space.
- I did not examine the peripherals used by the Apollo 11 computers. The CYPD4225 has 30 GPIO signals and talks UART, I2C, and SPI. However, how many peripherals did the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer support? 100? 10? More Googling is needed. And probably the voltage levels from the 1960s are too high to connect to a CYPD4225.
- Ron Burkey, Owen Smith, and others point out that the LVDC actually contains triply-redundant logic. The logic gives 3 answers and the voting mechanism picks the winner. So it may be fair to claim that you in fact need 3 USB-C chargers to compare against the LVDC. However, I think the redundancy was for reliability and I completely ignoring reliability. And in fact I think any attempt to emulate this voting scheme with 3x microcontrollers with a 4th to tally votes will not make the system any more reliable. But this is proving controversial and it may soon get its own full paragraph summarizing different viewpoints!
And who am I to challenge those results?