Definitions

price-dividend ratio

Price/performance ratio

In economics and engineering, the price/performance ratio refers to a product's ability to deliver performance, of any sort, for its price. For instance, if you have a whole day to travel 100 km, spending $50 to do the journey in two hours is a better price/performance ratio than spending $105 to do the journey in one hour.

Price/performance is often written as price-performance. Even though this term would seem to be a straightforward ratio, when price performance is improved, better, or increased, it actually refers to the performance divided by the price, in other words exactly the opposite ratio to rank a product as having an increased Price/performance. To avoid such confusion, the word ratio is often dropped or the dash used instead. Technical and news publications are often sloppy in their coverage of changes in these matters.

The term tends to be used quite a bit when comparing computer hardware. During the latter 1990s, the price/performance ratios of midrange and large mainframe systems fell tremendously in comparison to a number of smaller microcomputers handling the same load. Many companies were forced out of the industry as this happened, including DEC, Data General and many multiprocessor vendors such as Sequent Computer Systems and Pyramid Technology.

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