The debate on what per say is a mini...

From: Clint Wolff <>
Date: Sat Dec 16 00:35:15 2000

I hate to jump into a philosophical argument, but here goes....

Mainframes are big/powerful machines that sit in a secured area and
are driven by terminals (X,PC,3270,etc) on peoples desks. They cost
big bucks.

Micro-computers are small/weak machines that sit on peoples
desk so they can surf the web and play solitare. They cost
next to nothing.

Workstations are more powerful, but still small... They cost
more than micros.

Mini-computers is a nitch that has gone away (or been replaced
by workstations). They were less powerful than a mainframe, but
orders of magnitude cheaper and could sit next to a persons
desk. This was more of a marketing trick to help scientists
convince the bean-counters they weren't buying a real computer,
just a glorified calculater (PDP == Peripheral Data Processor).
A calculator doesn't need to be locked in a room with all the
other calculators :)

The only super-mini I am aware of is the 11/780. It was DECs
attempt to supplant Mainframes with lower cost, but equally
powerful machines. They were quite successful at it...


PS It is unfair to compare mainframes of old to PCs of new. To be
fair, compare an 11/780 with what was available at the time: the
Apple ][, Commodore, IBM PC(?). These machines couldn't support
multiple users, imagine running a university off of a cluster of

PPS A modern mainframe would have no problem out-performing
a PC for REAL work. It's designed to do just that.

At 12:58 PM 12/15/00 -0700, Jim wrote:
>Last time this subject came up, it was pointed out to me that mainframes are
>much more batch oriented than micros or minis. They're designed to be fed
>their job, then left alone to plow through the data, then cough up a report -
>they're not optimised for direct user interaction.
Received on Sat Dec 16 2000 - 00:35:15 GMT

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