Use this information below to answer the questions on your Minicomputers handout!


The "age of the mini" started in the late 1960s. The creation of integrated circuits suitable for computers enabled designers to shrink the size of the computer. Before Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) released the first DEC PDP-8 minicomputer in 1968, most medium-sized organizations were priced out of the computer market. The DEC minicomputer cost around $50,000- considerable savings compared with the $200,000 mainframe of that time.

Like mainframes, most minicomputers are multi-user systems. Many of today’s minicomputers can accommodate as many as 200 users working from individual terminals. Petrochemia Plock recently installed a Microvax 3100 minicomputer system by DEC at its fuel terminal on the northern coast of Poland. The minicomputer system will oversee the flow of fuel to distributors and dealers across the country, ensuring that deliveries of fuel are dispensed to the correct drivers. The system is similar to systems used by Esso and Shell in refinery ad delivery plants throughout Europe.

The major difference between mainframes and minicomputers is in scale. Minicomputers can perform the same types of tasks as mainframes, but minicomputers are a little slower. Like mainframes, minicomputers can accommodate remote users, but not as many. Minicomputers’ input, output, and storage devices look like those on mainframes; but minicomputers have slightly less storage, and the printers are slightly slower. The distinctions between these categories of computers are blurring as time passes.

Last updated  2008/09/28 02:26:40 CDTHits  2746