Computers have never been easy. Even now that we have them so close at hand, in any home, many users use them without knowing anything about them beyond knowing how to do the task they want to carry out.
Part of all this mess is given by the different types of computers that exist and among which is the macrocomputer, which is our protagonist today.
We are going to see what it is exactly, in addition to knowing why it is characterized. We will finish by comparing it with one of the most important computing equipment today: the mainframe.
What are Macrocomputers in computing? Definition
Its about concept contrary to microcomputer, which is a computing machine that includes a microprocessor.
Today all of them have these, so that, taking into account the definition of the concept, we could say that macrocomputers no longer exist. However, we will limit ourselves to talking about these machines as they were conceived at the time, half a century ago.
Therefore, we have to a macrocomputer is a large computer, several meters in fact, based on the use of what were once conventional processors (which today are no longer, of course); it is nothing more than a large, very large scale computer.
To better understand the concept, we can say that differs from the supercomputer in that the latter is completely modularIn other words, it has a large number of microprocessors, which work together in the execution of both a single task and several.
What are the main characteristics of this type of macro-sized computer?
Let us always remember that we are talking about this machine as it would be conceived when it was designed and invented. Thus, we have as characteristics:
- A huge size: As we have said, these machines, which required thousands of vacuum tubes, could measure many meters, a characteristic that, obviously, was reduced over the years thanks to innovations such as mercury delay lines . Even so, they are still devices the size of a closet or even larger at times.
- Its power and processing speed are extremely high: Of course, we are talking about the teams that were at the top, the most exclusive and designed for highly important tasks, so that its CPU was, without a doubt, the best of the moment in any of the aspects. Even so, premium the number of processes that are done at the same time or from open programs above the speed at which they can be resolved the problems (speed would be the star feature of the supercomputer).
- A huge amount of operations had to be performed per second: That was the purpose of computing machines in their early days and it stuck around for a very long time.
- Another essential aspect to mention is the quality of engineering in the design, which made repairs and schedule adjustments “easy.”
- All of the above makes, undoubtedly, this team was highly expensive, being available only to companies and large organizations.
- Further, the mainframe, which is a type of macrocomputer, was characterized by its storage capacity and data management, so of course we can also consider this as a feature of macrocomputers.
Is a Macrocomputer the same as a Mainframe?
Yes and no. A mainframe is a type of macrocomputer, as it meets all the characteristics that we have seen in the previous point. However, this, in addition, it acts as a server, being a team to which several others are connected.
Conversely, not all macrocomputers were designed, far from it, for this purpose. Many of them have only worked as calculating machines, without even having databases. Many others, yes, can and do work as servers, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
However, it should be noted that the macrocomputer as such no longer exists (the “bicharraco” par excellence is the supercomputer), because, as we have seen, the essence of the concept has long since disappeared. In this way … it seems everyone’s decision to say if macrocomputer and mainframe are the same.
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