Comparing Pcs And Mainframes

Words: 979
Pages: 4

Individual Assignment PC/Mainframe Paper Kirk Samuda Foley Belshaw Institute / Foley Belshaw University September 10, 2006


Week (3)

In comparing and contrasting PCs and Mainframes, it is important to understand what they are individually and the purpose they serve in the technological discipline, then initiate the comparative and contrasting phase.

What is a PC?

The acronym PC means Personal Computer. As the name reflects, it is a computer designed specifically for personal use. In its more general usage, a personal computer (PC) is a microcomputer designed for use by one person at a time. According to, the term PC has been traditionally used to describe both an IBM-compatible personal computer in contradistinction to an Apple Macintosh computer. The distinction is both technical and cultural and harkens back to the early years of personal computers, when IBM and Apple were the two major competitors.

The advent of the era of the personal computer was acknowledged by Time magazine in 1982, when they broke with tradition by choosing the PC as their "Man of the
Year." By the late 1980s, technology advances made it feasible to build a small computer that an individual could own and use. Originally, the "IBM-compatible" PC was one with an Intel microprocessor architecture and a single user operating system (OS) such as Windows that is written to use that specific microprocessor. The Apple Macintosh uses a Motorola microprocessor architecture and a proprietary operating system. The "IBM-compatible" PC was associated with business and use, while the "Mac," known for its more intuitive user interface, was associated with graphic design and desktop publishing.
Although the distinctions have become less clear-cut in recent years, people often still categorize a personal computer as either a PC or a Mac.
( Please see Diagram 1.a, showing a picture of a PC.
Diagram 1.a – Shows a picture of a Personal Computer(PC)

Diagram 1.b – Shows a picture of a Mainframe

What is a Mainframe?
A mainframe is a very large high speed computer system designed with multiple Hard
Drives, Processors, very large memory capacity (RAM), and the capability to serve 100 – 400
Users, simultaneously. The term Mainframe was derived from the large cabinets and frames that were used as a casing or storage for the Central Processing Unit (CPU), that computes large amounts of data shared by many users. This large computer is normally located in a special air conditioned room, that helps to keep all its internal parts very cool.
Prior to the creation of personal Computers (PC), computers were designed for the
Government, huge corporations and businesses that had the financial resources to afford both the
Mainframe and the large amount of attached terminals for multiple users, which were connected to this very large computer called a Mainframe, whose resources were shared among all users.
According to Engineers at IBM, a Mainframe computer's architecture consists of multi-user functions that a personal computer cannot provide. The architecture of a Mainframe is distinct from the physical design, and in fact, uses multiple operating systems to address the different needs of the various users accessing its core.
In the mainframe environment, the system software and hardware comprise a highly advance computer architecture, the result of decades of technological innovation. Most
Mainframes are designed around various operating systems with multi-user capabilities, configured to satisfy the needs of specific users across a huge platform. Operating systems such as z/OS®, which is IBM's foremost mainframe operating system, is an effective tool and OS useful for mainframe students, desiring a working knowledge