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    I am actually confused by why they are used?

    They seem to do exactly the same thing as a normal PC, so why use a mainframe?
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    Mainframes are generally a lot bigger, runs true multitasking, and runs at a decent speed. Basically they used to be at the centre of a big hub or network.

    Although the difference now days aren't the same as they used too. They are now both very similar. People tend to use supercomputers or standard servers for big tasks.
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    (Original post by fat_hobbit)
    I am actually confused by why they are used?

    They seem to do exactly the same thing as a normal PC, so why use a mainframe?
    Well a Mainframe can be a normal PC but in more professional setting it is a computer that has rack and racks of processors and RAM.

    Mainframes are usually used for processing large amount of data weather it be 3D Graphics/Simulation data/Meteorological/Physics and calculations of different types. So even though you can make Mathematical model or a prediction to do with trajectories of a crash on a normal PC you would normally send of the calculations to be processed on a Mainframe due to its dedicated power for the specific task or for multiple tasks. Their are a huge amount of different ways to use Mainframes and not all of them can do the same thing. One might be used purely for graphics 3D rendering, One might be used for decoding/decrypting data like the NSA's Super Computer and one might just be for predicting the weather like the UK's Meteorological Super Computer. All can probably do each others work with tweaking and installing stuff but these Mainframes are designed normally to do 1 purpose and one purpose only unlike a normal PC, where some are designed to process multiple types of data, like a normal PC

    You can have a Mainframe as a normal PC but why you would want to is beyond me, unless you are Cluster Computing or have a Neural Network or even a Bot net for processing data.

    IBM have about 80% of the Mainframe trade in the world, pretty much kings of the Mainframe game. Not sure you you have heard of Watson? But he is a Super Computer which can play the US game show Jeopardy and guess the answers with quite amazing accuracy, and he recently beat the 2 top human players at it, Well worth the watch.

    But I did use the word Super Computer rather than Mainframe. A super computer and Mainframes differ Super Computers tend to be the pinnacle of modern technology all the new fast stuff that has been pushed to the limits. In fact most Super Computers are in a mainframe set-up meaning more than one computer all put together to work in unison. Where as a Mainframe can be 10/20 and even 50 years old which at the time it was a Super Computer but most definably is not now.!!! But as you can imagine in a professional setting they would upgrade there IT infrastructure to move along with current technology.

    Like I said IBM have a huge slice of this market as they have quite a few Mainframes out, I doubt you need me to post a picture of what a normal PC looks like, I hope not anyway... But this is what one of the many IBM Mainframes looks like:

    Name:  Mainframe-Computer.gif
Views: 60
Size:  87.6 KB

    Hope this helps.
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    (Original post by definity)
    Well a Mainframe can be a normal PC but in more professional setting it is a computer that has rack and racks of processors and RAM.

    Mainframes are usually used for processing large amount of data weather it be 3D Graphics/Simulation data/Meteorological/Physics and calculations of different types. So even though you can make Mathematical model or a prediction to do with trajectories of a crash on a normal PC you would normally send of the calculations to be processed on a Mainframe due to its dedicated power for the specific task or for multiple tasks. Their are a huge amount of different ways to use Mainframes and not all of them can do the same thing. One might be used purely for graphics 3D rendering, One might be used for decoding/decrypting data like the NSA's Super Computer and one might just be for predicting the weather like the UK's Meteorological Super Computer. All can probably do each others work with tweaking and installing stuff but these Mainframes are designed normally to do 1 purpose and one purpose only unlike a normal PC, where some are designed to process multiple types of data, like a normal PC

    You can have a Mainframe as a normal PC but why you would want to is beyond me, unless you are Cluster Computing or have a Neural Network or even a Bot net for processing data.

    IBM have about 80% of the Mainframe trade in the world, pretty much kings of the Mainframe game. Not sure you you have heard of Watson? But he is a Super Computer which can play the US game show Jeopardy and guess the answers with quite amazing accuracy, and he recently beat the 2 top human players at it, Well worth the watch.

    But I did use the word Super Computer rather than Mainframe. A super computer and Mainframes differ Super Computers tend to be the pinnacle of modern technology all the new fast stuff that has been pushed to the limits. In fact most Super Computers are in a mainframe set-up meaning more than one computer all put together to work in unison. Where as a Mainframe can be 10/20 and even 50 years old which at the time it was a Super Computer but most definably is not now.!!! But as you can imagine in a professional setting they would upgrade there IT infrastructure to move along with current technology.

    Like I said IBM have a huge slice of this market as they have quite a few Mainframes out, I doubt you need me to post a picture of what a normal PC looks like, I hope not anyway... But this is what one of the many IBM Mainframes looks like:

    Name:  Mainframe-Computer.gif
Views: 60
Size:  87.6 KB

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks, but didn't the System 360 pave the way for Mainframes to be able to multi task in terms of applications - scientific, commercial etc?

    The thing is, you could probably have a server farm - but I guess the mainframe will be better as it is one machine.

    Anyway seems a lot clearer now' I guess if you have to modify 10 million records in a database, a mainframe will be handy.

    I have heard of the Watson , the other is the deep blue who beat the Russian chess player (was that a super computer)
 
 
 
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