Minicomputers - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Computer Sciences

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Minicomputers (sometimes called the "mini") are defined primarily in terms of price and size. Minicomputers generally have a word size of 8–18 bits (register size); a memory size of 32,000–64,000 16-bit words, or 16,000–32,000 32-bit words; a processing speed of 200–300 kilo-instructions per second (KIPS); and a price in the range of $3,000 to $50,000. The large processors of the 1970s and 1980s cost from $50,000–$100,000 to several million dollars. The mini was an economical solution to low-end, smaller computing.

A computer user operates metallurgical testing equipment, which is controlled by a minicomputer. A computer user operates metallurgical testing equipment, which is controlled by a minicomputer.

The mini was relatively small, less than 0.6-meters (two-feet) wide, and mounted in a rack. Its advent also spurred the development of peripherals that had to be developed at a price consistent with that of the mini while providing satisfactory performance.

Some applications of the minicomputer were data acquisition, process control, time-sharing, and terminal and peripheral communication control. Process control systems involve...


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This section contains 1,087 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Minicomputers Encyclopedia Article
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Minicomputers from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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