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PC versus Mainframe

The debate in which the comparison between Personal computers and mainframe has been long established since the popularity of the former amongst individual users compared to the institutional users of the mainframe. However, for those who still cannot differentiate the two, this study will act as a guideline outlining the most common comparison between a PC and a mainframe, and also their numerous contrasting qualities as well as abilities. Comparison Both PC and mainframe are considered basically as computers.

They both function as a processing unit with calculation abilities. They both have processors and also, they both act as storage devices with both PC and mainframe using hard drives for storage. They also both run on an operating system, and also have its own memory, and when it comes to CPU speed, there has no significant difference at all. Contrast Physical Description They may have similar properties based on comparable architecture, but one would be surprised by the difference of its capabilities and especially actual description.

In describing both machines, PC as most of us know is composed of the most common hardware components such as a CPU, keyboard, monitor etc, basically it is far more smaller than what a mainframe could look, and the former is more portable in that sense. A mainframe looks like a large computer, shaped like a large cabinet which stores the central processing unit and other necessary components for it to function (Ebbers, O’Brien, & Ogden, 2006).

Price The average range price of a decent running PC may start from $199 to as much as $1500,(Anon, n. d. ) while a mainframe may have an average range from $5,000 to as high as $5,000,000,000. (Anon, n. d. ) The difference in price range is not entirely base on it size at all, but on its application and capabilities which will be discussed further in this study. Maintenance and Basic Installation One does not have to be a computer technician or any programming wizard to install basic applications and hardware in an average PC, while maintenance on mainframe is usually done by professional IT personnel.

A PC can be placed anywhere as long as there is enough ventilation to avoid overheating due to too much use, On the other hand mainframes are regularly placed on rooms with temperature-control (Ebbers, O’Brien, & Ogden, 2006). Capacity and Capabilities Most PCs currently has the storage capacity from 120 gigs of disc space to 500 gigs, one may purchase and install an external hard drive that can reach to about 1 terabyte. For the typical Mainframe however, which can store to hundreds of hard drives, each could be at least 30 terabytes or more storage capacity (same as Ebbers, O’Brien, & Ogden, 2006).

In this particular case, it can be understood that a mainframe has more storage capacity than the average PC. Another capability difference could be seen on the input output or (I/O) bandwidth, in which mainframe dominates the PC (Vaughan, n. d. ), and also the addition of more special features for the mainframe such as serviceability and redundancy, that is why the term (RAS) which means reliability, availability and serviceability has been popularized by Mainframes, due to reliable consistency of processing and high utilization rate, compare to the PC’s potential occurrence of a system downtime (same as Vaughan, n. d. ).

PC currently now has available software that can be installed to diagnose potential errors and observe hardware performance; in contrast almost a significant part of the mainframe component is the error detection in its hardware (same as Vaughan, n. d. ), again beating the PC in terms of self-preserving functionality. Purpose Basically, the main purpose of the Personal computer is to serve one individual at a time, hence the term personal; in doing a specific task at a time in a very efficient speed.

Mainframes however functions as a server that can handle multiple users processing thousands of transactions per second (Macmillan Science Library, 2006) For the basic understanding of its applications, PCs can be used in fundamental tasks of a typical office work with its user-friendly interface, while Mainframes are particularly used on large data processing institutions such as Banks and other companies that deal with that kind of heavy transactions every day (same as Macmillan Science Library, 2006) .

Conclusion Both the PC and mainframe are considered computers, with almost the same necessary components that are fitted onto its structure, the difference lies in its main purpose which is also related to its capacity that is well suited to its purpose. Reference List Anon (n. d. ) What Is Mainframe Computer And Super Computer? (Online) Retrieved from http://www. blurtit. com/q435762. html Ebbers, M; O’Brien, W. ; Ogden, B. (2006).

Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics (PDF). IBM International Technical Support Organization. Retrieved from http://publibz. boulder. ibm. com/zoslib/pdf/zosbasic. pdf Macmillan Science Library (2006). Mainframe (Online). Retrieved from http://www. bookrags. com/research/mainframes-csci-01/ Vaughan, L. (n. d. ) What is a “Mainframe”? (Online). Retrieved from http://www. mainframes. com/whatis. htm

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