Minicomputers: A Review of Current Technology, Systems, and Applications.

by Dennis Hollingworth

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The minicomputer industry began flourishing when advances in semiconductor circuitry technology made it cost effective to utilize general-purpose, stored-program digital computers in place of the special purpose, hardwired controllers formerly employed in specialized applications. This report describes minicomputers costing from $4,000 to $20,000 for a processor and 4K of memory. It deals primarily with processors employing a 16-bit word length. The report discusses the more significant characteristics found in today's minicomputers, then reviews leading manufacturers' products that are most representative of their product lines. Each system is considered in terms of processor, memory, and I/O system characteristics, as well as peripheral and software support. Emphasis is on the functional capabilities of minicomputers as they relate to the user, rather than on circuit design or processor logic. Further, the discussion is slanted toward the requirements of the end-user and how the manufacturer has addressed those requirements. 104 pp. Bibliog.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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