That poor system/36

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Sun Oct 14 11:06:13 CDT 2007

> and yes I do know that the majority of the IBM mainframes were leased out which makes them even harder to find

The leasing was mostly in the older days.

> Yes I also know that mainframes were usually designed for databases and the likes

The 360 in System/360 stands for 360 degrees of coverage, meaning the
machines were made to do all sorts of tasks. Before the workstation
came into real power, mainframes had a significant portion of the CAD
and simulation market.

S/360s and S/370 found a few scores in the factory process control
market. One mystery - what was the box that converted the Bus and Tag
to signals the machines could use, before the S/1s were released? A
29xx or 39xx series box? I want to know!

> but they can still be fun to
> play with and you gotta admit it's fun showing off those massive IBM hard drives and then telling your friends
> how much that massive drive can actually store (20-80 megs if more).

Here you will have troubles. The big IBM drives (DASDs) are almost all
gone. The last of the really huge disks, 3390s, are just about all out
of service. Just about everything else big, from early times, is gone,
except for a few anomalies (like the recent 3350s out of Columbus,

For big drives, the CDCs seem to have survived the best.

And oddly, old IBM tape drives - the 3420s - can still be found.

> There is no way I will look into a DEC. I have absolutely no knowledge on any of their good old systems (I have
> never even seen one) and I have always loved IBM systems (yes, criticize me).

DEC systems mostly just make a lot of sense. Try one, you might like it.

> Yes, an S/390 would be really nice (hey, you can even go with linux if you really wanted to) but they seem a
> a tad too small for me.

If you are looking for a pre-S/390 big IBM, you have very few options.
S/34 and S/36 are just about the only ones. S/1s are getting pretty
thin. You can mostly forget about finding a pre-S/390 mainframe, like
a 9121, 9221, or 43xx. There are very few of these left in the wild.

That said, I am still looking for an ES/9000 (9021, 9121, or 9221). Or
even 3090 or before.


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