History Check -- First CMOS mainframe
shoppa_classiccmp at trailing-edge.com
Sun Mar 5 07:29:19 CST 2006
Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Chuck Guzis wrote:
> > Wasn't the ETA-10 CMOS-based? (Not to mention the whole subject of
> > "What's a mainframe?")
> Out of interest - how did the term come into being? When was it first used and
> why? I don't think I've ever seen the reason given, and the actual term seems
> a little strange when thought about...
More generically in the electronics/telco industry, a "mainframe" is
the unit into which modules are plugged. In the case of the tube
computers of the 50's, the modules might have half a dozen or so tubes,
weigh 5 or 10 pounds, and be a foot long and a 4 inches high and a few
inches wide. And it would take hundreds/thousands of the modules
(each being a couple of gates or a flip-flop) to implement a computer.
Different technologies have different concepts of "modules" (some will
be smaller, others will be larger) but the thing they all
plug into, if big enough, is the "mainframe".
Sort of the same concept as a "backplane" in a 70's era mini, but
the "mainframe" was spread out over many racks, used discrete wires, etc.
More information about the cctech