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MIPS Then and Now

  1. Jul 17, 2016 #1


    Staff: Mentor

    I saw a reference to MIPS and started wondering about how fast my mac-mini is to what the old Honeywell 6000 mainframe I used to program in the 70's and found this chart:


    What is remarkable is that even the Raspberry-PI has a MIPS rating that would blow away the IBM System 370 of 1972 (comparable to Honeywell's 6000 series). It seems this would be a great plot device for a sci-fi novel.

    Small timeline my human-computer interactions:
    Code (Text):

    GE Timesharing: GE 600                    programming in BASIC and timesharing Fortran

    Honeywell 6080                            programming in Fortran-Y, Cobol and Macro Assembler with EIS

                                              and TEX scripts (my favorite)

    Commodore 64                              programming in Basic and Forth

    IBM PC/XT Intel 8086 CPU 640K memory 360K diskette 10MB HD PC-DOS 3

                                              programming in C/C++ with Lattice C                                            

                                              (often used as a clock on some desks)

    IBM PC-AT Intel 286 with PC-DOS           programming in C/C++ with  Turbo C/C++ and Turbo Prolog

    IBM PS/2 Intel 386 with OS/2              programming C/C++

    IBM PC/RT IBM/Motorola RISC  with AIX     "

    IBM RISC/6000 with IBM AIX                "  

    Lenovo X400 Laptop with WinNT             programming in Java

    Apple Macbook Pro with MacOSX             programming in Java and Groovy

    Apple Mac-Mini                            programming in Java, Groovy and python and numerous others                                                                          

                                              scala, clojure...

    Raspberry-PI                              programming in python
    waiting for some new fruit...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    Comparisons of memory (RAM and hard drives) capacity show similarly amazing changes. I remember when I was in college in the 60's two of my roommates worked for NSA during our co-op quarters and they told me about a very ambitious and expensive project to create a terabye of disk space on a single computer. I was over at Best Buy yesterday and noticed that they had a 4TB exernal HD for about $120.

    Similarly, a 16-bit minicomputer I bought for my job at NASA in around 1970 had 16KB of RAM. That's KILObytes. And it was ungodly expensive. $4,000 per 4Kb module of little iron donuts. My desktop now has 16GB and I think that cost me $80 or so.

    I think Gordon Moore was a pessimist :smile:
  4. Jul 18, 2016 #3


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    Gold Member

    Although I had not the opportunity to play with any of the old "monsters", I have read a real lot about them in much detail. I can remember programming in Basic on an Amstrad CPC 6128 back in the eighties - some simple games and fancy graphics with sounds, the series of x86 machines from 2 to 4 with C and many DOS alchemies and doing full stack web development back in the first half of 2000 decade with a lot of Perl, CGIs , painful JavaScript (back then) and WAMP after that. Now I have a Windows 7 machine with 4 GB RAM and 1 TB HD with an i3 processor and a real lot of IDEs and tools for programming and web development. I think that is far more than what is needed for programming purposes. Of course for lots of streaming, complex graphics programming and other specific uses like simulations, things stop nowhere and indeed phinds is right about Moore's law. For everyday computing I use my poor laptop. What I like most is John Burdette Gage's famous quote "The network is the computer." and its many facets and meanings.
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