Before IBM became synonymous with personal computers, they were synonymous with large computers. If you don’t live in it, it’s hard to imagine how ubiquitous IBM computers were in most industries. And the flagship of the mainframe world was IBM System / 360. For an entire generation that grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a 360 was probably what you thought when someone called a computer. [Computer History Archive Project] The machine has a fond memory with lots of beautiful footage from places like NASA and IBM. You can watch the video below.
The 360 was not only physically fitted, but it had lots of lights, switches and dials that appealed to most of us Nardio. The machines were usually loud, an electric terminal, a card punch and reader, a noisy 9-track tape drive and a line printer or two.
While a supercomputer from the 1960s may not seem very powerful today, the 360 holds up quite well. Most of them were 32-bit machines although there was at least one 16-bit bargaining model and one that did everything 8-bit at once but still made you think that it was churning out about 30,000 instructions per second. You can even combine a few of them together to get even more power, although the memory bus conflict has been less effective than you think. Some higher models use 64-bit memory, parallel execution, and virtual memory.
A feature of this family of computers is that it has sophisticated I / O channels that can interface many devices in the CPU. Of course, when a hard drive costs more than your home and holds 5 or 10 megabytes or more, you need more devices. Memory ranges from about 8K to 8M – quite a range. Usually, computers are not purchased, so it is difficult to compare prices. But a very large system / 360 model 195 was quite fast, could do multiprocessing, and had 4 MB of memory. Price? 1971 7 to $ 25 million in 1971!
Computing was a different world then. High floors and special air conditioners were the order of the day. We probably should have worn hearing protection too! Surprisingly, as much as these were common, many of them did not survive and many are not working. Nowadays, DASD and IPL are not common words in computer business, but when 360 reigned in the data center, they were the words you always heard.
If you’re lucky, you might one day find someone stuck in a barn. It could be. Try to make sure the barn is close to your home.