Difference between Supercomputer and Mainframe Computer

Difference between Supercomputer and Mainframe Computer

Difference between Supercomputer and Mainframe Computer

Supercomputer and Mainframe Computer: –Today, computers are built in different sizes, with different prices, and with different power, memory, and throughput.

Computers are built differently because different organizations or computers use different computers for their specific task. Small companies want computers with low capacity and features, whereas large companies require large computers with high capacity and features.

We shall discuss two powerful computers in this article: the supercomputer and the mainframe computer.

In addition, both computers are different from each other, but both are powerful computers compared to other computers. They possess powerful abilities that can serve many users and can process huge data and information at a very high speed.

Want to know more about the Supercomputer and Mainframe computers? 

Jump In! 

Basic Differences:-

What is a Supercomputer?

Invented by Seymor Cray in the 1960s, it is the largest and most powerful computer designed and developed until now. Hence, it is also the most costly computer you can find. 

The first Supercomputer built by Seymor Cray is CRAY-1 which is 6 feet in height and 8 feet in diameter. It was built using more than 200,000 computer chips, 3400 integrated circuit boards, and almost 60 miles of wiring. 

The speed of supercomputers is very high, which can execute billions of instructions within a second and consists of large memory, and a high execution rate. Therefore, these supercomputers are usually used for large and complex mathematical computations.

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What is a Mainframe Computer? 

Mainframe computers are general-purpose computers that cost less and are small in size compared to Supercomputers. They are mostly used in organizations where it is used to serve many users at the same time.

The first Mainframe Computer developed was by IBM in 1964. In addition, the mainframe computer can be small as a cabinet or large as a well-sized room.

Compared to Supercomputers, mainframe computers are small, but they are also large computers. They are expensive and can cost several thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. 

Mainframe computers have exceptionally powerful problem-solving abilities, and their memory is measured in gigabytes. Also, their operating system handles multiple applications at the same time. 

Speed Differences: –

In terms of performance and storage, mainframe computers are one step behind supercomputers. The Supercomputer is specially designed like that to execute billions of information in a second.

The processing speed of a Mainframe computer is about 3-4 MIPS, whereas the processing speed of a Supercomputer is about 100 MIPS or more. In addition, the processing speed is measured in floating-point operations per sec.

Purpose Differences:-

A mainframe computer is designed to handle large amounts of input, output, and storage. It is specially used for solving simple calculations and computations involving many external data.

On the other hand, a Supercomputer is a special-purpose computer designed for specific tasks that take a large amount of memory and storage.

Application Differences:-

A mainframe computer is used for receiving and switching computers in national networks. Also, it works as a database server that handles the input and output of the terminals connected to it. 

Usually, the mainframe computer is used in insurance industries, education industries, and other institutions.

The Supercomputer is usually used for scientific research from anatomy to physics, mathematics to weather predictions, and many more.

Summary Comparision Chart Between Supercomputer and Mainframe Computer

S. No.SupercomputerMainframe Computer
1.Supercomputers are large and cost more.Smaller in size and costs less than Supercomputer.
2.They are used for solving large and complex mathematical computations.They are usually used as storage for large databases and can serve multiple users simultaneously.
3.The speed of a Supercomputer is more than a mainframe computer, which can execute billions of information in a second.The speed of a Mainframe computer is less than Supercomputer but can execute millions of information in a second.
4.The Supercomputer is a purpose-built computer that is designed for specific tasks.The Mainframe computer is a general-purpose computer.
5. The first Supercomputer developed was by Seymour Cray, which was CRAY-1.The first mainframe computer was developed by IBM.
6.The processing speed of a supercomputer is about 100 MIPS or more.The processing speed of the mainframe computer is about 3-4 MIPS.
7. It has Linux operating system and other operating systems too.It can have multiple operating systems at the same time.


Supercomputer computers and mainframe computers come in the category of powerful machines but are differentiated by different factors.

The Supercomputer is a powerful computer that is used for a specific purpose and which can execute complex computations which other computers cannot handle, whereas the mainframe computer is a general-purpose computer that is used to handle simple computations.

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