Mainframe Vs Supercomputer: What’s The Difference?

Which one is better?

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mainframe vs supercomputer

What’s the difference between mainframe and supercomputers? It’s a question that many can’t answer without explaining what exactly they are and their respective uses. So let’s take a deep dive by comparing a mainframe computer vs a supercomputer.

What is a Mainframe computer?

Mainframe computers are large high-speed databases used for storage, transaction processing, and data processing. Many large organizations also use these computers for various bulk data processing tasks. These tasks include censuses, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, large-scale transaction processing, etc.

A mainframe computer also supports numerous workstations and peripherals in terms of hardware. They can even have multiple operating systems simultaneously. Mainframe computers are very fast, but not as fast as supercomputers.

They are cheaper than supercomputers making them pretty economical. Mainframe computers can also operate millions of instructions simultaneously and serve basic purposes effectively.

What is a Supercomputer?

Supercomputers are large high-speed computers used to solve complex algorithmic tasks and mathematical equations. They also play an essential role in many fields, including quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, climate research, molecular modeling, physical simulations, etc.

Supercomputers are also the world’s largest and most expensive computers in terms of hardware. In terms of software, most supercomputers run Linux-based OS. They also have multiple CPUs to achieve high computational speeds.

What sets these computers apart is their use of vector arithmetic, which lets them do various complex tasks simultaneously with high speed and accuracy. Each one is also purpose-built for specific tasks. Supercomputers are also capable of executing billions of instructions in just a second.

You can check out the top 500 supercomputers by going to this link.

Mainframe Computers vs Supercomputers

Mainframe ComputerSupercomputers
Used to store large databases, transaction processing, and simultaneously serve as a maximum number of users.They are used to solve complex algorithmic tasks and mathematical equations.
Executes millions of instructions are executed simultaneously.Execute billions of instructions within a second.
Mainframe computer’s speed is fast but not as fast as Supercomputers.Supercomputers are faster than mainframe computers.
Mainframe computers are smaller than supercomputers. They are similar in size to refrigerators. Supercomputers are the world’s largest computers. They can take up entire floors of a building.
Mainframe computers are less costly than supercomputers and reasonably economical.Supercomputers are the world’s most expensive computers.
Can run multiple operating systems simultaneously.Most supercomputers run Linux-based OS.
Mainframe computers are built to handle a large variety of tasks.Built for a particular task
Processing speed ranges from 3-100 MIPS.Processing speed ranges from 100-900 MIPS.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Nalin Rawat

Nalin Rawat

Just a big nerd for everything pop culture and geeky. In love with movies, comics, games, and awesome new gadgets. I have been writing about technology and gaming since college.