In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

IBM's iconic mainframe turns 50: In its history the IBM mainframe has been hailed and vilified. It has been born, reborn (many times) and pronounced dead. And yet the Big Iron remains a key computing resource for many large companies and will do so for many years. Here we take a look at the mainframe’s long history, from its use with the US space program to its prominence inside large business datacentres. Take a look.

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The System/370 launch in 1970 cemented the Big Iron’s place in business history, according to IBM. At its height of its popularity IBM said there was sometimes a two-year waiting list for the machine. According to IBM, monthly rental for a typical System/370 Model 155 having 768,000 bytes of main memory is $47,985, with a purchase price of $2,248,550. Monthly rental for a typical Model 165 with 1-million bytes of main memory was $98,715, with a purchase price of $4,674,160. "The applications of the Seventies will involve increased multiprogramming, remote computing, management information and tele-processing networks that make a centralized computer data base available to people in many places," IBM stated.

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In pictures: The (mostly) cool history of the IBM mainframe

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