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Difference between minicomputer and supercomputer

In this article, we will discuss the minicomputer and supercomputer along with their comparison. This article will be very helpful for students with technical backgrounds; they usually face it as a question in their examination.

So, without more delay, let's start the topic.

A computer is a programmable electronic device that accepts raw data as input and processes it with a set of instructions (a program) to produce the result as output. It is designed to execute applications and provides a variety of solutions through integrated hardware and software components. On the basis of size, there are five types of computers - Micro Computer, Mini Computer, Mainframe Computer, Super Computer, and Workstations. Among these types, we will discuss about minicomputer, supercomputer and their comparison.


Minicomputers are multiprocessing computers. It consists of two or more processors. A Minicomputer is also referred to as Mini, a class of small computing devices. It was developed in the mid of 1960s. It has all the features and functionality of a large computer, but it is smaller in size.

It lies between the mainframe and microcomputer as it is smaller than the mainframe but larger than the microcomputer. It lies in the middle range of computing systems.

minicomputer vs supercomputer

It was named minicomputer to describe it as the smaller computer that holds the transistors and core memory technologies. It was developed for computing tasks such as calculation, store records, controls, human interactions, etc.

The size of a Minicomputer ranges from 7 inches to 12 inches in width or less than 7 inches. Its smaller size is its beauty that attracts users; it is lightweight and portable because of its size. It does not require much space for setup.

Minicomputers are used for entertainment, gaming, and other computing tasks such as scientific computations, business-transaction processing, database management, file handling, etc. It is useful for small organizations. For instance, an admission department of a university can use minicomputers to monitor the admission process.


Super-computers are the fastest and most expensive computers among all types of computers. They have huge storage capacities and computing speeds and thus can perform millions of instructions per second.

They are task-specific and used for specialized applications like weather forecasting, petroleum engineering, medicine, large-scale numerical problems in engineering and scientific disciplines, including applications in electronics, and many more.

For instance, NASA uses supercomputers to launch space satellites, monitor and control them for space exploration.

Roger Cray developed the first supercomputer in 1976. Supercomputers can decrypt passwords to increase protection for security reasons. They produce excellent results in animations. They play a vital role in managing the online currency world, such as the stock market and bitcoin.

It helps diagnose various critical diseases and produce accurate results in brain injuries, strokes, etc.

Minicomputer v/s Supercomputer

minicomputer vs supercomputer

Now, let's see the comparison chart between minicomputers and supercomputers. We are comparing both terms based on some characteristics.

On the basis of Minicomputer Supercomputer
Definition It is a small size computer that is packed up with power and having limited computation capabilities. Super-computers are the fastest and most expensive computers. They have huge storage capacities and computing speeds and thus can perform millions of instructions per second.
Features Minicomputers are portable, fast, reliable, lightweight, easy to use and maintain. They are very expensive and have a high memory size that is in gigabytes.
Speed The speed of minicomputers is in the range of 10-30MIPS. It has a high processing speed with a range from 100 to 900MIPS.
Purpose They are mainly designed to fulfill the computing needs of people. They are useful in small size organizations. They are mainly used for specialized applications like weather forecasting, petroleum engineering, medicine, and many more.
Expensive They are less expensive. They are more expensive.
Limitations They have small displays, not enough storage capacity, etc. They take a lot of space, require highly skilled staff, high power consumption, etc.
Example Examples of minicomputers are - IBM's AS/400e, Honeywell200, etc. Examples of supercomputers are - Cray supercomputer, Fugaku, ETA10, etc.

That's all about the article. Hope you find it informative and helpful, and gain knowledge about minicomputers, supercomputers, and the difference between them.

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