Two computing systems

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February 8, 2013 by Ozgur Ozden

The first computing system that I would like to compare is IBM 3270 PC also known as Imagegreen  screen computers released in 1983. This is the computer I have used in my Fortran 77 course around 1988. This was actually a terminal connected to a mainframe at CERN which is located Franco–Swiss border. The system consists of a screen, keyboard and the main unit. Program loaded or written on this terminal actually run on the mainframe and results sent back to terminal. Structure can be seen below.  In a sense whole  system was the ancestor of cloud computing that we are using today.

First I have programmed the surveys such as “Does he really love you?” or “How Smart are you?” given by the newspapers in BASIC language for fun. Then I have done some serious programming using Fortran 77 with this system such as matrices operations or simulations.

Now let us try to compare the technical details of the system with the ones we are using today.

IBM 3270

Today’s Technology


128 Kb

Around  GB

Hard Disk

10 Mb

Around GB to TB Levels


Intel 8088 4.77 MHz

Intel Core i3, i5, i7, GHz level

Operating System

PC DOS 2.0

Windows, OS X,Android

Floppy Drive

5.25 in

CD-ROM,DVD,Flash Drive



Around 1366 x 768


As one can see we have a huge difference between these two systems. Today we are carrying systems in our pockets more powerful than IBM 3270.
The second Computer system that I would like to compare with today’s technology is ImageCommodore 64 which introduced at 1982.  I have mainly used this system for gaming purposes and little bit of BASIC programming so I would like to compare this system with today’s game consoles. The system that i have used consists of Commodore 64 main unit, power adapter  joystick and datasette which used for loading the programs to the system via magnetic cassette. System is usually connected to a TV. Some of the games that i have played in this system were; Pacman, Wizard of Wor, my favorite Boulder Dash, Last Ninja, etc. As i have mentioned  before, i have done some very easy calculations in BASIC programming and recorded to the magnetic cassette via datasette. If we compare this system with today’s game consoles:

Commodore 64



64 Kb

around 4GB

Hard Disk


120GB/80GB/512MB Flash drive


0.985 MHz

3.2 GHz/3.2 GHz/729 MHz IBM

Operating System

Commodore BASIC 2.0

Custom /XrossMediaBar/IOS

Floppy Drive


DVD/BlueRay/Optical Drive


320 × 200, 16 colors

720p, 1080i, 1080p etc

Of course todays game consoles are very complex to commodore 64 and even we do carry very advanced systems in our pockets.
1- Commodore 64  Full Set. [Online image]. Available from: (Accessed: 21 December 2012)
2- BARR/3270 manual, [Online İmage]. Available from: (Accessed: 21 December 2012)
3 – BARR/3270 manual,IBM’s 3270 Manual. [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 21 December 2012)
4-  IBM 3270 PC, [Online] Available from:  ( Accessed: 22 December 2012)
5-  Paul Thurrott, (2010), “A technical Comparison” [Online].Available From: (Accessed: 22. December 2012)
6- List of Commodore 64 Games, [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 22 Decemeber 2012)


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