A CDE Definition
An earlier term for a personal computer that ran at near minicomputer speed. See minicomputer.
(1) A computer with a small form factor. See mini PC.
(2) An earlier medium-scale, centralized computer that functioned as a multiuser system for up to several hundred users. The minicomputer industry was launched in 1959 after Digital Equipment Corporation introduced its PDP-1 for USD $120,000, an unheard-of low price for a computer in those days. Subsequently, a variety of minicomputer systems became available from HP, Data General, Wang, Tandem, Datapoint, Prime Computer, Varian Data and Scientific Data Systems. The single user mini evolved into a centralized system with dumb terminals for departmental use.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, most centralized minicomputers migrated from their dumb terminal architecture into servers for PC networks. The terms "midrange computer" and "server" replaced the venerable minicomputer designation.
High-end, single-user workstations, typically used for computer-aided design (CAD), were also called minicomputers. See midrange computer and mini PC.
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