Second Generation of Computer

The second-generation computers were developed during 1959 to 1965. Mainly transistors were used in the 2nd generation computer. In 1947, Bell Labs invented the transistor but it was not seen to have widespread use in computers until the late 1950s. Second-generation computers were cheaper, consumed less electricity, small in size, and faster than the first generation of computers.

The second-generation computers used batch processing and multiprogramming operating systems.  Assembly languages ​​and more high-level programming languages ​​such as FORTRAN, COBOL were used as programming languages.

The second-generation computer was based on transistors. Second-generation computers featured circuit boards filled with individual transistors and magnetic core memory. Magnetic cores were used as primary memory, and magnetic tapes and magnetic disks were used as secondary storage devices.

In the 1960s, there were a number of commercially successful second generation computers used in universities, businesses, and government companies like Control Data, Burroughs, Sperry-Rand, Honeywell, and IBM. Also, remote terminal units were seen to have much greater use in the second generation. Telephone connections provided sufficient speed for earlier remote terminals and allowed the separation of several kilometers between remote terminals and computing centers.

New types of careers like programmers, analysts, and computer systems experts and the entire software industry started from the second generation of computers.

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2nd Generation of Computer History

In 1953, the University of Manchester built the first experimental transistor computer. Two versions of the transistor computer were made, the first operating the prototype in 1953 and the second in 1955 a full-size version. The machine built-in 1953, had 92 point-contact transistors and 550 diodes, and it was manufactured by STC. It used the term 48-bit machine. The machine built-in 1955 had 200 point-contact transistors and 1300 diodes.

So many transistorized computers were created after 1956. Japan developed ETL Mark III in 1956, Canada developed DRTE Computer in 1957, Austria developed Mailufterl in1958. These were the first transistorized computers in Asia, Canada, and Europe respectively.

IBM-608 transistor calculator was developed by IBM in 1957. The development of the IBM-608 was preceded by the prototyping of the all-transistor version of the 604. It was developed in 1954 but was not commercialized. In 1957, The Philco Transac models S-1000 scientific computer and S-2000 electronic data processing computer was developed. There were early commercially produced large-scale transistor computers.

The most commercial transistor computer was developed by IBM in the 20th century. IBM introduced the IBM-7070 and ten-digit word decimate machine, which was its first commercial transistorized computer. IBM-7090 had developed in 1959. It was a 36-bit scientific machine. IBM had built a large amount of IBM-1401 computers. It captured one-third of the world market. More than ten thousand computers were built between 1960 to 1964.

IBM developed System/360 and hybrid circuits in 1964. The S/360 series using IBM’s Solid Logic Technology (SLT) modules.

Examples of Second Generation Computers

Many computers were developed in the second generation of computers. Some popular second generation computer name,

  • IBM 1401
  • Honeywell 400
  • IBM 1620
  • CDC 1604
  • IBM 7094
  • CDC 3600
  • UNIVAC 1108

Second Generation Computer Images

Here are some pictures of a second generation computer.

second generation computers
Second Generation Computer
second generation computers

Transistors computer

In 1953, the first prototype of a computer was made with transistors. Therefore, transistorized computers are called second-generation computers.

In the transistor computer, the transistor was placed in the place of the vacuum tube. Compared to vacuum tubes, transistors have many advantages. Vacuum tube computers consumed a high amount of electricity and generated a lot of heat. But, the Transistorized computer consumed less amount of electricity and generated a less amount of heat as compared to vacuum tubes. Silicon junction transistors were much more reliable than vacuum tubes and had longer service life.


In the 1950s to 1960s, the second generation computers featured circuit boards filled with individual transistors and magnetic core memory.

In The late 1960s, These machines remained the mainstream design. When integrated circuits started appearing after some time and led to the third generation computers.

Features of Second Generation Computer

The main characteristics of features of second generation computers are,

  1. Use of transistors in the computer system
  2. Smaller size as compared to the first-generation computer
  3. Consumed less electricity
  4. Generated less heat
  5. Reliable in comparison to first-generation computers
  6. Supported machine and assembly languages
  7. AC required
  8. Faster than first-generation computers
  9. Still very costly

Advantages of Second Generation Computer

Over first generation computer, second generation computer having many advantages,

  1. Due to the presence of transistors in place of vacuum tubes, the electron component size decreased. It reduced the size of the computer as compared to the first generation of computers. Therefore, it became easier to use the computer.
  2. Second-generation computers consumed less energy and did not produce more heat as compared to the first generation of computers.
  3. The assembly language was used for input. Therefore, the machine became easier to use.
  4. Better speed, faster data calculations.
  5. Better portability as compared to the first generation computer.

Disadvantages of second generation computers

Compared to the next generation computers, the second generation computers had some disadvantages,

  1. AC was required in the computer system.
  2. Only used for specific purposes & important work.
  3. Constant maintenance was required of the computer.
  4. It was still very expensive, but cost less than the first generation computer.

Difference Between First and Second Generation Computers

First-generation computersSecond-generation computers
This computer was the first step towards invention, the vacuum tube was used to create these computers.Transistors were used in the second generation computer system.
This computer was very large. It looked like an entire room.Smaller size as compared to the first generation computers, but still big.
Used high power of electricity.Consumed less electricity
These computers were producing a lot of heat.Generated less heat as compared to first generation computers.
The first generation computer was difficult to program and use.This time there was a little change in programming language. Therefore, it was not as difficult as the computer program.
Only Machine language was used in the first generation computers.Supported machine language and assembly languages.
That time the computer was non-reliable.Reliable in comparison to first-generation computers.
Very big AC required in computer systems. AC is used to cool the computer system.AC required but small as compared to first generation computers.
The device was working very slow in first generation computers.Faster than first generation computers.
First generation computers were very expensive, only the big organization and rich people were able to buy it.Low cost as compared to first generation computers.

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