Types of Computers

The types of computers can be determined in many ways i.e. you can classify computers on various parameters. Such as on the basis of its use, on the basis of its size, on the basis of its functions, on the basis of its data handling capabilities.

Types of Computers

  1. Classify by Generation
  2. Classify by Size
  3. Classify by Function
  4. Classify by Use
  5. Classify by Data Handling Capabilities

Classify by Generation

1. First Generation Computers

The first-generation computers were designed with vacuum tubes. They were larger, slow in computing, heavy to handle, and were always power-hungry.

2. Second Generation Computers

The second-generation computers were designed with transistors. They were comparatively smaller than first-generation computers and even consumes less energy.

3. Third Generation Computers

The third-generation computers were designed with integrated circuits. Over the year the density of transistors in each IC ranges from 20 transistors to ten billion transistors in each IC.

4. Fourth Generation Computers

The fourth-generation transistors are designed with a microprocessor that consists of millions of ICs on a single silicon chip. This has paid contributed to reducing the size of the computers, increasing the computing speed, improved the graphics of the computers, etc. This even leveraged the innovation of battery-powered computers such as laptops, smartphones, tabs tec.

Classify by Size

If we try to classify computers on the basis of its size, from large size computer to a small size computer, the computers can be classified as follow:

  1. Supercomputers
  2. Mainframe Computers
  3. Mini Computers
  4. Micro Computers

1. Supercomputers

Supercomputers are the most powerful computers when it comes to computing. They are the biggest and the fastest high-performance systems. Supercomputers are generally used for computations that involve intense calculations.

Supercomputers perform computations to determine weather forecasting, nuclear simulation, complex scientific computation, etc. The computing speed of the supercomputer is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS).

A supercomputer’s processing is speed is one million times more than the processing speed of your fastest laptop. A supercomputer can process trillions of instructions in real-time.

2. Mainframe Computer

Mainframe computers are also high-performing computers that can process billions of instructions in real-time. The mainframe computer is also a large computer but still not as large as a supercomputer.

The mainframe computer is able to run multiple instances of different operating systems at once. Earlier the mainframe computers were big size such as big as a room. But today’s modern mainframe computers are much smaller still they are bigger than your personal computer.  The mainframe computers are generally used in big corporations such as banks and government offices.

3. Mini Computer

Minicomputers lie somewhere between the smallest mainframe computer and the largest microcomputer. Minicomputers are used as midrange servers that help in operating large businesses, even used for scientific and engineering computations, handling database management, etc.

4. Micro Computer   

Microcomputers are the general-purpose computer that we usually consider personal computers.  Microcomputers are specially designed for individual use. Microcomputers have microprocessors as their central processing unit. Examples of microcomputers are laptops, tab, smartphones, etc.

Classify by Function

If we try to classify the computers on the basis of their function we can classify them into the following.

1. Servers

Servers are computers that are designed to provide one or more dedicated services to is client. Sometimes the smaller servers that are literally the personal computers are dedicated to providing service to another computer.

On the basis of its functions, a server can be a database server that provides database services to other computers, a file server that manages and store a large number of computer files, a web server that services the clients request on the World Wide Web, etc.

2. Workstations

The workstations are designed to provide services to only one user and are usually high-performing computers. The workstations tend to have more powerful processing units, advanced graphic capabilities, large storage. The workstations are generally used for scientific and engineering computation.

3. Information Appliances

The information appliances are the computers that are specially designed to perform a user-friendly task such as text editors, music players, photography appliances, and videography appliances.

4. Embedded Computers

Embedded computers are computers that are usually embedded in a machine or a device. Embedded computers are designed to execute a specific program that tends to operate that particular machine or device.  For example microwave, washing machine.

Classify by Use

If we have to identify the types of computers on the basis of their usage then the computers can be classified as public, personal, shared, and displayed.

1. Public Computers

Public computers are the computers that are exposed to the public for their use such as libraries, schools, colleges, cybercafes, etc. The public computers are restricted to some extent and are configured to run some preinstalled software only. Public computers are not supposed to store individual files on them.

2. Personal Computers

Generally, there is only one user of a personal computer and the user has full access to have to access hardware and software of the personal computer. Personal computers are usually held to store personal files

3. Shared Computers

The shared computers are used by multiple users at a time at different times. Each user has a unique username and password. Each user has a separate account and the computer settings are adjusted as per their requirements.

4. Display Computers

Display computers are generally used to display specific content. You can see these kinds of computers in trade shows, fairs, seminars, etc. Though these computers have more features like have Wi-Fi they can be connected to the internet. These computers are not designed to store individual files.

Classify by Data Handling Capabilities

If we try to identify the types of computers on the basis of their data handling capabilities then we can classify them as:

1. Analog Computers

Analog computers tend to operate on analog data. Analog data does not provide a discrete value as it keeps on changing continuously. That’s why we use an analog computer where we do not require accurate values such as to compute speed, temperature, pressure, etc.

2. Digital Computers

Digital computers operate on digital data i.e. a sequence of 0s and 1s. Modern computers today such as desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. are digital computers. Digital computers perform high-speed calculations.

3. Hybrid Computers

Hybrid computers can process both analog and digital data. Hybrid computers accept data in analog form and convert it to digitalized form before processing it. The best example of a hybrid computer is the meters at the petrol pump as they measure the flow of fuel into the number of liters delivered and its price.

Thus, we have discussed the types of computers that can be classified on the basis of their use, function, size, and their data handling capabilities.

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