A computer is one of the most brilliant inventions of mankind. Thanks to computer technology, we were able to achieve storage and processing of huge amounts of data; we could rest our brains by employing computer memory capacities for storage of information. Owing to computers, we have been able speed up daily work, carry out critical transactions and achieve accuracy and precision at work. Computers of the earlier times were of the size of a large room and were required to consume huge amounts of electric power. However, with the advancing technology, computers have shrunk to the size of a small watch.
Depending on the processing power and size of computers, they have been classified under various types. Let us look at the classification of computers. What are the Different Types of Computers? Based on the operational principle of computers, they are categorized as analog, digital and hybrid computers. Operational Principle Analog Digital Hybrid Analog Computers: These are almost extinct today. These are different from a digital computer because an analog computer can perform several mathematical operations simultaneously. It uses continuous variables for mathematical operations and utilizes mechanical or electrical energy.
Digital Computers: They use digital circuits and are designed to operate on two states, namely bits 0 and 1. They are analogous to states ON and OFF. Data on these computers is represented as a series of 0s and 1s. Digital computers are suitable for complex computation and have higher processing speeds. They are programmable. Digital computers are either general purpose computers or special purpose ones. General purpose computers, as their name suggests, are designed for specific types of data processing while general purpose computers are meant for general use.
Hybrid Computers: These computers are a combination of both digital and analog computers. In this type of computers, the digital segments perform process control by conversion of analog signals to digital ones. This was the classification of computers based on their style of functioning. Following is a classification of the different types of computers based on their sizes and processing powers. Processing Power Mainframe Microcomputers Mainframe Computers: Large organizations use mainframes for highly critical applications such as bulk data processing and ERP.
Most of the mainframe computers have capacities to host multiple operating systems and operate as a number of virtual machines. They can substitute for several small servers. Microcomputers: A computer with a microprocessor and its central processing unit is known as a microcomputer. They do not occupy space as much as mainframes do. When supplemented with a keyboard and a mouse, microcomputers can be called personal computers. A monitor, a keyboard and other similar input-output devices, computer memory in the form of RAM and a power supply unit come packaged in a microcomputer.
These computers can fit on desks or tables and prove to be the best choice for single-user tasks. Personal computers come in different forms such as desktops, laptops and personal digital assistants. Let us look at each of these types of computers. Personal Computers Desktop Laptop Netbook PDA Minicomputer Server Supercomputer Wearable Computer Tablet Desktops: A desktop is intended to be used on a single location. The spare parts of a desktop computer are readily available at relatively lower costs. Power consumption is not as critical as that in laptops.
Desktops are widely popular for daily use in the workplace and households. Laptops: Similar in operation to desktops, laptop computers are miniaturized and optimized for mobile use. Laptops run on a single battery or an external adapter that charges the computer batteries. They are enabled with an inbuilt keyboard, touch pad acting as a mouse and a liquid crystal display. Their portability and capacity to operate on battery power have proven to be of great help to mobile users. Netbooks: They fall in the category of laptops, but are inexpensive and relatively smaller in size.
They had a smaller feature set and lesser capacities in comparison to regular laptops, at the time they came into the market. But with passing time, netbooks too began featuring almost everything that notebooks had. By the end of 2008, netbooks had begun to overtake notebooks in terms of market share and sales. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs): It is a handheld computer and popularly known as a palmtop. It has a touch screen and a memory card for storage of data. PDAs can also be used as portable audio players, web browsers and smartphones. Most of them can access the Internet by means of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication.
Minicomputers: In terms of size and processing capacity, minicomputers lie in between mainframes and microcomputers. Minicomputers are also called mid-range systems or workstations. The term began to be popularly used in the 1960s to refer to relatively smaller third generation computers. They took up the space that would be needed for a refrigerator or two and used transistor and core memory technologies. The 12-bit PDP-8 minicomputer of the Digital Equipment Corporation was the first successful minicomputer. Servers: They are computers designed to provide services to client machines n a computer network. They have larger storage capacities and powerful processors. Running on them are programs that serve client requests and allocate resources like memory and time to client machines. Usually they are very large in size, as they have large processors and many hard drives. They are designed to be fail-safe and resistant to crash. Supercomputers: The highly calculation-intensive tasks can be effectively performed by means of supercomputers. Quantum physics, mechanics, weather forecasting, molecular theory are best studied by means of supercomputers.
Their ability of parallel processing and their well-designed memory hierarchy give the supercomputers, large transaction processing powers. Wearable Computers: A record-setting step in the evolution of computers was the creation of wearable computers. These computers can be worn on the body and are often used in the study of behavior modeling and human health. Military and health professionals have incorporated wearable computers into their daily routine, as a part of such studies. When the users’ hands and sensory organs are engaged in other activities, wearable computers are of great help in tracking human actions.
Wearable computers do not have to be turned on and off and remain in operation without user intervention. Tablet Computers: Tablets are mobile computers that are very handy to use. They use the touch screen technology. Tablets come with an onscreen keyboard or use a stylus or a digital pen. Apple’s iPad redefined the class of tablet computers. These were some of the different types of computers used today. Looking at the rate of advancement in technology, we can definitely look forward to many more in the near future. Read more at Buzzle: http://www. buzzle. com/articles/different-types-of-computers. tml The types of computers range from the Hybrid to the Analog types. The computers you come across in the daily course of your day range from laptops, palmtops and towers, to desktop computers, to name a few. But the very word “computers” reminds one of the desktop computers used in offices or homes. Different categories of computes have been devised in keeping with our varied needs. The Types Of Computers: Analog and Hybrid (classification based on operational principle) Analog Computers: The analog computer is almost an extinct type of computer these days.
It is different from a digital computer in respect that it can perform numerous mathematical operations simultaneously. It is also unique in terms of operation as it utilizes continuous variables for the purpose of mathematical computation. It utilizes mechanical, hydraulic, or electrical energy or operation. Hybrid computers: These types of computers are, as the name suggests, a combination of both Analog and Digital computers. The Digital computers which work on the principle of binary digit system of “0” and “1” can give very precise results. But the problem is that they are too slow and incapable of large scale mathematical operation.
In the hybrid types of computers the Digital counterparts convert the analog signals to perform Robotics and Process control. Apart from this, computers are also categorized on the basis of physical structures and the purpose of their use. Based on Capacity, speed and reliability they can be divided into three categories of computers: 1. The Mainframe Computer – These are computers used by large organizations like meteorological surveys and statistical institutes for performing bulk mathematical computations. They are core computers which are used for desktop functions of over one hundred people simultaneously. 2.
The Microcomputer – These are the most frequently used computers better known by the name of “Personal computers”. This is the type of computer meant for public use. Other than Desktop Computer the choice ranges as follows: Personal Digital Computer Tablet PC Towers Work Stations Laptops Hand Held Computer 3. The Mini computer – Mini computers like the mainframe computers are used by business organization. The difference being that it can support the simultaneous working of up to 100 users and is usually maintained in business organizations for the maintenance of accounts and finances. Yet another category of computer is the Super Computers.
It is somewhat similar to mainframe computers and is used in economic forecasts and engineering designs. Today life without computers is inconceivable. Usage of different types of computers has made life both smooth and fast paced. There are a lot of terms used to describe computers. Most of these words imply the size, expected use or capability of the computer. While the term computer can apply to virtually any device that has a microprocessor in it, most people think of a computer as a device that receives input from the user through a mouse or keyboard, processes it in some fashion and displays the result on a screen. PC – The personal computer (PC) defines a computer designed for general use by a single person. While a Mac is a PC, most people relate the term with systems that run the Windows operating system. PCs were first known as microcomputers because they were a complete computer but built on a smaller scale than the huge systems in use by most businesses. • Desktop – A PC that is not designed for portability. The expectation with desktop systems are that you will set the computer up in a permanent location.
Most desktops offer more power, storage and versatility for less cost than their portable brethren. • Laptop – Also called notebooks, laptops are portable computers that integrate the display, keyboard, a pointing device or trackball, processor, memory and hard drive all in a battery-operated package slightly larger than an average hardcover book. • Palmtop – More commonly known as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), palmtops are tightly integrated computers that often use flash memory instead of a hard drive for storage.
These computers usually do not have keyboards but rely on touchscreen technology for user input. Palmtops are typically smaller than a paperback novel, very lightweight with a reasonable battery life. A slightly larger and heavier version of the palmtop is the handheld computer. • Workstation – A desktop computer that has a more powerful processor, additional memory and enhanced capabilities for performing a special group of task, such as 3D Graphics or game development. • Server – A computer that has been optimized to provide…
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