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 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 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
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...
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