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Types of Computers

By: Huma Samin

Types of Computers
There are four different types of computers when we classify them based on their performance and capacity. The four types are

Super Computers Mainframe Computers Mini Computers Micro Computers

Super Computers

They are the best in terms of processing capacity and also the most expensive ones. These computers can process billions of instructions per second. Normally, they will be used for applications which require intensive numerical computations such as stock analysis, weather forecasting etc. Other uses of supercomputers are
scientific simulations, (animated) graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, electronic design, and analysis of geological data.

Perhaps the best known super computer manufacturer is Cray Research. Some of the "traditional" companies which produce super computers are Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Mainframe Computers
Mainframe computers can also process data at very high speeds vi.e., hundreds of million instructions per second. They are also quite expensive. Normally, they are used in banking, airlines and railways etc. for their applications.

Super Computers vs. Mainframe Computers

A supercomputer channels all its power into executing a few programs as fast as possible, whereas a mainframe uses its power to execute many programs concurrently.

Mini Computers
Mini computers are lower to mainframe computers in terms of speed and storage capacity. They are also less expensive than mainframe computers. Some of the features of mainframes will not be available in mini computers. Hence, their performance also will be less than that of mainframes. A minicomputer is a multiprocessing system capable of supporting from up to 200 users simultaneously.

Micro Computers

Microcomputers are the most common type of computers used by people today, whether in a workplace, at school or on the desk at home. The term microcomputer was introduced with the advent of single chip microprocessors. These computers include: Desktop computers A case and a display, put under and on a desk. In-car computers (carputers) Built into a car, for entertainment, navigation, etc. Game consoles Fixed computers specialized for entertainment purposes (video games). A separate class is that of mobile devices: Laptops, notebook computers and Palmtop computers Portable and all in one case. Varying sizes, but other than smartbooks expected to be full computers without limitations. Tablet computer Like laptops, but with a touch-screen, sometimes entirely replacing the physical keyboard. Smartphones, smartbooks and PDAs (personal digital assistants) Small handheld computers with limited hardware. Programmable calculator Like small handhelds, but specialised on mathematical work. Handheld game consoles The same as game consoles, but small and portable.