# Types of Computer with their Features

We offer you a brighter future with industry-ready online courses - Start Now!!

Everyone uses computers every day be it for work or personal use. But what we donâ€™t realize is that we use a different type of computer for different uses.

A doctor at the hospital will be using a mainframe computer while a graphic designer at her office will be using a workstation. Depending on the type of computer, our use changes. The most basic division of computer types is by purpose. There are two types of computers based on purpose – general and special.

General-purpose computers perform basic input/output functions like calculations, smaller-scale data storage, and very basic activities. Calculators, laptops. Desktops and mobile phones fall under the general-purpose category.

While special-purpose computers are particularly to perform a specific function. Thermometers for temperature, generators for electricity, engineering computers for IT firms, and it goes on. The list of special computers can go on with industry names.

This was just basic bifurcation, the computers are further divided based on their size and data handling capabilities. Let us understand them now –

### Types of Computer – Data Handling Capabilities

The computers are categorized into three types based on their data handling capabilities. They are –

#### 1. Analog Computer

With a design to process analog data, the invention of analog computers took place. This type of data is continuous i.e. keeps changing without having a discrete value. Thus these computers are only useful when the exact value is not important like in the case of speed, temperature, pressure, and current.

These computers can directly accept data from the devices without conversion into a numerical value. They continuously measure the changes in physical quantity and deliver the result on a dial or scale. Speedometer and mercury thermometer are examples of this type.

There are four main types of analog computers –

a. Slide Rules

The simplest type of analog computer developed for basic mathematical problems. It consists of two rods, the first rod has marks that slide to line up with another rod.

b. Differential Analysers

This is a special device used for differential calculations using a wheel and disk mechanisms.

c. Castle Clock

With an ability to save programming instructions, it could include the display of time, zodiac, and solar and lunar orbits.

d. Electronic Analog Computers

Here, the electrical signals flow in capacitors and resistors without mechanical interaction of components.

##### Characteristics of Analog Computers
• It is a real-time operating device that represents data at the same time continuously within the given range.
• Performs calculations without third-party support for input/output conversion to electronic form and vice versa.
• Allows users to scale down the problem helping them understand errors and effects of the problem.

#### 2. Digital Computer

This type of computer is for calculating and performing logical operations at a very high speed. It accepts data in digits or binary numbers and works on them with programs delivering an output. All sorts of modern devices like laptops and smartphones fall under this category.

##### Characteristics of Digital Computers:
• The device can store a large amount of information with easy retrieval as well.
• Allows users to add the latest features to the system more easily.
• Without changing the hardware, many applications can be run on the same computer with different programs.
• Improvement in the integrated circuit technology led to falling hardware price.
• Works at a high speed as it is digitally run.
• It uses error correction codes to become very reliable.
• External factors like noise and weather don’t impact the device making the reproducibility of results is higher.

#### 3. Hybrid Computer

Combining the features of both analog and digital computers, the hybrid computer was invented. It has the speed of an analog while the memory of a digital device. It is capable of using continuous and discrete data and is mostly used in specialized applications. Eg – petrol pumps, airplanes, hospitals, and scientific applications.

##### Characteristics of Hybrid Computers:
• It has a very high speed as the configuration goes on parallel.
• It delivers precise and faster results that are useful.
• This is capable of solving difficult equations in real-time.
• It helps to maintain on-line data processing.

### Types of Computer based on size

#### 1. Supercomputer

The largest and fastest computers are the supercomputers specifically designed to process huge amounts of data. It is capable of processing trillions of instructions in a few seconds as it has thousands of processors interconnected.

Roger Cray developed the first supercomputer in 1976 and since then it is only used for particular science and engineering applications. This includes weather forecasts, hospital equipment, nuclear research, etc.

##### Characteristics / Applications of supercomputers:
• It enhances device protection as it can decrypt the passwords for security reasons.
• Animation results are excellent on this computer.
• Nuclear weapons and critical medical tests use them for virtual testing.
• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses it for climate patterns and weather conditions.
• Designs flight simulators for beginner pilots for training.
• Extracts information from data storage centers for useful purposes.
• Online currency like bitcoin and stocks are largely managed by this computer only.
• Diagnosis of some critical health issues like brain injuries and strokes is done by this computer.
• It accurately analyses scientific data and explores the solar system and earth movement.
• It can identify the level of pollutants present in the atmosphere at a particular point in time.

#### 2. Mainframe computer

These are specifically designed computers for big organizations as they allow hundreds and thousands of users to use programs simultaneously. Industries like banking, telecom, with a need to process high volume data, use mainframe computers.

##### Characteristics of Mainframe Computers:
• It is capable of processing huge amounts of data in seconds.
• It is very durable and can last for 50 years at least with proper installation.
• This can handle large-scale memory management.
• It can distribute the work internally among other processors.
• Very few chances of error and even in the case of one, there is a quick fix.
• The technology inside protects data while exchanging information.
##### Applications of mainframe computers:
• Allows medical firms to maintain and track records of millions of patients relating to medicines, appointments, and updates.
• In defense security, one branch can exchange large and sensitive information with another branch.
• Allows universities and academies to maintain data of their students, teachers, other subgroups, etc. They can manage, change and retrieve according to their convenience.
• Similarly, the retail sector also needs these computers to maintain a database of their large customer group distributed across the city and sometimes countries.

#### 3. Miniframe or Minicomputer

It is a computer with a medium size that comes with two processors and can support 200 users at a time. They are commonly used in institutes and departments for accounting-related tasks. This computer comes between the mainframe and microcomputer in terms of size.

##### Characteristics of miniframe or minicomputer:
• It is very easy to carry due to its lightweight and can fit in a small space too.
• It is cheaper than the mainframe computers.
• Even with a small size, it is quite fast.
• It has a good battery life and stays charged longer.
• It can work without a controlled operational environment.
##### Applications of minicomputers:
• The manufacturing firms use it for process control. It collects data and gives back feedback and fixes any abnormality instantly.
• Small organizations like local hospitals and hotels use it to store and share data related to their customers/ patients. Data management is the key function here.
• It is often used as a communicator in a large system as it becomes a portal between the operator and processor.

#### 4. Workstation

It is a single-user computer designed mainly for technical and scientific applications. The microprocessor is very fast with a large RAM and high-speed adapters. It is known to perform a specific task only and thus the market offers variations like graphic workstations, music workstations, etc.

##### Characteristics of workstation computer:
• Designed for business and professional use, it is a single-user device with high performance.
• They are better than the personal computer with a powerful CPU, more storage, and better-looking graphics.
• Their application is endless as there is a computer available for every expertise field.
• It can multitask between audio, video, animation, editing, etc.

All workstations computer mandatorily needs to have these five features –

1. Multiple Processor Cores
2. Error-correcting code RAM
3. Redundant Array of Independent Disks
4. Solid State Drives – fewer chances of physical failure
5. Optimized, Higher end GPU

#### 5. Microcomputer

The smallest size computer invented solely for personal use is a microcomputer. The central processing unit is the processor, storage memory, and input/output unit. Personal laptops and PCs that we use today are examples of this type only. The application of these computers is for personal use only like office work, assignments, or watching a movie. The types of microcomputers are –

• Notebook computer – lightweight computer like a briefcase. They have flat-panel technology and are very expensive compared to others. They come with a battery pack that needs to be recharged every few hours.
• Desktop Model – A top of a desk computer with a monitor, they are broad and low with three internal mass storage devices. Also known as slimline models.
• Tower computer – It has a power supply, motherboard, and mass storage connected in a compact box. The installation is easy to do and its compact nature makes it easier to fit anywhere.
• Laptop – A small and portable computer that is easy to carry with a flap-like screen.
• Subnotebook – A portable computer with lighter weight and smaller keyboards. It is smaller than the notebook computer but the rest of the features remain the same.
• Hand-held computer – A portable computer which can be easily held in hand. Calendar and address books are the most common forms used in the market. These are pen-based devices and are often called pocket computers.
• Palmtop – A small computer that fits in your palm but comes without a disk drive. They are similar to PDAs only and are often referred to as one. They have PCMCIA which allows insertion of drives and other devices.
• PDA – commonly used for fax, phone calls, and network features. They come with a stylus and keyboard including writing recognition. They have limited applications because of their high price.
##### Characteristics of a basic microcomputer:
• The smallest size computer available.
• There is a limitation to installing software.
• A single person can only use it at a time.
• Super easy to use at a lower cost.
• No training is required to use the device.
• A single semiconductor chip comes with it.
• Only multitasking it can do is printing, browsing, watching videos, etc.

### Conclusion

Smartphones and MacIntosh are also referred to as a type of computer but that’s not the case. Smartphones fall under the palmtops due to their similar features. While Macintosh is a type of laptop only manufactured by Apple Inc.

The basic types of computers are five categories only which are mentioned above. Bank PO, SBI PO, IBPS, RRB Exam, etc are just a few names that have computer aptitude as one of their subjects. This is an important beginner-level topic under computer aptitude that all the aspirants should know about.

We work very hard to provide you quality material
Could you take 15 seconds and share your happy experience on Google

### 3 Responses

1. Olusola says:

There are five types of computer namely:
based on generation
type
size
purpose
branded & cloned

2. Kelil says:

It is very nice information

3. Bill Abe says:

Very understandable