Types of Computer (Classification)



TYPES OF COMPUTERS(Classification of computer)

1. Super Computers

2. Main Frame Computers

3. Mini Computers

4. Micro Computers


1. Super Computers

supercomputers are high- capacity machines with hundreds of thousands of processors that can perform more than 1 trillion calculations per second. These are the most expensive but fastest computers available. “Supers,” as they are called, have been used for tasks requiring the processing of enormous volumes of data, such as doing the U.S. census count, forecasting weather, designing aircraft, modeling molecules, breaking codes, and simulating explosion of nuclear bombs.

E.g.:- CRAY Research :- CRAY-1 & CRAY-2, Fujitsu (VP2000),

  • Hitachi (S820), NEC (SX20), PARAM 10000 by C-DAC, Anupam by BARC, PACE Series by DRDO
  •  Most powerful Computer system – needs a large room
  •  Minimum world length is 64 bits
  •  CPU speed: 100 MIPS
  •  Equivalent to 4000 computers
  •  High cost: 4 – 5 millions
  •  Able to handle large amount of data
  •  High power consumption
  •  High precision Computer Organization
  •  Large and fast memory (Primary and Secondary)
  •  Uses multiprocessing and parallel processing
  •  Supports multiprogramming Applications

In petroleum industry – to analyze volumes of seismic data which are gathered during oil seeking explorations to identify areas where there is possibility of getting petroleum products inside the earth

In Aerospace industry – to simulate airflow around an aircraft at different speeds and altitude. This helps in producing an effective aerodynamic design for superior performance

In Automobile industry – to do crash simulation of the design of an automobile before it is released for manufacturing – for better automobile design

In structural mechanics – to solve complex structural engineering problems to ensure safety, reliability and cost effectiveness. Eg. Designer of a large bridge has to ensure that the bridge must be proper in various atmospheric conditions and pressures from wind, velocity etc and under load conditions.

Meteorological centers use super computers for weather forecasting  In Biomedical research – atomic nuclear and plasma analysis – to study the structure of viruses such as that causing AIDS

For weapons research and development, sending rockets to space etc.


2. Main Frame Computers

The only type of computer available until the late 1960s, mainframes are water- or air-cooled computers that vary in size from small, to medium, to large, depending on their use. Small mainframes are often called midsize computers; they used to be called minicomputers. Mainframes are used by large organizations such as banks, airlines, insurance companies, and colleges-for processing millions of transactions. Often users access a mainframe using a terminal, which has a display screen and a keyboard and can input and output data but cannot byitself process data.

 E.g.:- IBM 3000 series, Burroughs B7900, Univac 1180, DEC

  •  Able to process large amount of data at very high speed
  •  Supports multi-user facility
  •  Number of processors varies from one to six.
  •  Cost: 3500 to many million dollars
  •  Kept in air conditioned room to keep them cool
  •  Supports many I/O and auxiliary storage devices
  •  Supports network of terminals


3. Mini Computers

Introduced in the early 1980s, workstations, are expensive, powerful computers usually used for complex scientific, mathematical, and engineering calculations and for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. Providing many capabilities comparable to midsize mainframes, workstations are used for such tasks as designing airplane fuselages, prescription drugs, and movie special effects. Workstations have caught the eye of the public mainly for their graphics capabilities, which are used to breathe three-dimensional life into movies such as Jurassic Park and Titanic. The capabilities of low-end workstations overlap those of high-end desktop microcomputers.

 E.g.:- Digital Equipments PDP 11/45 and VAX 11)

  •  Perform better than micros
  •  Large in size and costlier than micros
  •  Designed to support more than one user at a time
  •  Posses large storage capacities and operates at higher speed
  •  Support faster peripheral devices like high speed printers
  •  Can also communicate with main frames



These computers are used when the volume of processing is large for e.g. Data processing for a medium sized organization

Used to control and monitor production processes, To analyze results of experiments in laboratories, Used as servers in LANs (Local Area Networks)


4. Micro Computers

Microcomputers, also called personal computers (PC), can fit next to a desk or on a desktop, or can be carried around. They are either stand-alone machines or are connected to a computer network, such as a local area network. A local area network (LAN) connects, usually by special cable, a group of desktop PCs and other devices, such as printers, in an office or a building.

E.g.:- IBM PC, PS/2 and Apple Macintosh

  •  A microcomputer uses a microprocessor as its central Processing Unit. Microcomputers are tiny computers that can vary in size from a single chip to the size of a desktop model
  •  They are designed to be used by only one person at a time
  •  Small to medium data storage capacities 500MB – 2GB
  •  The common examples of microcomputers are chips used in washing machines, TVs, Cars and Note book/Personal computers.



Used in the field of desktop publishing, accounting, statistical analysis, graphic designing, investment analysis, project management, teaching, entertainment etc

The different models of microcomputers are given below:-

a) Personal computers:- The name PC was given by the IBM for its microcomputers. PCs are used for word processing, spreadsheet calculations, database management etc.

b) Note book or Lap Top:- Very small in terms of size – can be folded and carried around – Monitor is made up of LCD and the keyboard and system units are contained in a single box. Got all the facilities of a personal computer (HDD, CDD, Sound card, N/W card, Modem etc) and a special connection to connect to the desktop PC which can be used to transfer data.

c) Palm Top:- Smaller model of the microcomputer- size is similar to that of a calculator – pocket size- It has a processor and memory and a special connection to connect to the desktop PC which can be used to transfer data.

d) Wrist PC:- Smallest type of microcomputer – can be worn on our wrist like a watch- It has a processor and memory and a wireless modem















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