Types of Computer

Four basic types of computers which are given in the list below:
  • Supercomputer
  • Mainframe Computer
  • Minicomputer
  • Microcomputer

Now we learn in detail about Types of computers.

Keep reading..

What are Super Computers?


  • These are the largest and fastest machines today.
  • In super computers numerical computations are carried out at speeds of up to 50 million operations per second.
  • Super computers are very sophisticated machines designed to perform complex calculations at faster speed.


  • Super computers are used to model very large dynamic system, such as weather patterns, national or global forecasting.
  • Satellite tracking.
  • Cold-testing of atomic and nuclear weapons etc. cray Research and Intel are well known producers of super computers.
  • Super computers enable the stimulation of air flow around an aero-plane at different speeds and attitudes.
  • Auto manufacturers are super computers to stimulate auto accident on video screen.
  • Super computers are used in the film industries to create the advanced graphics.
  • These are used to sort and analyze mountains of seismic data gathered during oil seeking explorations.
  • These are used in the medical research.
  • These are used in nuclear physics and atomic plants etc.

Mainframe (large scale computers)


  • A “mainframe” originally meant the cabinet containing the central processor unit of a very large computer.
  • Mainframe, the biggest and the most productive general purpose systems, that are made to model large dynamic computing needs of a big organization that hundreds of terminals all at the same time.
  • A terminal consist of a monitor and keyboard that allow a person to enter information and retrieve it from the computer.
  • These computers are the ultimate in sophistication, flexibility and speed.
  • Large scale computers are very expensive machines and their main concern is to prove their cost effectiveness.
  • They may have memory of 100 MB.
  • These computes may have more than one CPU.


  • These computers are valuable to the large firms, which can provide concurrent and continuous applications, involving thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands accounts on a dial basis.
  • For example. Banks to keep track of millions of checks deposits.
  • Airlines to schedule thousands of flights and make seat reservations.
  • Government to keep track of their citizens, etc.

Mini- computers


  • These computers are increasingly powerful.
  • These computers are smaller than the mainframe and large than the microcomputers in size.
  • A microcomputer is a multiprocessing system having terminal attached to it and is capable of supporting 4 to 200 users simultaneously.
  • These computers have size, speed, storage, capacity and cost less than the mainframe, but greater than a personal computer (micro- computer).
  • These computers are very popular in time sharing requirements.
  • The capacity of the main memory is 10 to 30 MB.


DEC VAX and IBM AS/400 are commonly used minicomputers.


  • These computers are ideal for small companies where capacity and sped of operations is not highly critical.



  • Micro-computers are computers that are powered by microprocessors. Sometimes they are referred as SINGLE-CHIP PROCESSOR or a SYSTEM –ON-A-CHIP.
  • These computers are cheaper in cost, but include large memories, rapid updating, multi uses and multi- tasking abilities.
  • Micro computers have 4KB to 2MB memory.
  • These computers are very easy to operate.


  • Microcomputers or personal computers are the smallest computers, designed to be used by individuals for writing, illustrating, budgeting, plating games and communicating with other computers.
Super computer Main frames Minicomputers Microcomputers
Processing power Extremely high Very high High Moderate to low
Size Very large Moderately large medium Small to handy
Applications Scientific research & development Business, academic learning Business, academic learning Business, scientific research & development, academic learning
Use Stimulation of highly complex system Centralized computing Centralized General of specialized for variety of use and needs
Users Federal agencies Research organization Business, university Business, university Professionals in business, scientific and academic fields.

Classification of computer according to type of data handled with Examples and Applications

On the basis of hardware structure and the way through which physical quantities and represented computers are classified into three types.

  1. Analog computer
  2. Digital computer
  3. Hybrid computer

Analog computers

The term analog is taken from the ward analogous which means similar. They are measuring devices used to measure continuously variable quantities.

These computers use analog methods to process the data. These computers operate on numbers represented by directly measureable quantities which vary continuously such as temperature, pressure, distance, velocity etc.


  • Analog computers are commonly used for scientific and engineering problems. Particularly in the chemical industries, electric power plants, and petroleum refineries.
  • Analog processor is used in petrol pump. Thermometer, speedometer, blood pressure measuring apparatus, voltmeter and ammeter are the examples of analog computers.
  • They are used in scientific applications such as robotics were an experimental design can be tested in real time.

Digital computer

Digital computers are those which specialize in the counting. Digital computers handle the values like numbers, letters or other symbols, into binary digits (0 or 1). In digital computes all the operations are done at extremely fast rate. Digital computer has a memory and can solve the problems by counting.


  • All commonly used computers are digital computers.

Hybrid computer

Hybrid computers are the combination of both analog and digital computers system. These computers are equipped with the special conversion devices. They have speed of analog computer, while accuracy of the digital computers. A hybrid computer used input or output either analog or digital data.


  • These computers are used in the working out special types of problems in science and various areas of engineering. Such as space vehicle simultaneous and training as astronauts.
  • Another use of these computers is in robots.
  • Now a day petrol pumps are using hybrid computer, because quantity of fuel delivered and the cost of the fuel is represented in digit, while pumping motor is in the analog computer.
  • In hospitals, patients’ temperature, heart beat and blood pressure are measured bythe analog component of the computer, then these measurements are converted into digits by the digital components of a computer.

Impact of computer on education

The use of computer for educational purposes has been highly beneficial for the students and teachers as well. Computer has impact on the following levels in education.

  • At primary level
  • At high level
  • At tertiary level

At Primary Level

  • It is mostly used as an audio-visual aid in the teachings of various subjects. The use of graphic sound animation and the ability of such software to let the children freely interact with the computer makes learning fun.
  • While using these educational software children also learn the basic operations of using the computer such as use of mouse, keyboard, joystick etc.

At High Level

  • Children become more and more proficient in using the computer.

At tertiary level

  • It is a tertiary level through that computers really come into use.
  • News, assignments, tests, lectures notes etc. can be placed on the internet for students to access both at the school and from home. This is extremely useful for the students who live in remote areas and cannot travel and from university or other tertiary institution every day.
  • The idea of remote/distance learning can also be applied for the promotion of education.
  • With the use of computers and the internet, children can now learn online, through web sites and video and audio conferencing.
  • Computes are also very beneficial for research purpose. One can get information throughout the world sitting at home.

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