Since the emergence of the first computer, a wide variety of computers with different sizes, types and functionalities have appeared that serve the purpose of a user. Computers can be as small as a laptop or a micro controller in mobile & embedded systems.Keeping the size of the device small and making it more powerful has been the recent trend. But there have been four types of computers that have ruled the world of the desktop pc over the years and ruling even now.
Types of Computers :
The five basic types of computers are as follows:
- Mainframe Computer
Supercomputers are the most powerful types of computers in performance and data processing. Large organizations use these computers for specialized and task-oriented activities. These computers are used for the purpose of research and exploration. For example, NASA uses supercomputers to launch space shuttles, control them and to explore space for research purpose.
These are very expensive and very large in size. Large air-conditioned rooms may be required to accommodate these. Some supercomputers can take up the size of an entire building.
Uses of Supercomputers
Supercomputers Educational Institutes like NUST for research purposes in Pakistan. Pakistan Atomic Energy commission& Heavy Industry Taxila utilizes supercomputers for research objectives.
Supercomputers are used for space exploration. Scientists use IBM’s powerful supercomputer “Roadrunner” at National Laboratory Los Alamos for this purpose.
Supercomputers are used to study earthquake patterns and phenomenon.On top of that, these are used for natural resources exploration, like natural gas, petroleum, coal, etc.
Supercomputers are used for weather forecasting and forecast natural disasters like hurricane, rainfalls, windstorms etc.
President of the United States, Barack Obama, approved the development of an Exascale Super Computer. It will be 30 times faster and more powerful than the fastest supercomputers available today. The need to develop supercomputers of such a high performance comes after China’s surge in high-performance computing. However, the US still heads the list of Supercomputers with 233 high-performance machines. China has 37 Super computers
- IBM’s Sequoia, in the United States
- Fujitsu’s K Computer in Japan
- IBM’s Mira in the United States
- IBM’s SuperMUC in Germany
- NUDT Tianhe-1A in China
Mainframe computer :
Mainframes are not as powerful as supercomputers. But many large firms and Government organizations use these for business operations and these are quite expensive. Because of its size, the Mainframe computers can be accommodated in large air-conditioned rooms. Super-computers are the fastest computers in terms of large data store capacity. Mainframes are also able to process & store large amount of data. Banks, educational institutions and insurance companies use mainframe computers to create databases about their customers, students & insurance policy holders.
Popular Mainframe computers
- Fujitsu’s ICL VME
- Hitachi’s Z800
Types of Computers – Minicomputer :
Small businesses & firms use minicomputers which are one of the most popular types of computers. Minicomputers are also called as “Midrange Computers”.These do not have the same data storage and processing capabilities as the super and mainframe computers. Individual departments of a large organization use Mini-computers for specific objectives and these are not designed to be used for individual use. For example, a manufacturing division can use Mini-computers for monitoring certain production process.Types of Computers
- Texas Instrument TI-990
- IBM Midrange computers
Microcomputers include desktop computers, laptops, personal digital assistant (PDA), tablets and smartphones. These are now widely used and are the fastest growing computers. Among the three types mentioned so far, these are the cheapest. The Micro-computers are specially designed for common usage like entertainment, education and work purposes. Some famous brands of Microcomputers are Dell, Apple, Samsung, Sony & Toshiba.
Desktop computers, Gaming consoles, Sound & Navigation system of a car, Netbooks, Notebooks, PDA’s, Tablet PC’s, Smartphones, Calculators are all type of Microcomputers.
Servers are one of the five types of computers that are designed to provide services to client machines within a computer network. They have powerful processors and larger storage capacities. In servers, only those programs are incorporated that serve client requests and allocate resources like memory and time to client machines. Normally,these have large processors and are very large in size consequently. Servers have many hard drives and designed to be crash resistant.