What Are the Different Types of Computers?

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The different categories of computers include laptops, smartphones, tablets, netbooks, mainframes, personal computers and supercomputers. Each type of computer is made for a unique use, and they have varying capabilities.

A computer is classified as a machine that is used to manipulate symbols. Computers have some characteristics in common, including the ability to execute programs, respond quickly and efficiently to certain sets of instructions and store and retrieve relatively large amounts of data. Computers of all kinds can quickly, reliably and accurately perform difficult and repetitive tasks.

Types of Computers

Laptops are among the most common types of computers. They come in several varieties and are made for different uses. Some are designed for professional use while others are equipped to handle the demands of graphic design and heavy artistic use. Other laptops are suitable for gaming. Some are designed for students and other laptops have all-around benefits for the common user. Netbooks are another type of consumer-oriented computer. Netbooks have less memory and power than laptops but are valued for their convenient size and light weight. Consumers also use personal computers, which are bigger and less transportable than laptops. Personal computers are also designed for home and office use. They are favored by businesses for their large memory storage capacities and their ability to handle multiple tasks and programs simultaneously.

Mainframe computers fill the void between computers designed for individual use and large, industrial-scale supercomputers. Mainframe computers have less capacity and power than supercomputers, but they are notably more powerful and efficient than personal computers. Mainframe computers can process billions of instructions in a matter of seconds, and they can process large amounts of varying data at once.

Supercomputers, in contrast to personal computers, are large storage units with tremendous memory and processing capabilities. Supercomputers are primarily used by large organizations that need extensive memory systems. Supercomputers are expensive, fragile and require special care. They are usually housed in special rooms with a clean, dust-free and temperature-regulated environment.

Smartphones and tablets are another category of computer. They are operated via a touchscreen, and they are known for being easy to use and easy to transport.

Computer Components

Computers can be either electronic or digital, and they share several common components. Each type of computer contains a central processing unit, or CPU, which is a component within a computer that carries out instructions embedded in programs, which tell the computer how to act. Computers also have memory, which allows them to store data and programs. Although all computers have memory, they vary in their memory capacities. Some computers have long-term memory, while others have memories that are fast but don’t store large amounts of data.

Computers also contain a mass storage device, which helps them permanently hold on to larger amounts of data in between tasks. Disk drives are common mass storage devices found in many types of computers. All computers have an input device, such as a mouse or keypad, which allow users to interact with the computer and put information into it. Computers also have output devices, which are usually screens. Output devices are components that let users see what the computer has produced.