Types of Computers

Based on the size and complexity, computers can generally be classified under the following categories-

Personal Computer

  • Personal Computer (PC) is a small, single-user computer based on a Microprocessor.
  • Although PC’s are designed as single-user systems, it is common to link them to form a network.

Personal Computer Types –

1. Desktop

It is not for portability. The expectation with desktop systems is that you will set up the computer in a permanent location.

desktop - type of computers

2. Laptop Computer

Also called Notebook Computers. They are portable computers that can run on batteries.

apple laptop computer

3. Palmtop

More commonly known as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). Palmtops are tightly integrated computers that often use flash memory instead of a hard drive for storage. They use touch screen technology for user input. Palmtops can typically fit in your palm.

HP-95LX MS-DOS palmtop
HP-95LX MS-DOS Palmtop

Work Station

  • It is a powerful, single-user computer. A workstation is like a personal computer, but it has a more powerful microprocessor.
  • It is used for engineering applications (CAD/CAM), desktop publishing, Software development and other applications that require a moderate amount of computing power and relatively high quality graphics capabilities.
  • In networking, a workstation refers to any computer connected to at Local Area Network (LAN).

Mini computer

Mini computers are used by small businesses. Individual departments of a large company or organizations use Mini-computers for specific purposes. It is a midsize multi-processing system capable of supporting up to 250 users simultaneously.

A PDP-11 mini computer
A PDP-11, model 40, an early member of DECs 16-bit minicomputer family.

Popular Minicomputers

  • K-202
  • Texas Instrument TI-990
  • SDS-92
  • IBM Midrange computers
  • Hewlett-Packard HP 3000 series, HP 2100 series, HP1000 series.
  • Honeywell-Bull DPS 6/DPS 6000 series.


Originally, mainframes were huge computers that could fill an entire room. They are expensive computers, capable of supporting even thousands of users simultaneously. As the size of computers has reduced while the power has increased, mainframes have fallen out of use in favor of enterprise server.mainframes computers

Popular Mainframe computers

  • Fujitsu’s ICL VME
  • Hitachi’s Z800


  • Sophisticated, expensive computers, using state-of-the-art technology.
  • Supercomputer is a broad term for one of the fastest computers currently available.
  • They are particularly utilized in simulation and modeling of complex system (weather, chemical processes, motion of galaxy).
    The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer
    The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer “Intrepid” at Argonne National Laboratory

Popular Supercomputers

  • IBM’s Sequoia, in United States
  • Fujitsu’s K Computer in Japan
  • IBM’s Mira in United States
  • IBM’s SuperMUC in Germany
  • NUDT Tianhe-1A in China

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