Types of computers Firstly, what is a computer? Well, a modern computer is typically an electronic or digital device that manipulates data. Computers can execute a pre-recorded list of instructions know as a “programme”. Large amounts of data can be stored on computers and be quickly accessed, edited and stored. When it comes to computers there are several different types: * High Performance System (HPS) * Workstations * Personal Computer * Laptop / Notebook * Palmtop These different types of machines are used for a wide range of various tasks.
High Performance System High performance systems also known as HPS can describe several computers such as: Supercomputer Supercomputer A very expensive machine, which is to be expected as supercomputers are immensely powered machines capable of performing hundreds of millions of calculations every second. They are employed for specific applications such as the analysis of geographical data or scientific simulation. Mainframe Again, an expensive machine. Mainframe computers are multi-user and are capable of supporting thousands of users concurrently.
They are used primarily by large organizations and the government for critical applications that require bulk data to be processed. Minicomputer Minicomputer Mainframe Computer System It is another class of computer that supports multiple users, although not as powerful as a mainframe computer, minicomputer can still support hundreds of users simultaneously. Workstations A Workstation is powerful computer, they are single user machines although they are typically linked together to for a Local Area Network (LAN) in a business environment but can be used as stand alone machines.
The power of a workstation exceeds that of a personal computer in both the capability of its microprocessor power, and in general. Even though they are more powerful than personal computer microcomputers are almost never used as an alternative for personal work. Workstations generally come with a high quality monitor, large amounts of RAM, a powerful graphics card, built in network support a graphical User Interface (GUI). Personal Computer A personal computer (PC) can be defined as a small, relatively cheap computer whose capabilities made it ideal for the individual user.
Typical applications for personal computers include, word processing, spread sheets, databases, digital media playback and gaming. Modern computers have connections to the internet and make them ideal for web browsing, e-mail, streaming multimedia, VoIP and IM. Personal computers first appeared in the late 1970’s with the commodore PET, TRS-80 and the Apple II. In 1981 IBM introduced its first personal computer as the IBM PC, it quickly became the preferred computer of choice.
Today’s market in personal computers is basically divided between “Apple Macintoshes” and “Windows PC’s”. The Power of personal computers varies greatly from machine to machine and so does the price, as shown below: A COMPAQ SG3-320uk Desktop PC * Dual-core AMD Athlon™ II X2 245 Processor * 2GB RAM * 500GB Hard Drive * Windows 7 Operating system ?259. 99 APPLE Mac Pro MC561B/A Desktop PC * Quad-core Intel® Xeon® E5620 (2. 4 GHz) * 6GB RAM * 1TB Hard Drive * Mac OS X 10. 6 Snow Leopard ?2,859. 00 Laptops / Notebooks
Laptops and notebooks are basically a small portable version of a personal computer. In today’s market laptops and notebook generally have the same specification as desktops. The difference is that generally Laptops and notebook will cost slightly more than the desktop equivalent as they are portable and can run from a battery. They generally contain wireless technology such as a network card to allow connectivity to wireless networks. Palmtop Computers (PDA) Palmtops or Personal Digital Assistants are a small handheld computer.
They have a small touch sensitive screen which on some devices can have information input directly by touching with a finger and other devices which offer a stylus which allows the user to select options off the screen. Data entry can be done using handwriting recognition, on screen keyboard and some devices have a physical keyboard. The tasks usually completed on PDA’s are usually: note making, calendars, addresses and a means of sending and receiving e-mail. The devices work together with a desktop PC so that the data can be transferred between the two either via cable or using Bluetooth.