Types of Computers based on Configuration:
There are four different types of computers when we classify them based on their performance and capacity. The four types are
When we talk about types of computers, the first type that comes to our mind would be Super computers. They are the best in terms of processing capacity and also the most expensive ones. These computers can process billions of instructions per second. Normally, they will be used for applications which require intensive numerical computations such as stock analysis, weather forecasting etc. Other uses of supercomputers are scientific simulations, (animated) graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, electronic design, and analysis of geological data (e.g. in petrochemical prospecting). Perhaps the best known super computer manufacturer is Cray Research. Some of the "traditional" companies which produce super computers are Cray, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
Mainframe computers can also process data at very high speeds vi.e., hundreds of million instructions per second and they are also quite expensive. Normally, they are used in banking, airlines and railways etc for their applications.
Mini computers are lower to mainframe computers in terms of speed and storage capacity. They are also less expensive than mainframe computers. Some of the features of mainframes will not be available in mini computers. Hence, their performance also will be less than that of mainframes.
The invention of microprocessor (single chip CPU) gave birth to the much cheaper micro computers. They are further classified into
Today the Desktop computers are the most popular computer systems. These desktop computers are also known as personal computers or simply PCs. They are usually easier to use and more affordable. They are normally intended for individual users for their word processing and other small application requirements.
Laptop computers are portable computers. They are lightweight computers with a thin screen. They are also called as notebook computers because of their small size. They can operate on batteries and hence are very popular with travellers. The screen folds down onto the keyboard when not in use.
Handheld computers or Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are pen-based and also battery-powered. They are small and can be carried anywhere. They use a pen like stylus and accept handwritten input directly on the screen. They are not as powerful as desktops or laptops but they are used for scheduling appointments, storing addresses and playing games. They have touch screens which we use with a finger or a stylus.