Different Types of Computer/Classification of Computer

As you know about the name of a computer but it is well to know about the different types of computer. A computer is classified on the basis of power, function, and purpose. A computer is an electronic machine that accepts raw data as input, processes it according to the instructions, and calculates results/information for the user according to the given instruction. It is not a human but it is a machine for doing some operations. A computer can store information and the user can retrieve it again and again.

Although a computer can help you to perform complex jobs and solve complicated problems, therefore it is generally classified or categorized as follows.

Different Types of Computer-Based on Power and Size:

  • Supercomputer
  • Mainframe
  • Minicomputer
  • Personal Computer or
  • Microcomputer

Different Types of Computer-Based on Functions and Operations:

  • Analog
  • Digital
  • Hybrid

Different Types of Computer-Based on Purposes and Uses:

  • Special Purpose
  • General Purpose

Classification of Computer-Based on Power and Size:


A supercomputer is the most powerful multi-user and fastest computer in the world. It calculates a trillion million instructions per second up to 14 accurate decimal places. Therefore, it is called “Number Cruncher”. Multi CPUs are working together on this computer.

It is very expensive with normal costs of several million dollars. It is made for the general purpose to solve the problems of Scientists & Engineers and is referred to as “FORTRAN ENGINES” which means FORmula TRANslation because FORTRAN language is commonly used by scientists and engineers.

A supercomputer is considered to be the main tool for the reproduction of nuclear weapons denotation, aerodynamic flows, and global weather patterns.


Mainframe Computer:

Mainframe Computer is an expensive and multi-user / multiprocessing computer capable of supporting more than hundreds or thousands of users at the same time. These computers have large sizes and memory and are more powerful than Minicomputers. These computers have high-speed data processing power and can process millions of arithmetic expressions per second.

A mainframe computer is expensive and is used by large organizations or industries for significant jobs and data processing. For the computerization of huge businesses, Universities, Banks, Scientific Laboratories, National & International Markets, etc. it is usually filled with a large room because many peripheral, input, and output devices can be attached to it.

The Mainframe Operation System can support multiprogramming, time-sharing, and virtual memory; therefore it is used as a Server in a network with many workstations. Many of the terminals can be attached to a Mainframe computer to run different programs.

Terminal: It is a simple monitor along with input devices (keyboard and mouse) connected to the server for input data and to show results while processing occurs on the server.

Examples: IBM 709, IBM 4381, IBM zSeries, System z9 and System z10 servers, ICL 2900, NEC 610.


A Minicomputer is a multi-user / multiprocessing computer capable to handle 10 to 200 users simultaneously. These types of computers have a medium size, less memory, and are more powerful and expensive than microcomputers. Minicomputer contains one or more processors, and supports multiprocessing and tasking. They are smaller than Supercomputer and Mainframe computers, but more powerful than personal computers and workstations. Multiple Input & Output devices can be attached to them and used in Networking.

It is used for computerized data, scientific research, data collection, industrial process control, and small business application. Time-sharing, batch processing, and online processing are available on it.

Example: PRIME9755, VAX8650, IBM SYSTEM36.

Personal Computer or Microcomputer:

It is a single-user computer based on a microprocessor/microchip inside. It is designed for one person, therefore, it is called a personal computer. These Computers are small in size, small in memory, and less expensive. Many input and output devices can be attached to it. The microcomputer can also attach to Mainframe Computer through a network. It is generally used in homes, offices, or any working place for web surfing, sending emails, typing documents, databases, photo editing, and entertainment like playing music or games. It is further classified into the following categories.

Desktop Computer: a computer that can easily be accommodated on the table.

Laptop Computer: a computer that can easily be placed on a lap.

Examples: IBM, APPLE, COMPAQ, ATARI, PENTIUM, Core series, etc.


The Workstation is a terminal or a single-user computer that is connected to a network (with a mainframe or supercomputer) and is more powerful as compared to microprocessors.

Classification of Computer-Based on Operation:

Analog Computer:

A computer is used to measure analog/physical quantity data. Analog means variable and physical quantity may always continue their changes. Such types of computers accept input in analog form and provide results in analog form. It measures physical quantities like distance, velocity, acceleration, and temperature, e.g. speedometer of care, temperature, watch, and voltmeter.

Now a day analog computer is used for Engineering and Scientific works. In Oil Refinery measures the flow and temperature of the oil. They are also used in Papermaking and the Chemical Industry.

The output of the analog computer is generally in the form of reading. These computers are used where data can be measured directly from the measuring device.

Now Analog Computer has been updated to Digital Computers. For example, Analog watch to Digital Watch, Analog weight Balance to Digital Balance Analog Thermometer to Digital Thermometer, etc.

Digital Computers:

Those Computers accept data in a digital form and provide us with information in the same format. It measures digital quantity data and works based on binary digits i.e. 0&1.

The result of a Digital Computer is more accurate, precise, and reliable than Analog Computer. It can process faster than the Analog Computer. Analog Computer has a small memory while Digital Computer has high memory and storage power.

Accounting machines and Calculators are common examples of Digital computers.

Hybrid Computers:

Those Computers which accept data in digital form and provide results/ information in analog form and vice versa”.

Hybrid Computers have the characteristics of both Analog & Digital Computers and measure both analog and digital quantities. A hybrid Computer has a process with the speed of an analog and the precision of a digital computer. They are used for a special purpose and are designed to perform special tasks e.g. ECG machines.

Hybrid Computers are also used in the Air Defense System, and in laboratories for the preparation of medicines.

Classification of Computer-Based on Purpose:

Special Purpose Computers:

Types of computer which has been manufactured for specific tasks are called Special Purpose Computer. These computers are also known as “Dedicated Computers” because these are designed for special jobs. In other words, they are designed to handle specific problems, e.g. control of traffic lights and in Defense System. A set of instructions or programs is fed to them. As they perform only one type of job so they are very fast.

General Purpose Computers:

Types of computers that can perform all types of jobs and can run multiple programs are called General Purpose Computers.

These computers can perform a variety of jobs, e.g. documentation, accounting, playing games, making graphics, and doing arithmetical operations. General Purpose Computers are versatile, but they are slow in processing and less efficient as compared to Dedicated Computers.

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