Types of Computers


A modern computer can perform various tasks. But some tasks require insane amount of processing power, and some need only a fraction of that. This is why there are several types of computers, they are divided based on their processing power and their purpose.

Large computer systems


Supercomputers are the most powerful computers on earth. These computers are built with a certain purpose in mind and are used for specialized applications that require immense processing power for mathematical calculations. Weather forecasting, scientific simulations, fluid dynamics calculations, nuclear energy research, geological data analysis, etc requires the processing power of supercomputers.


Mainframes are like the younger brothers of supercomputers. Mainframes also have immense processing power, though not as good as a supercomputer. While a supercomputer uses all its power for a few tasks, powerful mainframes can have millions of use cases. That is why mainframes are often used by large organisations for bulk data processing.

Mini Computer

Mini computers are the youngest brother of the powerful computer family. These comes nowhere near when a supercomputer when it is a question of processing power, and these are not as powerful as a mainframe computer. But these are useful when portable computers are needed to do the heavy lifting.

Small computer systems

Personal Computer (PC)

Personal computers or PCs are the desktop computers. PCs are used in household and office. PCs are used to do day to day computer tasks which do not require much processing power. IBM introduced consumers to the concept of personal computing. A PC can be configured in many ways, but a monitor, keyboard, mouse, CPU cabinet, speakers are found in almost all of the personal computers.


Workstations are basically personal computers, but with much more processing power. Workstations are used in the professional workspace, where workers need personal computers with much more power than a household PC. Graphic design, video editing, programming, etc need powerful personal computers, and workstations fulfil the those demands.


Laptops are the most portable computer. Laptops are used where portability takes priority over processing power. Laptops are used by those professionals who need a computer with them all the time, maybe for writing articles, sending emails, or any light workloads. Though a laptop cannot match the power of a desktop or workstation, but in recent years powerful laptops are on the rise where many laptop easily overpowers an average desktop.

Handheld Computers

These are the smallest computer, and by computer, I mean they are technically a computer, but people know them as tablets and smartphones now. Before touchscreens were introduced to the mass, handheld devices used to have a keyboard attached to them, those were not mobile phones, but those could access the internet, send emails, etc. But those are relics of the past. Now we see tablets and smartphones which are way more powerful than what NASA used to send men on the moon. A smartphone has a processor, a ram, a storage unit, a motherboard, just like a computer. The touchscreen, mic, camera are the input devices, and the screen and speakers are the output devices.

For Wikipedia entry on Computer, click here.

For more posts on Computer basics, click here.

For more posts in The Cyber Cops project, click here.

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