A computer is one of the greatest inventions of man and it has seen many changes in functions, memory space, size and portability. What makes the computer an extraordinary apparatus is its ability to store and process a massive amount of information, which is used to perform various technical tasks or even help create other gadgets.
As technology continues to progress by leaps and bounds, it is not surprising that the computer has been modified into different shapes, with varied features and a wide range of purposes.
Let us take a look at the different types of computers which will help us understand their functions and what they are used for.
Personal Computer or PC – A PC is a computer that is used by someone for his personal use. It is a complete system in itself and its convenient size, price and simple functions make it easy for the end-user to work on it without any intervention from computer operators.
Desktop – Any PC that is designed to be placed on a desk and not for portability is called a desktop. Such computers are kept in a somewhat permanent location and can be a little bulky. They usually have more power and storage compared to their movable counterparts.
Laptop or Notebook – A PC that can be moved around is called a laptop. It gets its name from the fact that you can keep it on your lap and use it. It is also called a notebook because you can carry the battery-operated device to classes or meetings conveniently and store any notes or information in it. It integrates the monitor, keyboard, pointing device, CPU, memory and hard drive in one system.
Netbook – This is similar to a laptop, the only difference being that it is smaller in size, which makes it even more portable. It is also less expensive and performs the basic functions, but its internal parts are not as powerful as a desktop or laptop.
Workstation – This computer is a desktop which is larger, consists of a more powerful processor, greater memory space and extra ability to do specific kind of work. Such a computer is used by programmers, game developers, video or sound editors and graphic designers.
PDA – A Personal Digital Assistant is a small, highly integrated computer usually using flash memory for storage instead of a hard drive. It uses touchscreen technology and doesn’t have a keyboard. Those which use a digital pen for input are called handheld computers. It is light, portable, has good battery life and fits within your palm, because of which it is also called a palmtop.
Server – The server’s main purpose is to provide certain services to other computers or a whole network of computers. It is much larger than any average computer and generally a whole room is necessary to fit the whole server. It has powerful processors, additional amount of memory and bigger hard drives.
Mainframe – Mainframe computers are used by large companies and organisations to perform critical tasks that involve bulk data processing like transaction processing, census information, statistical data and so on. They consist of extensive input and output facilities, are very stable and dependable and handle millions of transactions every day.
Supercomputer – This type of computer processes data much faster than a regular system. It is the leader in processing capacity and costs millions of dollars. A supercomputer is used for sensitive and calculation-intensive work such as scientific research, physical simulation, climate studies, oil and natural gas exploration, weather forecasting, quantum physics, to name a few.
Wearable Computer – This device is worn on the body like a watch or visor and is often used by military professionals or doctors to track human actions if their hands are engaged in other activities. Smart watches and fabric PCs are examples of wearable computers.
All these types of computers serve a different purpose but there are a few things common in all of them, that is, they help us save time and aid in achieving accuracy in our work. From occupying a whole room to fitting in our pocket, the computer has indeed come a long way. And the best part is that in spite of so many developments and differences in features, it’s journey has just begun, as the possibilities of what they can do are limitless.