An Overview of the Types of Computer - Types of Computers based on size and their performance

Also Read



An analog

    An Analog computer is a form of computer that uses the continuously-changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities incrementally, as their numerical values change.
    Mechanical analog computers were very important in gunfire control in World War II, The Korean War, and well past the Vietnam War; they were made in significant numbers. The development of transistors made electronic analog computers practical, and until digital computers had developed sufficiently, they continued to be commonly used in science and industry.

Digital Computer 

    A computer that stores data in terms of digits (numbers) and proceeds in discrete steps from one state to the next. The states of a digital computer typically involve binary digits which may take the form of the presence or absence of magnetic markers in a storage medium (see memory), on-off switches, or relays. In digital computers, even letters, words, and whole texts are represented digitally. Unlike analog computers, digital computers can only approximate a continuum by assigning large numbers of digits to a state description and by proceeding in arbitrarily small steps

Hybrid Computers

    Hybrid computers are computers that are designed to provide functions and features that are found with both analog computers and digital computers. The idea behind this combined or hybrid computer model is to create a working unit that offers the best of both types of computers. With most designs, the analog components of the equipment provide efficient processing of differential equations, while the digital aspects of the computer address the logical operations associated with the system.

Types of Computers based on size and their performance

Super Computer:

    A supercomputer is a computer that performs at or near the currently highest operational rate for computers. A supercomputer is typically used for scientific and engineering applications that must handle very large databases or do a great amount of computation (or both).
    At any given time, there are usually a few well-publicized supercomputers that operate at extremely high speeds. The term is also sometimes applied to far slower (but still impressively fast) computers. Most supercomputers are really multiple computers that perform parallel processing. In general, there are two parallel processing approaches symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and massively parallel processing (MPP).

Mainframe Computer:

    A mainframe (also known as "big iron") is a high-performance computer used for large-scale computing purposes that require greater availability and security than a smaller-scale machine can offer. Historically, mainframes have been associated with centralized rather than distributed computing, although that distinction is blurring as smaller computers become more powerful and mainframes become more multipurpose. Today, IBM emphasizes that their mainframes can be used to serve distributed users and smaller servers in a computing network.
  • Less powerful 
  • Handling all kinds of scientific and business applications 
  • Supports 1000, remote computers 
  • Large online storage 
  • Magnetic tapes, hard disk drive, visual display, plotters, printers, tele terminal can attach with mainframe 
  • High-speed cache memory
  • Multiprogramming, time-sharing,

Mini Computers:

    "A minicomputer, a term no longer much used, is a computer of a size intermediate between a microcomputer and a mainframe. Typically, minicomputers have been stand-alone computers 

  • Scaled-Down Mainframe as the processor and peripherals are smaller in size.
  • Cost lower 
  • Input data through Keyboard 
  • The most popular minicomputers are minis, Nova, DEC, PDP 11 
  • Languages used in minicomputers are Pascal Cobol, FORTRAN 
  • It is used for Business transition 
  • 100 kbps to 500 MIPS
  • Chip based 
  • 30000 of an inch thick chip 
  • Primary and secondary memory is Rom, ram

Work Station:

    A type of computer used for engineering applications (CAD/CAM), desktop publishing, software development, and other types of applications that require a moderate amount of computing power and relatively high-quality graphics capabilities.
    Workstations generally come with a large, high-resolution graphics screen, at least 64 MB (megabytes) of RAM, built-in network support, and a graphical user interface. Most workstations also have a mass storage device such as a disk drive, but a special type of workstation, called a diskless workstation, comes without a disk drive. The most common operating systems for workstations are UNIX and Windows NT.
    In terms of computing power, workstations lie between personal computers and minicomputers, although the line is fuzzy on both ends. High-end personal computers are equivalent to low-end workstations. And high-end workstations are equivalent to minicomputers.
    Like personal computers, most workstations are single-user computers. However, workstations are typically linked together to form a local-area network, although they can also be used as stand-alone systems.
    In networking, a workstation refers to any computer connected to a local-area network. It could be a workstation or a personal computer. The workstation also is spelled work station or work-station.


    A microcomputer is a computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit. Another general characteristic of these computers is that they occupy physically small amounts of space when compared to mainframe and minicomputers. Many microcomputers (when equipped with a keyboard and screen for input and output) are also personal computers (in the generic sense).