| John Spacey, December 04, 2016 updated on August 30, 2018
A computer is a class of machine that acts on data. These can be viewed as logic machines that can perform calculations and processing of data. Computers are commonly used to automate work, produce knowledge, deliver communications and control things. They also have a wide variety of applications in areas such as entertainment, media and transportation. The following are common types of computer.
SupercomputerA category that is reserved for the world's fastest computers at the time they are built. These are large machines with thousands of processors that are used by governments, universities and organizations for computing intensive tasks such as research.
MainframeThe next fastest category of computer after supercomputer. These are also large machines with many processors. Mainframes are commonly used for transaction processing and data analysis. At one time, mainframes dominated the market for business computing but much of this business has shifted to cheaper servers.
A server is a computer that is designed to provide services to clients. These are typically striped down computers that are designed to fit into racks in a data center. Cloud computing is based on servers using technologies that allow many physical computers to be used as a single resource.
It is common for servers to run virtualization software that allows the physical computer to be divided into many virtual machines.
Personal ComputerA class of computer that is designed for the home. This includes desktops, laptops and specialized computers such as gaming desktops. Despite the name, personal computers are commonly used by business and are amongst the most common type of device found in offices.
DesktopA large personal computer that occupies space on your desk.
LaptopA personal computer that is portable such that it can run on battery power and is lighter and smaller than a desktop.
Game SystemsVideo game consoles and high performance personal computers designed for gaming with powerful graphics cards.
Mini DesktopA personal computer that has a small form factor far smaller than a laptop but without portability features. These are typically small enough to fit in your palm. Often used for specialized purposes such as home entertainment.
Stick PCA personal computer with a small form factor about the size of your thumb. Typically designed to fit into the HDMI port of a television or monitor.
TabletA flat computer designed to fit in your hand like a book.
Smart PhoneA flat computer designed to fit in your pocket. Smart phones are mobile devices that are designed to use mobile telecommunications services such as 3g, 4g and 5g.
Wearable ComputerA computer that is integrated into fashion accessories or that is generally wearable. For example, sunglasses with media and search features.
Single-board ComputerA complete computer on a single circuit board. These are popular with computer hobbyists and are often used to teach computing concepts. Single-board computer are also commonly integrated into products. For example, a Stick PC is usually a single-board computer.A complete computer on a single microchip. These are often embedded into products and infrastructure.
NanocomputerA general term for very small computers. It is currently common to refer to single-board computers and system on a chip devices as nanocomputers.Embedded system is a term for products, machines, equipment and infrastructure that have computer systems inside. For example, a talking toy that has a system on a chip embedded in the product.A class of embedded system that connects to the internet. For example, a toy that understands what you say by connecting to a cloud service that uses artificial intelligence to perform natural language processing.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about computer.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.