Types of computers based on different characteristics

Types of computers based on different characteristics

Everyone utilizes computers daily, whether for work or personal reasons. However, we are unaware that we utilize different types of computers for different purposes. For example, a mainframe computer will be used by a doctor at the hospital, while a graphic artist will use a workstation computer at their office. Our usage varies depending on the type of machine.

The most basic classification of computer types is based on their intended use. General and special purpose computers are the two categories of computers.

  • General-purpose computers:

    Basic input/output functions such as arithmetic, smaller-scale data storage, and extremely basic activities are performed by general-purpose computers. Laptops, calculators. Desktop computers and mobile phones are examples of general-purpose devices.

  • Special-purpose computers:

    These systems, on the other hand, are designed to accomplish a certain task. Engineering computers for IT organizations, multimedia systems, and personal digital assistants (PDAs) the best examples.

The computers can be further differentiated based on their size and data handling capabilities beyond this basic segmentation. Let us try and understand them:

Computer classification based on data handling capabilities:

Analog computers:

These computers operate continuously, regardless of the input fluctuations such as instability in current, temperature or electric, and mechanical parts. Oscilloscopes, thermostats, and thermometers are the best examples of analog computers.

These computers can accept data directly from the devices without having to convert it to a numerical value. They continuously monitor physical amount changes and display the results on a dial or scale. Examples of this type include a speedometer and a mercury thermometer. Analog computers are divided into four categories:

  • Slide rules:

    This is the most basic analog computer, designed to solve basic arithmetic problems. It is made up of two rods, the first of which includes marks that move into place to line up with the second rod.
  • Differential analyzers:

    This is a particular device that uses a wheel and disc mechanism to perform differential calculations.
  • Castle clock:

    They could incorporate the display of time, zodiac, and solar and lunar orbits if it has the ability to save programming instructions.
  • Electronic analog computers:

    In these systems, the electrical signals travel between capacitors and resistors without any mechanical engagement.

Key features:

  • It is a real-time operating system that continually represents data at the same moment within a specific range.
  • Calculates without the need for third-party software to convert input/output to electronic form and vice versa.
  • Allows users to scale down the problem to grasp the flaws and consequences better.

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Digital computers:

This computer is designed to calculate and perform logical operations at a high rate. It accepts data in the form of digits or binary numbers and processes it using programs that provide an output. This category includes a wide range of modern devices such as laptops and smartphones.

Key features:

  • The machine can store a large amount of data and retrieve it quickly.
  • Allows you to add extra features to the system more efficiently.
  • Many apps can be run on the same computer with various programs without altering the hardware.
  • The price of hardware has decreased due to advancements in integrated circuit technology.
  • Because it is digitally run, it operates at a rapid speed.
  • To become extremely dependable, these devices employ error correction codes.
  • Because external elements such as noise and weather do not affect the device, the reproducibility of results is improved.

Hybrid computers:

As the name implies, these systems were created by combining the features of both analog and digital computers. Its speed is analog, yet it has the memory of a digital device. It can work with both continuous and discrete data, and it's usually employed in niche applications. Petrol pumps, airplanes, hospitals, and scientific applications are just a few examples.

Key features:

  • Because the configuration is parallel, it has a very high speed.
  • It provides accurate and timely findings that are useful.
  • It has the ability to solve complex problems in real-time.
  • It aids in the maintenance of online data processing.

Computer classification based on size:


These are the world's largest and fastest computers built to process massive amounts of data. Because it includes thousands of interconnected processors, it can handle billions of instructions in a matter of seconds.

Roger Cray created the first supercomputer in 1976, and it has only been utilized for certain science and engineering purposes since then. This covers things like weather forecasts, healthcare equipment, and nuclear research, among other things.

Key features:

  • It improves device security by decrypting passwords for security purposes.
  • Animation outputs are fantastic on this machine.
  • They are used for simulated testing in nuclear weapons and vital medical tests.
  • They are extensively used in analyzing climate patterns and weather conditions.
  • Creates flight simulators for novice pilots to practice on.
  • Used for the management of online currencies such as bitcoin and stocks.
  • Extremely useful in diagnosing severe health conditions such as brain damage and strokes.
  • Gives accurate analyzing scientific facts related to the solar system and earth movement
  • They can easily determine the volume of contaminants present in the atmosphere at any given time.

Mainframe computers:

These are computers explicitly created for large enterprises, allowing hundreds of thousands of people to use programs simultaneously. Mainframe computers are used in industries such as banking and telecommunications that require the processing of large amounts of data.

Key features:

  • These machines are capable of handling large amounts of data in a matter of seconds.
  • They are extremely long-lasting, and with correct installation, they may last for at least 50 years.
  • They can divide tasks across different processors inside.
  • There are very few chances of making a mistake, and even if you do, there is a quick solution.
  • While exchanging information, the technology inside these machines secures data.
  • One part of the defense security system can share enormous amounts of sensitive data with another branch using these machines.
  • Similarly, the retail industry needs these computers to keep a database on their enormous customer base, which is dispersed around the city and, in some cases, the country.
  • Allows medical practices to keep track of millions of patients' medication, appointments and update information.

Miniframe or minicomputers

It is a medium-sized computer with two processors that can support up to 200 people at once. They are extensively utilized in accounting-related jobs at institutes and departments. In terms of size, this computer is halfway between a mainframe and a microcomputer.

Key features:

  • Because of their lightweight weight, mini-computers are very easy to transport and can also fit into a small place.
  • They are less expensive than mainframe computers.
  • They are quite fast, despite their small size.
  • These machines have long battery life and charge quickly.
  • They can function in a non-controlled operating environment.
  • Minicomputers are frequently employed as communicators in large systems since they act as a conduit between the operator and the CPU.
  • It is used by small businesses such as local hospitals and motels to keep and share data on their clients and patients. The essential function here is data management.
  • It is used by manufacturing companies to control their processes. It collects data, provides feedback, and immediately corrects any anomalies.

Workstation computer

It is a single-user computer that's primarily used for technical and scientific purposes. With big RAM and high-speed adapters, the microprocessor is extremely quick. It is known to do a single task; thus the market offers a variety of options such as graphic workstations, music workstations, and so on.

Key features:

  • With a stronger CPU, more storage, and better-looking graphics, they outperform personal computers.
  • Because a computer exists for every sector of knowledge, its use is limitless.
  • A workstation computer has the ability to multitask between audio, video, animation, and editing, among other things.


The smallest size computer invented solely for personal use is a microcomputer. The central processing unit is the processor, storage memory, and input/output unit. Personal laptops and PCs that we use today are examples of this type only. The application of these computers is for personal use only like office work, assignments, or watching a movie. The types of microcomputers are:

  • Notebook computer:

    These are little computers that look like briefcases. They use flat-panel technology and are somewhat pricey in comparison to other options. They are equipped with a battery pack that must be charged every few hours.
  • Desktop model:

    This is a computer that sits on top of a desk and has a monitor. It is wide and low, with three internal mass storage devices. Slimline models are another name for them.
  • Tower computer:

    It has a power supply, motherboard, and mass storage all in a compact box. They are simple to set up, and their small size allows them to fit almost anywhere.
  • Laptops:

    These are tiny, portable computers with a flap-like screen that is simple to carry. Students and working professionals widely use laptop computers.
  • Hand-held computer:

    This is a small, portable computer that may be handled in one hand. The most popular types on the market are calendars and address books. These are pen-based computers, also known as pocket computers.
  • PDA:

    This is a personal digital assistant that can handle faxes, phone calls, and network functions. They come with a stylus and a keyboard that recognizes handwriting. Because of their high cost, they can only be used in a limited number of situations.

Key features:

  • These are the tiniest computers on the market.
  • There is a limit to how much software may be installed.
  • They can only be used by one person at a time.
  • At a cheaper cost, these systems are really simple to use.
  • The device does not require any training to operate.
  • Microcomputers come with a single semiconductor chip.
  • Printing, surfing, watching videos, and other multitasking tasks are the only things these machines can perform.

Embedded computers:

These computer systems are known by a variety of names (Box PC, Gateway, Controller, Industrial PC, and so on). They are essentially any specialized computer system that is integrated into a larger device, intelligent system, or installation. From the tiny ARM-based devices that power today's smartphones to all-in-one solutions that power massive earthmovers and military equipment, these machines come in a limitless variety of shapes and sizes. These systems are used in a variety of bigger devices and machines, including manufacturing robots, traffic lights, and even aviation control systems.

From data gathering devices in solar arrays to navigation equipment on NASA's planetary rovers, these advanced computers are the brains behind complicated digital signs displays and modern interactive kiosks. Embedded computers are also playing an increasingly important part in the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing machines, people, places, things, and the cloud to communicate with one another.

Key features:

  • These computers are designed to function for a longer duration without causing any problems.
  • Advances in passive cooling have enabled these machines to stay weatherproof. They have been meticulously constructed to dissipate heat without the use of fans effectively.
  • These systems are all task-oriented. They perform the same task repeatedly/constantly throughout their lives.
  • They are created using microcontrollers or microprocessors.
  • Systems for navigation and guidance are all embedded machines.


This was all about different types of computers based on different characteristics. Each of these systems is designed to perform certain tasks and must be carefully considered before purchasing to ensure better results. If you plan to buy a new computer, make a smart purchase only at Moglix, one of the most trusted online marketplaces for branded computers and laptops.