1.4 Types of Computer

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The computer types can be classified according to the signal usage, size and speed.
According to signal used by computers computers are two types:-

1] Analog  Computer:-
An analog computer is that which uses analog signal as input, It uses an infinite number of voltage or current values. Characteristics of a analog computer are:-
- It operates by measuring.
- It require physical analog values.
- It functions on continuous varying quantities.
- The output is usually represented in the form of graph.
- The accuracy of output is poor.
- It has limited memory space.
- The speed of analog computer is low.
- It has limited application.

2] Digital Computer:-
Digital computers are those which operate on discrete quantities. Computers uses binary code 0 and 1s to represent the information. All information added to the computer as an input are converted to 0 and 1.

According to usage, computers are two types
1] General Purpose Computer:-
General purpose computer are designed and constructed to cater needs of almost everything. That is done by computer. They are designed to perform various operations in the field of science, engineering, commerce and industry. They can store records, prepare report by manipulating hundreds of records. Ex- Laptop and desktop computers used for education, entertainment, engineering etc.

2] Specific Purpose Computer:-
Those computers which are designed and constructed for solving perform the particular task with limited memory and speed. The instruction needed to perform the particular tasks are incorporated into the internal memory of the computer. Example- Scientific Purpose Computer.

According to size and speed computers are classified into following types:-
1]  Super Computer:-
Super computers mean those computers which are relatively faster than all computers in case of speed and abnormal than other computers in capacity, speed, accuracy, language etc. They run operations in parallel and can execute thousands or millions of instructions at once. Super computers are used for specialized applications that require immense amount of mathematical calculations. Example: CRAY-3, Cyber 205, PARAM are some of well known super computers.
Characteristics:
- They have several processors working simultaneously.
- They process at a rapid speed. 
- The main memory ranges from 8-64GB.
- They have operations done in parallel. They are used for weather forecasting, aircraft design, scientific research works where billions of calculations per second is required.
- They can be used for animated graphics-fluid dynamic calculator etc.

2] Mini Computers:-
Mini computers work same as micro-computers and mainframe computers, only the size of computer is small. They are as powerful as micro-computer which are designed to place in a small place and can be carried easily anywhere. They can be useful for processing data in the field of business and industry. They support high level languages such as C, C++, Java etc.
Characteristics:
- It is general purpose machine which is smaller than mainframe computer.
- Its storage capacity is about 2 megawords.
- Its word length are 12, 16, 24 & 32 bits.
- Its rate of acceptance and transfer of data is maximum of 4 millions bytes/second.
- It support high level languages.

3] Mainframe Computer
A very large size computer capable of supporting hundred of users at a time and which has large storage capacity with faster processing capacity is mainframe computer. Mainframe computers are sophisticated machines designed for manipulating millions of instructions by hundreds of users at same time. They are specially used in Europe and America by hospitals, insurance companies, banks where numbers of users are served.
Characteristics:-
- It is the largest computer in general purpose computer.
- It can support hundreds of users at same time.
- It is more powerful in computing than server computers.
- It has large storage capacity than other computers.
- It is used for multi-tasking, multi-user purposes.

4] Micro-Computers
Micro computers are small size and general purpose computers, which are used in business, education, entertainment, medical and industrial purposes. Since a micro-processor (processor) is used in it. Micro-computer is named after it. It is used for multi-tasking, multi-user but for limited resources. It accept high level languages.
Characteristics:
- It is small size computer which has low storage capacity.
- Its processing speed is limited.
- It can process text, graphics, video etc.
- It support high level language.
- It can support word length of 16, 32, 64 bits.


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