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Basics of Computers Classification

Basics of Computers Classification

Historically, computers were classified according to processor types because the developmental benchmarks were developed in processor and processing speed. Earliest computer systems used vacuum tubes to store, were immense and sometimes broke down. However, when transistors and then chips substituted vacuum tubes, their width reduced and transmission speeds increased manifold.

All modern computers and computing devices use microprocessors with daily skyrocketing speeds and storage capacities. Computers are now the developmental benchmark for their size. Now computers are classified according to their usage or size-

  • Desktop
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Server
  • Supercomputer
  • Mainframe

Let us look at all these types of computers in detail.


Desktop computers are personal computers (PCs) which are built for use at a fixed location by an entity. IBM was the first to implement and popularize mobile use. A typical desktop unit has a central processing unit ( CPU), monitor, keyboard and mouse. Desktop implementation popularized desktop use among ordinary people, as it was lightweight and inexpensive.

Riding on the wave of success of the desktop, many software and hardware tools have been created for home or office users in particular. The prime concern of design here has been user friendliness.


Despite its immense success, in the 2000s desktops gave way to a more compact and portable personal computer named the laptop. Laptops are also referred to as notebooks, or simply notebooks. Laptops run using batteries and connect via Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) chips to the networks. They also have energy efficiency chips so they can retain power whenever possible and have a longer lifetime.


Since laptop computers have been further miniaturized to develop machines which have a desktop's computing capacity but are compact enough to keep in one's hand. Tablets have typically 5 to 10 inch touch sensitive screen where one finger is used to touch icons and invoke applications.

Also the keyboard is displayed virtually whenever necessary and is used with touch strokes. Apps operating on tablets are called apps. They use the Microsoft (Windows 8 and later) or Google (Android) operating systems. Apple computers have developed their own iPad tablet which uses a proprietary iOS operating system.


Servers are computers with fast computing speeds, offering one or more applications to certain interconnected networks. We can have displays connected to them, or not. A network is called a group of computers or digital devices which are connected together to share resources.

Servers have high processing capabilities, and can handle multiple requests at the same time. The servers found most commonly on the networks include−

  • File or server storage
  • Server Game
  • Server Applications
  • Server Database
  • Server mail
  • Print server


Mainframes are computers that organizations such as corporations, airlines and railways use to conduct millions and trillions of transactions online per second. Significant mainframe features include−

  • Big size
  • Hundreds of times quicker than servers, typically 100 megabytes per second
  • Very Expensive
  • Using proprietary OS that the manufacturers have
  • In-built security features for hardware, software, and firmware


Supercomputers are On Earth's fastest computers. They are used to conduct complicated, simple, and time-intensive calculations for applications in engineering and science. The pace or efficiency of supercomputers was calculated in teraflops, i.e. 1012 floating point operations per second.

Sunway TaihuLight is the fastest supercomputer in the world with a rating of 93 petaflops per second, i.e. 93 quadrillions of floating point operations per second.

Among the most common uses of supercomputers are-

  • Molecular mapping and research
  • Weather forecasting
  • Environmental research
  • Oil and gas exploration