What are some comparisons between different computer types?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Depending on their computing power, cost, size and application, computers can be divided into 5 classes or types (although there may be overlap between these classes):

  • Supercomputer: constitutes the fastest available computers on Earth. These are designed with extremely large computing power, are very expensive and very large in size. Supercomputers are intended for dedicated & specific applications such as, weapons testing, climate change modeling, etc. An example is the Cray series, which currently has 3 supercomputers in Top 10 listing of such machines. 
  • Mainframe: Such computers allow access to hundred to thousands of users simultaneously. Unlike supercomputers, mainframes carry out a large number of applications simultaneously. 
  • Minicomputer: is a term generally used for a computer that is capable of supporting couple of hundred simultaneous users. It is much smaller in size as compared to a supercomputer or a mainframe.
  • Workstation: generally used for engineering applications (such as CAD/CAM, etc.) requiring moderate computing capacity and high-end graphics. 
  • Personal Computer: Typically intended for individual users and has low computing power and requires less space. These are relatively cheap and are typically divided into Windows based PCs and Macs. Desktops, laptops, tablets, Handhelds, etc. are all different types of personal computers.

Hope this helps.

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