Classification of Computers

Computers can be classified many different ways -- by size, by function, or by processing capacity.

 Functionality wise 4 types 

  • Micro computer 
  • Mini Computer
  • Mainframe Computer 
  • Super Computer


  • Microcomputers are connected to networks of other computers. 
  • The price of a microcomputer varies from each other depending on the capacity and features of the computer. 
  • Microcomputers make up the vast majority of computers. 
  • Single user can interact with this computer at a time. 
  • It is a small and general purpose computer.
  • Microcomputers are at the lowest end of the computer range. 
  • The term “microcomputer” was introduced with the advent of single chip microprocessors. 
  • ‘Personal Computer (PC)’ was first known as microcomputer. 
  • A personal computer may be a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet PC or a handheld PC (also called palmtop).

Mini Computer 

  • Mini Computer is a small and general purpose computer. 
  • It is more expensive than a micro computer. 
  • It has more storage capacity and speed. 
  • It designed to simultaneously handle the needs of multiple users.
  • the middle range of the computing spectrum, in between the mainframe and micro computers.
  • It is less powerful than a mainframe and more powerful than the micro computers. 
  • They have larger RAM and backing storage capacity and can process data more quickly.
  • The first popular minicomputer was the pdp-8, launched in 1965.

Mainframe Computer 

  • Large computers are called Mainframes. 
  • Mainframe computers process data at very high rates of speed, measured in the millions of instructions per second. 
  • They are very expensive than micro computer and mini computer.
  • It requires a special environment – cold and dry.
  • Mainframes are designed for multiple users and process vast amounts of data quickly. 
  • A mainframe is the heart of a network of computers or terminals which allows hundreds of people to work at the same time on the same data.
  • Mainframes are very large computers with a very high capacity of main store. Because they can process large amounts of data very quickly, they are used by big companies, banks, government departments as their main computer.
  • Examples :- Banks, insurance companies, manufacturers, mail-order companies, and airlines are typical users

Super Computers 

  • The largest computers are Super Computers. 
  • They are the most powerful, the most expensive, and the fastest. 
  • Complex scientific applications like weather forecasting require a large amount of data to be manipulated within a very short time. 
  • Other uses of supercomputers scientific simulations, animated graphics, fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, electronic design and analysis of geological data. 
  • Large super computers with faster processing using multiple processors and superior technology are used for complex tasks requiring a lot of computational power
  • Perhaps the best known supercomputer manufacturer is Cray Research. Examples of super computers are CRAY XMP-24 and NEC-500.
  • They are capable of processing trillions of instructions per second. It use governmental agencies, such as:- 
    • Chemical analysis in laboratory 
    • Space exploration 
    • National Defense Agency 
    • National Weather Service 
    • Bio-Medical research 
    • Design of many other machines