Classification of Computers – 3 Different Types Computers

The computers we see regularly is generally called a personal computer, which is not the only form of computer. There is an extensive variation of computer which differs based on a lot of things. It is essential to know the classification of the computer to be acknowledged about the evaluation of the computer systems. The computer systems vary depending on their capability of processing data. There are also variations in computers based on data handling, functionality, and purpose.

In our today’s article, we will let you know about the classifications of the computer-based on data handling, size, and functionality. Keep reading the article to know the different types of computer devices briefly.

Classification of Computer-based on data handling

Based on data handling, the computer can be classified into three types which are digital, analog, and hybrid. Below, we will discuss each type briefly.


The digital computer is the variant of the computer, which performs the logical operation and calculations on by using quantities or digits. Typically, the binary number system (o and 1) is used in the digital computer systems. The digital computer is capable of solving complications by processing the information in a discrete form. The digital computer was first introduced during the 1930s at Iowa state college.

Mr. John Vincent Atanasoff is considered as the inventor of the digital computer. Depending on the manipulations of the binary digit, the computer is capable of performing mathematical calculations, analyze and organize data, control process, simulate the dynamic system, and many more things. The current computer systems that we see in day to day life are based on the digital computer system.  

The digital computer requires a vast number of the component, including motherboard, ram, display, video card, power supply, and much more. You will need different input and output devices to process the data in the type of computer.


The analog computer, also known as the analogue computer is the ancestors of the digital computer. What makes the scooter different is its continuously changeable physical state. The hydraulic, electrical, mechanical, etc. properties of the computer changes in quantity to solve the calculations and problems. The analog computer operates based on continuous values instead of discrete values. 

There were very narrow uses of the analog computer because of their limited features. There were no personal uses of the analog computer. However, it has been used in the scientific and industrial sectors for different purposes. However, there have been some uses of the analog computer where it was dominant. In some cases, it is still in service.

The analog computers are being used for different purposes, such as in the aircraft flight simulator, ships, submarine, aircraft, speedometer, refrigerator, and various teaching control schemes.  They are also used in flight simulators and synthetic aperture radar during the ’80s before the digital computers come to action.


As the name suggests, the hybrid computer combines the functionality of digital and analog computers. The hybrid computer is capable of processing both types of data. It is also capable of accepting the analog signals and converts it to a digital signal. The analog computers are used in different sectors for the flexibility it offers.

Classification of Computer-based on size

The computer can be classified into four types based on the size, which are supercomputer, mainframe computer, minicomputer, and microcomputer. Check out the details of the type from below.

Super computer

The supercomputer is the most powerful variant of the computer, which is used for specific purposes only. They are very expensive and require a number of employees to utilize. The super computers are used for the immense number of mathematical and computational calculations. As an example, weather forecasting requires a large number of data, and the supercomputer is needed to analyze the data.

Some of the other uses of the supercomputer include fluid dynamic calculations, nuclear energy research, petroleum exploration, graphics animation, and other related works. The supercomputer generally uses their power for specific work to make the work done within the shortest time possible. The performance of these computers is in FLOPS, not MIPS, like the general-purpose computers. 

The supercomputer usually runs on the Linux-based operating system. There are ongoing researches in many countries like China, US, EU, Japan, Taiwan, to build more high-performing and faster supercomputer. The supercomputers are needed in some of the gigantic inventions of modern science. Some of the examples of the supercomputer include RoadRunner, Param, and Jaguar.

Mainframe computer

The mainframe computer is also like supercomputer based on performance and fastness. But the difference between the two types are, the supercomputers are used for a single purpose when the mainframe computer works for multiple purposes. It can support hundreds to thousands of tasks at a time. In some cases, the mainframe computers are faster than the supercomputer. 

The mainframe computer is sometimes called big iron. They are mostly used to perform bulk data processing works like statics, transaction processing, census data processing, and much more works. The mainframe computer architecture is developed during 1960. The current mainframe computers are more powerful and faster than ever. Some of the examples of the computer include IBM Z Series.


The Mini computers come to the market during the 1960s, at the time of mainframe computer. They were affordable than the mainframe computer. The minicomputer is designed for the small organization works such as control, instrumentation, communication switching, human interaction, record keeping, and other purposes. They become popular as personal computers with the evaluation of time.

Though they are called a minicomputer, they are basically midsized, both in power and size. The minicomputer is capable of supporting up to 4 to 200 users with its multiprocessing system. They implement the computer to become possible with the utilization of minimal instruction set, less expensive peripherals, transistor, and core memory technologies.


The microcomputer is based on a simple microprocessor as its central processor unit. They are very small and inexpensive when compared with the other variants. They include the microprocessor, and minimal I/0 mounted circuits, memory unit on a single printed circuit board. The microcomputers are basically the small smart gadgets we use nowadays, like smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, etc. The uses of the micro-computer made it possible for us to bring small and tiny gadgets tools.

Classification of Computer-based on based on functionality

Based on the feature, there can be three types of computers. Check out the detailed information below.


The workstations are computers that are developed for a single user for technical and scientific applications. The workstation is generally developed to run a multi-user operating system and connected to a local area network. The work station can offer higher performance than the mainstream personal computers. They are also optimized for better visualization and manipulation of different complex data.


The server is a type of computer which is basically used for providing functionality to other devices and programs. They are based on the client-server architecture model, where single servers distribute computing power to multiple clients or computers. A server can offer different functionalities or services such as performing the computation, sharing resources or data, etc. for a client. There can be different types of the server, including file server, mail server, web server, game server, database server, and much more.

Embedded computers

The embedded computers are designed for a single purpose to perform specific or software-controlled tasks. Servers clearly vary from the consumer-grade computers both in appearance and functionalities. Some of the common examples of embedded computers include digital signature, industrial automation, self-autonomous vehicle, space exploration, etc. They are also used in harsh environmental conditions to process or acquire data.

The embedded computer follows instructions from the inserted non-volatile memory and doesn’t require reset or reboot.

Information Appliances

The information appliances are portable devices that are designed to do some types of basic functionalities like browsing the internet, playing multimedia, basic calculations, etc.  Information appliances are generally referred to as mobile devices. They come with limited flexibility and memory. Typically, they arrive with a more straightforward user-interface so that the untrained people can easily use them. 

Though the variation of computers varies depending on different things, they are solely connected. Different variation gets updated and improved over time, and new varieties come this way. Hopefully, the above brief on the classification of computers will be helpful for you.

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