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Computer is an electronic device that accepts, processes, stores, and outputs data at high
according to programmed instructions.
There are two basic components that make up a computer: hardware and software.

A computer…
• Is the greatest invention since man learned to use electricity.
• Affects almost every aspect of people‘s live
• Is no smarter than the humans who program them.

Uses of Computers:
• Word processing
• Calculations
• Communication
• Computer-assisted learning
• Research
• Presentations
• Database management
• Automation
• Entertainment

Classification of computer according to its size

1. Supercomputers : are widely used in scientific applications such as aerodynamic design
processing of geological data.

• Supercomputers are the most powerful computers. They are used for problems
complex calculations.
• Because of their size and expense, supercomputers are relatively rare.
• Supercomputers are used by universities, government agencies, and large

2. Mainframe Computers: are usually slower, less powerful and less expensive than
supercomputers. A
technique that allows many people at terminals, to access the same computer at one
time is called time sharing. Mainframes are used by banks and many business to
update inventory

• Mainframe computers can support hundreds or thousands of users, handling massive

amounts of
input, output, and storage.
• Mainframe computers are used in large organizations where many users need access
to shared
data and programs.
• Mainframes are also used as e-commerce servers, handling transactions over the

Minicomputers: are smaller than mainframe, general purpose computers, and give
computing power
without adding the prohibitive expenses associated with larger systems. It is generally
easier to

• Minicomputers usually have multiple terminals.

• Minicomputers may be used as network servers and Internet servers.

Workstations: a powerful, single-user computer. A workstation is like a personal computer,

but it has a
more powerful microprocessor and a higher-quality monitor.

• Workstations are powerful single-user computers.

• Workstations are used for tasks that require a great deal of number-crunching power,
such as
product design and computer animation.
• Workstations are often used as network and Internet servers.

Microcomputers, or Personal Computers : is the smallest, least expensive of all the

computers. Micro
computers have smallest memory and less power, are physically smaller and permit
peripheral to be attached.

• Microcomputers are more commonly known as personal computers. The term "PC" is
applied to
IBM-PCs or compatible computers.
• Desktop computers are the most common type of PC.
• Notebook (laptop) computers are used by people who need the power of a desktop
system, but
also portability.
• Handheld PCs (such as PDAs) lack the power of a desktop or notebook PC, but offer
features for
users who need limited functions and small size.

Classification of computers by purpose:

1. General Purpose Computers - Refers to computers that follow instructions, thus
virtually all
computers from micro to mainframe are general purpose. Even computers in toys,
games and
single-function devices follow instructions in their built-in program.
2. Special Purpose Computers - A digital or analog computer designed to be
especially efficient
in a certain class of applications.

According to Data Handled:

1. Analog - A device that processes infinitely varying signals, such as voltage or
frequencies. A
thermometer is a simple analog computer. As the temperature varies, the mercury
correspondingly. Although special-purpose, complex analog computers are built,
almost all
computers are digital. Digital methods provide programming flexibility.
2. Digital - A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with
represented as digits, usually in the binary number system.
3. Hybrid - are computers that exhibit features of analog computers and digital
computers. The
digital component normally serves as the controller and provides logical operations,
while the
analog component normally serves as a solver of differential equations.

Classificaton According to Capacity:

1. Micro Computer Purposes = 4kilobytes - 64kilobytes storage capacity
2. Mini Computer Purposes = 8kilobytes - 256kilobytes storage capacity
3. Medium Size Computer Purpose = 32kilobytes - 512kilobytes storage capacity
4. Large Computer Purpose = 512kilobytes - 8192kiobytes storage capacity
5. Super Computer Purpose = 100 times as fast as today computer

• Single-user computer
• Begins its popularity in 1970
• Used for word processing, presentations, spreadsheet etc.

Microcomputers are the smallest but most important categories of computers systems
for business people and consumers. They are also referred to as personal computers (or
PCs).The computing power of current microcomputers exceeds that of the mainframe
computers of previous generations at a fraction of their cost. They have become powerful-
networked professional workstations for use by end users in business.
Microcomputers Microcomputers Microcomputers
categorised by size categorised by use categorised by special
purpose 1. Handheld 1. Home 1. Workstation
Computers 2. Notebook 2. Personal 2.
Network Servers 3. Laptop 3. Professional
3.Personal Digital Assistants 4. Portable 4. Workstation
5. Desktop 5. Multi-user Systems
6. Floor-standing

Microcomputers can be further divided into different types based on the size of their central
processing unit (CPU) and other major and minor components. They are;-
1. Notebook Micro Computers: these micro computers are having their sizes just like the
size of exercise note books. As a result, they are handy.

2. Laptop Microcomputers: these are the microcomputers that can be conveniently

operated on the lap. They are bigger in size and slightly heavier than the notebooks. They can
perform virtually all the function of the desktop microcomputers, yet very portable like the
briefcase size. They can perform complex task anywhere, anytime with ease. They are
expensive compare to other microcomputers with larger sizes; this is as a result of high
technology with reduction in size.
3. Desktop Microcomputers: these computers can be placed on flat smooth tables (desk)
for convenience and comfort ability when in use. They are bigger than notebooks and laptops.
They can also perform various complex operations. Desktop microcomputers are subdivided
into their sub-devices/ parts The keyboard, monitor, system unit are all separated from one
another having cables used for their
connection before use unlike notebooks and laptop where all are permanently joined
(connected) together
when manufacture.

4.Minitower Microcomputers: these are recent modification on the system unit, whereby
the system unit is made to stand erect on its own and placed beside the monitor unlike
desktop which lies flat on tables and monitors placed on it. They also have their parts
separately having cables for connection.

5. Full Tower microcomputer: These computers are closely related to the mini Tower,
except that they are a bit higher and wider in physical size than the Mini Tower. All other
things are the same as in Mini Tower Microcomputers.

6. Personal Digital Assistants - (PDAs) are designed for convenient mobile

communications and computing. PDAs use touch screens, pen-based handwriting recognition,
or keyboards to help mobile workers send and receive E-mail, access the Web, and exchange
information such as appointments, to-do lists, and sales contacts with their desktop PCs or
web servers.