Different Types of Computers

Different Types of Computers

In Layman’s Terms

Here, we will enumerate and describe the different types of computers, in terms that will be understood by everyone. No geek talk. No tech overload. Just plain old English, comprehensive, yet easy to comprehend.

Here’s some basic knowledge for you. The first thing you should know is that a computer is designed according to its utility. Next to usage, a computer is designed according to the operating system it will carry. Today, the most widely used operating systems are Windows, Apple or Mac, IOS, and Android. You’ve also probably heard of Linux.

Now let’s get to the different types of computers.

Personal Computer or PC


The PC is the most utilized computer in homes, schools, hospitals, laboratories, and at work. These computers are commonly desktop computers or laptop computers. Operating systems in these computers are either Mac or Apple, Windows, or Linux, depending on each individual’s preference. For those used in school, work, and other places, the operating systems carried are highly dependent upon the recommendation from management information systems specialists.



For general use, the desktop computer is still the best stationary computer around. It might not be portable like a laptop, but the desktop computer’s strength lies in its easy upgradability. It is easy to access the motherboard of the computer. By having access to the mother board, a person can remove or slot in a video card, upgrade RAM, replace the cooling fan, or even just plain cleaning dust. Unlike the laptop, it’s easy enough to replace a monitor because the monitor and computer are separate entities. Desktop computers come with operating systems from Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Laptop or Notebook


The laptop is the portable version of the desktop. It’s still a personal computer, only more expensive. Now, I am not going to repeat things here, so just see our desktop entry again. What I will add, will help a lot of laptop users all around.

Has your laptop ever shut down by itself while being actively used? Your laptop is probably overheating. Laptops, because we often place them on our laps, tend to gather more dust (dead skin). If the vents and the cooling fan become clogged with dust, the cooling system breaks down, and your laptop overheats. This is the primary reason why laptops seem to shut down by themselves. Not to worry though, you just need to have some internal cleaning done on your computer.

The notebook is a smaller version of the laptop. It can have an attachable keyboard. Otherwise, it has no physical keyboard at all. In place of that, a touch screen keyboard, similar to mobile phones, will appear on your screen. The notebook also has no DVD drive. There usually are attachable DVD drives if your notebook was purchased as a package. To most people, the factor that delineates a notebook from a laptop is size. That’s not entirely correct. Again, the laptop is a portable version of the desktop computer. It has to have a built-in keyboard and DVD drive. But that’s just me. The truth is some manufacturers called their products notebooks, while others called theirs, laptops.

I’m basing my argument on function. If it’s like a desktop in function, it’s a laptop. If it’s small enough in size that it can equate to a notebook, then call it a notebook, as long as it does not have the built-in DVD and physical keyboard.



A netbook is a notebook or a laptop with all legacy ports removed. In short, this computer uses USB ports to connect with external devices and peripherals. The term to define here is legacy free. These are your old PS2 mouse and keyboard ports, the even older serial ports for mouse and keyboard, parallel ports, and game ports. The device should also have no built in floppy drives or CD/DVD drives.



So far, we’ve all been reading about general purpose computers. The workstation type of computer is built to its purpose. If the computer were to be used for graphics manipulation and design, the computer would have enhanced video capacity and boosted RAM. If the computer was needed by physicists, it would have a state of the art processing chip and boosted RAM.

Nowadays, general purpose computers like the desktop, laptop, notebook, and netbook can be as powerful as a workstation station computer, if not more so. A fully upgraded personal desktop computer can easily surpass workstation computers.



The PDA, or Personal Digital Assistant, was the computer to have some years back. It was pocket-sized and relied on external data storage like flash drives. The advent of tablets and android phones have made the PDA obsolete.



In the old days, telephone operators would connect our domestic and international long distance calls. They routed telephone traffic to their proper destinations. This is similar to the function of a server. In a networked environment, where multiple computers are connected to each other, the server acts as the central computer, or hub, and directs the flow of communicated data to their proper destination.

For the internet, the function of a server is specific. It can be a game server, a file transfer server (FTP), a mail server for emails, chat server, could or storage, and many other functions.



Mainframes are used by big organizations that need computers which can process and store oceans upon oceans of data. These organizations are commercial banks who steal money from people, the spy agency for sorting and storing spy data on people, the government same as the spy agency and banks, and the military same as the spy agency. These mainframes use specialized operating systems. This allows them a little more security against so called computer terrorism.



A supercomputer has high capacities for computation. They are exponentially faster than the regular purpose computers. Supercomputers are used by astronomers, physicists, biologists, climatologists, and many other scientific branches. In industry, super-computers are used in exploring for possible oil and gas wells.

Wearable Computer


The formal definition of a wearable computer is that of a computer that is carried on the body of a user, weather carried or strapped. They go further by limiting the devices to computers that perform health monitoring, behavior modelling, information technology, and media development. These computers are always on, always worn, and always connected to a monitoring system.



This was a computer developed in the late 1960’s. It was smaller than a mainframe computer, so they called it a minicomputer. Today, minicomputers do not exist. Besides, if anything today deserves the term minicomputer, it would be your android mobile phone.



The term, microcomputer, has fallen into disuse. This was what they called a new computer that was smaller than the minicomputer. Today, the microcomputer is known as your desktop and laptop computers.



This is a really small computer chip used for specific tasks. The small circuit houses memory, processor, and peripherals. Microcontrollers are installed in car computers, remote controls, medical implants, and most other digital equipment and appliances.

We hope that we have helped you in some way, as we tried to describe the different types of computers in simplified terms.

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