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The Shapes of Computers Today Essay

This lesson includes the following sections:

• Supercomputers • Mainframe Computers • Minicomputers • Workstations • Microcomputers, or Personal Computers

The Shapes of Computers Today – Supercomputers

• Supercomputers are the most powerful computers. They are used for problems requiring complex calculations.

• Because of their size and expense, supercomputers are relatively rare.

• Supercomputers are used by universities, government agencies, and large businesses.

The Shapes of Computers Today – Mainframe Computers

• 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 Internet.

The Shapes of Computers Today – Minicomputers

• Minicomputers are smaller than mainframes but larger than microcomputers.

• Minicomputers usually have multiple terminals.

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

The Shapes of Computers Today – Workstations

• 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.

The Shapes of Computers Today – Microcomputers, or Personal Computers

• Microcomputers are more commonly known as personal computers. The term “PC” is applied to IBM-PCs or compatible computers.

• Full-size 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.

Lesson 2 Review

• List the five most common types of computer systems.

• Identify two unique features of supercomputers.

• Describe a typical use for mainframe computers

• Differentiate workstations from personal computers.

• Identify four types of personal computers.


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