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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