Types of Computers - Learning Series

Types of Computers - A brief introduction

When looking at types of computers you are going to be amazed at the various technologies offered on on the market. Computers come in all different sizes, shapes, and with varying capabilities. 

In the high end you will find what are called supercomputers.  They are massive computers with thousands of connected computer microprocessors and then some.  They perform unbelievable calculation feats by tackling the most complex calculations.

On the other side you will find super tiny computers that are in everything from automobiles, to TV's, to even some refrigerators.  Of course the use of tiny microprocessors doesn't end there either.  Take for example a device called  a Cochlear implant, it helps the hearing impaired and even relies on a tiny microprocessor.

Now that you have a very basic understanding of types of computers, lets move onto the personal computer, otherwise known simply as the PC.  We are going to overview various types of personal computers including: desktops, laptops, handhelds and Tablet PC's.

Desktop Computers

computer system pictureDesktop computers in general are designed primarily for use at a desk.  Because they are stationary during their life desktop computers are typically very powerful compared to other types of computers such as a laptop.

The typical desktop computer is loaded with powerful components because size isn't too much of an issue. In contrast a laptop requires components to have been shrunk tremendously for functionality, and in the computer world bigger is often better when it comes to sheer speed.

Desktop computers in the most general terms are made up of separate components including the system unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.  The system unit is the most important piece for it contains the guts and brains of the computer system.  

System units are normally a rectangle box/case that sits on or underneath a desk. Other components, such as the monitor, mouse, and keyboard come in various shapes and sizes but look fairly general across the board.  All connect in some fashion into the system unit completing the desktop computer.

Laptop Computers

dell xpx colored laptopLaptop computers are lightweight mobile PCs that contain thin screens and tiny frames. They are also often called notebook computers too because of their small size.

When looking at the types of computers laptops can pretty much do what a desktop PC can, though because of its smaller nature it isn't going to be as powerful as a full fledged desktop and thus will have some limitations. 

Despite a minor limitation in the processing power department, which I should mention only really hinders the crazy power user, a laptop computer effortlessly can operate on batteries allowing you to be able to literally take one anywhere.  Take it to the local StarBucks, your neighbors, on vacation, or even to the beach.

On a physical level a laptop unlike a desktop combines the internal hardware components, screen, and keyboard in a single case.  Fold the screen down over the keyboard when not in use, drop it in your laptop bag, and your off to your favorite destination.  Try that with a desktop, we dare you! 

Handheld Computershandheld pda smartphone

The smallest types of computers are handhelds. You may also hear someone call one a personal digital assistant (PDA), or pocket computer.

Handheld computer systems are battery powered and small enough to carry pretty much anywhere you please.

Pocket computers because of their absolute tiny frame are not nearly as powerful as desktop or laptop computers, but they are powerful enough in their own right to tackle plenty of computing chores.

They are great for the business man or even the busy housewife who likes to stay highly organized.  PDA's are awesome for storing addresses, your friends, family, and co workers phone numbers, scheduling appointments, and even playing the occasional bathroom break game.

Some handhelds including the IPhone have more advanced capabilities including making telephone calls, accessing the Internet, and more.  Some handhelds have mini thumb touch keyboards, and others handhelds have touch screens that you use with your finger or a pen like tool called a stylus.

Tablet PC'stablet pc pictures

Tablet PCs are unique types of computers.  Like a laptop they are mobile computers which allow you the freedom to take them with you out and about.

Like some handhelds the typical Tablet PC functions using a touch screen. On the left you will see a common tablet PC model.

The most unique feature with a tablet PC's is that you have the ability to write on one electronically using a special pen called a tablet pen.  For example you can draw pictures, control the cursor, or take notes electronically on the screen using the tablet pen. 

One cool feature definitely worth mentioning about tablet PC's are that they include software which has the ability to convert your handwriting into typed text.  Sometimes it works great, other times it is iffy, though in a short period of time all but the sloppiest writers will have adjusted their writing style a bit to where the handwriting text recognition software works wonders.

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