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Classification of Computer System

I love computers and I enjoy giving tips on how to troubleshoot them.

Mainframe Computer

A Lucid Distinction in the Classification of Computer System

Classification of a Computer system is necessary in order to fully appreciate the concept of Computing. Computer technology has undergone different historical stages and today we can embrace a highly sophisticated Computer System several miles away from what used to be Charles Babbage Analytical Machine (a reference point in the history of computer systems).

Computer systems can be broadly classified into four groups, namely: Mainframe Computer, Minicomputer, Microcomputer, and Supercomputer. Each of these is described in turn as follows:

1. Mainframe Computer:

Mainframe computers are large computers that have a variety of network terminals making it possible for more than one user to operate them at the same time. Mainframe computers are very expensive to purchase and maintain. The Central processing unit and the computer memory were housed in a large cabinet from which the term “mainframe computer” was coined.

There are divergent positions with respect to the origin of Mainframe computers. However, mainframe computers came into existence as a result of the increasing need in the 1930s to compute and analyze massive data which simple electronic machines could not do. IBM is popularly known as a major player in this regard. Since its invention, the system is reputed for its high stability, security, accuracy, and reliability.

Unlike the first generation mainframe computers which were as large as the size of a room, the modern IBM zSeries is smaller, more powerful, and has the ability to run multiple operating systems. IBM has over 90% market share in the global market for mainframe computers.

This computer is usually used by large organizations like Banks, the government of countries, and large business concerns.

They have been housed in dust free and cool environment. Other regular computer maintenance cultures are also employed.

2. Minicomputer:

Minicomputers are medium-sized computers developed in the 1960s. It lies in between mainframe and microcomputers. They were designed for user interaction and day-to-day computing needs rather than solely for large or massive computations. It is popularly known in contemporary times as a mid-range computer.

They perform the same functions as the Mainframe computers but on a smaller scale and capacity. Minicomputer is also a multi-user device with different network interfaces just like the Mainframe but lesser in the number of networks.

The Minicomputer does not have any special environmental requirement like the Mainframe computer so they can be located conveniently at different offices in an organization. However, normal computer maintenance practices are usually carried out.

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Due to the huge capital requirement to manufacture minicomputers, its popularity declined after the emergence of the microcomputer which was far cheaper to manufacture and also due to its flexibility.

3. Microcomputer:

This is the commonest computer seen everywhere in Schools for learning purposes, Offices, and homes. The Microcomputer derives its name from its use of a microprocessor (CPU) memory located in one integrated microchip or circuit. Unlike large computers that use more than one chip for their processing activities.

As computer technology grows, it became increasingly possible to package the entire computer components in smaller sizes than was obtainable many years before. Some microcomputers can do in terms of speed the same thing that some Mainframe computers can do several years ago.

Microcomputers are the smallest in size and they come in different forms such as Laptop computers, desktops, Palm Top computers, Notebooks, etc. Generally, they use one central Processing unit and are usually used by one person at a time.

4. Supercomputer:

A supercomputer is the giant of the computer world. It is usually the most expensive and can be afforded by very few bodies like an organization, countries, and research institutions. It is used for a lot of mathematical calculations. It is reputed to have more than fifty-time speed than microcomputers. Just like the Mainframe computer, it requires a dust-free and cool environment for optimal performance and maintenance.

What type of computer have you? This is a revelation of knowing the most appropriate computer system that suits different purposes. I once bought a Computer that could not serve its purpose so I took great delight in this discourse.

Classification of Computer systems as seen from the foregoing is useful both for academic brainstorming and for the purpose of deciding which computer system to buy relative to one's need or for an Organisation. For the sake of clarity, you can also read Major types of Computer System.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Deepanshu on December 15, 2019:

I have super computer

Aditya Ranjeet Kolekar on February 23, 2017:

It was very good to understanding...

Omogiade Stephen Nosakhare (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on December 26, 2014:

Thanks for all your comments.

AIDA LOPEZ on August 08, 2014:

really good like_PLAPLAPLA!!!!

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