The term "microcomputer" actually refers to any personal computer (PC) designed for use by one person. Technology and design improvements continue to stimulate strong demand for mobile PCs both in mature and emerging markets. "Rapid economic growth is not only stimulating PC demand among business, governments and educational institutions, but also generating new demand among the ever-growing numbers of increasingly affluent consumers," writes George Shiffler, research director at Gartner Inc.
Notebooks, among the smallest microcomputers, can weight less than a kilogram. These ultra-portable units allow for easy setup in a classroom; they connect to the Internet via a cable or integrated Wi-Fi terminal. Most notebooks, these days have built-in microphones and webcams for video conferences.
Laptops are slightly bigger and heavier than the notebooks. Although laptops and notebooks have similar performance, the laptops have larger screens and are more convenient for longer work. The advantage of the laptop comparing to other microcomputers is its portability and easy access to the Internet. Many companies have problems with their laptop batteries. Some are not durable and can overheat and sometimes even explode.
Desktops are bigger and can perform more complex operations than notebooks and laptops. These microcomputers have separate components -- the system unit, keyboard and monitor. Desktop microcomputers are generally cheaper than laptops or notebooks. With some exceptions, new technologies are often built into the desktop computers at least six months before their introduction to the notebooks and laptops. The desktops tend to be reliable and easy to repair. If a component fails to work, you can replace it more easily than you could its counterpart in a laptop or notebook.
Tower minicomputers have their power supply, motherboard and mass storage device stacked on the top of each other in a cabinet. In contrast to desktop minicomputers, wherein components are packed into a more compact box, tower computers offer the main advantage of having fewer space constraints for easier additional installation. Mini-tower microcomputers have system units that stand beside the monitor, while full-tower microcomputers have higher and wider units.