The Different Types of Computers

By Kristen Marquette

Not all computers are created equal. With different types of computers on the market, each type caters to a specific buyer’s needs, whether it’s a portable computer to take to class, a desktop computer for home use or Tablet PC for mobility and art design. Whatever your computing needs might be, there is a computer out there for you.

Personal Computers

Sized, prized and designed for individual use, the microcomputer—better known as the personal computer (PC)—can be used in your home for personal use or in an office. Personal computers require an operating system to function, usually Microsoft Windows, Mac or Linux. A version of the personal computer, the desktop, typically comes in a vertical tower casing, which conveniently fits on your desktop, hence the name.

Laptop Computers

Laptop computers resemble your personal computers except that they are smaller, compact and designed for mobility. They require an operating system and can perform all the tasks and functions of a regular PC. Your laptop can run off an external power source or a battery. When you plug your laptop into an external power source, your battery recharges itself. Smaller laptops are sometimes called notebooks.

Tablet PC

A version of a laptop, tablet PCs have touch-responsive screens that you can use with either your finger or a stylus. They are ideal for artists who draw. Tablet PCs generally don’t have a keyboard, so they are even more mobile than the typical laptop.

Workstation Computers

Workstation computers come equipped with more processing power and memory than your typical personal computer. These extra capabilities allow you to perform complex procedures that are used in 3D mechanical design, animation or advanced mathematics.

Mainframe Computers

According to Maps of the World, mainframe computers can support the desktop functions of more than a hundred people, all at the same time. Large companies use these computers to perform large amounts of complex mathematics, such as during meteorological surveys or formulating statistics.