Categories / Sizes / Types of Computers
"One generation's supercomputers is a later generation's mainframes, and eventually some generation's handhelds, and even wearables".
|1. Supercomputers||Most computing power there is to buy for money. Applications include weather forecasting, quantum mechanics, and other forms of most advanced research in biology, physics, et c.||(More) SP|
|2. Mainframes||For thousands up to millions of parallel transactions and/or users, like reservation systems for airlines et c.||More SP||"You cannot move a mainframe" [Distinctive marks, wikipedia]|
Mini computers is more of a historical term with the trend of microcomputers becoming cheaper and more powerful and what traditionally was minis (with own HW, OSs, SW) has been replaced by racks of PC HW with OS like Mac OS X (Server), Linux (in various flavors), and Windows (Server).
|GP||"You can tilt a minicomputer",
"You can lift a workstation "[Distinctive marks, wikipedia]
||More for personal use, for general purpose computing, using OSs like Mac OS, Windows, or Linux.||GP|
|Credit-card sized computers. "Nanocomputer is the logical name for a computer smaller than the microcomputer, which is smaller than the minicomputer." [wikipedia]||More GP||"You can hold it in the palm of your hand." [COMGT]|
6. Mobile computers
Maybe most characteristic difference* compared to all the above is user interface, human machine interface (HMI) - touch screen, no physical keyboard (and mouse), use of gestures and pressure.
What's a 'mobile' device? Important questions when designing user interfaces!
|some GP, some SP||"You can throw a laptop "[Distinctive marks, wikipedia]|
Out of sight, special purpose, computing. Like in your washing machine (your home likely has multiple of tens of small computers without you know it), car (cars have tens up to hundred(s) of microprocesser-based devices, basically every industry segment has products with embedded devices, and more than most people can imagine, guess.
GP/SP: General Purpose, Special Purpose [computing]
See also Printed Circuit Boards, PCB for sizes.
User Interfaces has more on differences in how using different types of computing devices.
More reading, references:
- wikipedia: List of computer size categories
- wikipedia: Classes of computers
- Classes by size (super, mainframe, mini, micro)
- Classes by function (servers, workstations, information appliances, embedded computers)
- Classes by usage (public computer, personal computer,. display computer)
- google types of computers embedded desktops laptops mini mainframe
- 5 Categories of Computer Types and Components, blog.udemy.com/categories-of-computer/, (May 12, 2014)
- Supercomputers, Mainframe Computers, Minicomputers, Microcomputers, and Mobile Computers. (Not mentioning Embedded...)
- 2.2. Introduction to Computers, cs.sru.edu/~mullins/cpsc100book/.., N.D. (No Date)
- Supercomputer, Mainframe, Server, Cloud Computing, Workstation, Personal Computer or PC, Smartphones, Other devices, Microcontroller.Computers, Minicomputers, Microcomputers, and Mobile Computers. (Not mentioni