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Showing posts with label Types of Computers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Types of Computers. Show all posts

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Types of Computers

Stationary Workstation

Sun SPARCstation 1+, 25 MHz RISC processor from early 1990s
Main article: Workstation

A workstation is a high-end personal computer designed for technical or scientific applications. Intended primarily to be used by one person at a time, they are commonly connected to a local area network and run multi-user operating systems. Workstations are used for tasks such as computer-aided design, drafting and modeling, computation-intensive scientific and engineering calculations, image processing, architectural modeling, and computer graphics for animation and motion picture visual effects.

Desktop computer

Main article: Desktop computer

Dell OptiPlex desktop computer

Prior to the wide spread of PCs a computer that could fit on a desk was considered remarkably small. Today the phrase usually indicates a particular style of computer case. Desktop computers come in a variety of styles ranging from large vertical tower cases to small form factor models that can be tucked behind an LCD monitor. In this sense, the term 'desktop' refers specifically to a horizontally oriented case, usually intended to have the display screen placed on top to save space on the desk top. Most modern desktop computers have separate screens and keyboards.

Gaming Computer

Main article: Gaming computer

Games have been on computers since 1962 when Spacewar! was released. Today Personal Computer Gaming or PC gaming is a very popular pastime. Gaming computers tend to also be about the looks of the case rather than just the specifications of the hardware. A gaming computer needs to be much more powerful than a PC that someone is using to do office work and to surf the internet. A Gaming Computer has to have a good graphics card so that it can process all the 3D models and shapes that are on the screen. In addition the Central processing unit or CPU has to do more work to calculate game mechanics, figure out gravity, and assist with the graphics and process the sound. Most serious gamers prefer to build their own computer or rig. This is because they can get exactly what they want and the price is a lot cheaper. When building a ‘high end’ computer the price is generally right around $600. Many people say this is super expensive but it's not that much more than an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3 when they first came out. In addition, a computer can be used for much more than just gaming, and a $600 computer will last at least 5 years. The choice of parts to build a computer are vast as many companies build different parts of the system.

Single unit

Further information: All-in-one computer

Single unit PCs (also known as all-in-one PCs) are a subtype of desktop computers, which combine the monitor and case of the computer within a single unit. The monitor often utilizes a touchscreen as an optional method of user input, however detached keyboards and mice are normally still included. The inner components of the PC are often located directly behind the monitor, and many are built similarly to laptops.


Main article: Nettop

Asus I7 High-Res Notebook

A subtype of desktops, called nettops, was introduced by Intel in February 2008 to describe low-cost, lean-function, desktop computers. A similar subtype of laptops (or notebooks) are the netbooks (see below). The product line features the new Intel Atom processor which specially enables them to consume less power and to be built into small enclosures.

Home theater PC

Main article: Home theater PC

Antec Fusion V2 home theater PC with keyboard on top.

A home theater PC (HTPC) is a convergence device that combines the functions of a personal computer and a digital video recorder. It is connected to a television or a television-sized computer display and is often used as a digital photo, music, video player, TV receiver and digital video recorder. Home theater PCs are also referred to as media center systems or media servers. The general goal in a HTPC is usually to combine many or all components of a home theater setup into one box. They can be purchased pre-configured with the required hardware and software needed to add television programming to the PC, or can be cobbled together out of discrete components as is commonly done with MythTV, Windows Media Center, GB-PVR, SageTV, Famulent or LinuxMCE.

Main article: Laptop

A modern laptop computer

A laptop computer or simply laptop, also called a notebook computer, is a small personal computer designed for portability. Usually all of the interface hardware needed to operate the laptop, such as USB ports (previously parallel and serial ports), graphics card, sound channel, etc, are built in to a single unit. Laptops contain high capacity batteries that can power the device for extensive periods of time, enhancing portability. Once the battery charge is depleted, it will have to be recharged through a power outlet. In the interest of saving power, weight and space, they usually share RAM with the video channel, slowing their performance compared to an equivalent desktop machine.

One main drawback of the laptop is sometimes, due to the size and configuration of components, relatively little can be done to upgrade the overall computer from its original design. Internal upgrades are either not manufacturer recommended, can damage the laptop if done with poor care or knowledge, or in some cases impossible, making the desktop PC more modular. Some internal upgrades, such as memory and hard disks upgrades are often easy, a display or keyboard upgrade is usually impossible. The laptop has the same access as the desktop to the wide variety of devices, such as external displays, mice, cameras, storage devices and keyboards, which may be attached externally through USB ports and other less common ports such as external video.

A subtype of notebooks, called subnotebooks, are computers with most of the features of a standard laptop computer but smaller. They are larger than hand-held computers, and usually run full versions of desktop/laptop operating systems. Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPC) are usually considered subnotebooks, or more specifically, subnotebook Tablet PCs (see below). Netbooks are sometimes considered in this category, though they are sometimes separated in a category of their own (see below).

Desktop replacement

Main article: Desktop replacement computer

An Acer 18'4 inch screen Desktop Replacement Laptop

A desktop replacement computer (DTR) is a personal computer that provides the full capabilities of a desktop computer while remaining mobile. They are often larger, bulkier laptops. Because of their increased size, this class of computer usually includes more powerful components and a larger display than generally used in smaller portable computers and can have a relatively limited battery capacity (or none at all). Some use a limited range of desktop components to provide better performance at the expense of battery life. These are sometimes called desknotes, a portmanteau of the words "desktop" and "notebook," though the term is also applied to desktop replacement computers in general.


Main article: Netbook

An HP netbook

Netbooks (also called mini notebooks or subnotebooks) are a rapidly evolvingcategory of small, light and inexpensive laptop computers suited for general computing and accessing web-based applications; they are often marketed as "companion devices," that is, to augment a user's other computer access. Walt Mossberg called them a "relatively new category of small, light, minimalist and cheap laptops." By August 2009, CNET called netbooks "nothing more than smaller, cheaper notebooks."

Initially, their primary defining characteristic was the lack of an optical disc drive, requiring it to be a separate and external device. This has become less important as flash memory devices have gradually increased in capacity, replacing the writable optical disc (e.g. CD-RW, DVD-RW) as a transportable storage medium.

At their inception in late 2007 as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low cost netbooks omitted key features (e.g., the optical drive), featured smaller screens and keyboards, and offered reduced specification and computing power. Over the course of their evolution, netbooks have ranged in size from below 5 in to over 13 in, and from ~1 kg (2-3 pounds). Often significantly less expensive than other laptops, by mid-2009, netbooks had been offered to users "free of charge", with an extended service contract purchase of a cellular data plan.

In the short period since their appearance, netbooks have grown in size and features, now converging with new smaller, lighter notebooks. By mid 2009, CNET noted "the specs are so similar that the average shopper would likely be confused as to why one is better than the other," noting "the only conclusion is that there really is no distinction between the devices."

Tablet PC

Main article: Tablet personal computer

HP Compaq tablet PC with rotating/removable keyboard.

A tablet PC is a notebook or slate-shaped mobile computer. Its touchscreen or graphics tablet/screen hybrid technology allows the user to operate the computer with a stylus or digital pen, or a fingertip, instead of a keyboard or mouse. The form factor offers a more mobile way to interact with a computer. Tablet PCs are often used where normal notebooks are impractical or unwieldy, or do not provide the needed functionality.

Ultra-mobile PC

Main article: Ultra-mobile PC

Samsung Q1 Ultra-Mobile PC.

The ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) is a specification for a small form factor of tablet PCs. It was developed as a joint development exercise by Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung, among others. Current UMPCs typically feature the Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Linux operating system and low-voltage Intel Atom or VIA C7-M processors.

Pocket PC

Main article: Pocket PC

An O2 pocket PC

A pocket PC is a hardware specification for a handheld-sized computer (personal digital assistant) that runs the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system. It may have the capability to run an alternative operating system like NetBSD or Linux. It has many of the capabilities of modern desktop PCs.

Currently there are tens of thousands of applications for handhelds adhering to the Microsoft Pocket PC specification, many of which are freeware. Some of these devices also include mobile phone features and thus actually represent a smartphone. Microsoft compliant Pocket PCs can also be used with many other add-ons like GPS receivers, barcode readers, RFID readers, and cameras. In 2007, with the release of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft dropped the name Pocket PC in favor of a new naming scheme. Devices without an integrated phone are called Windows Mobile Classic instead of Pocket PC. Devices with an integrated phone and a touch screen are called Windows Mobile Professional.

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