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According to the U.S. Census "Forty-four million households, or 42 percent, had at least one member who used the Internet at home in 2000" (Home Computers 2). Today, no doubt, even more family members in the United States use computers. Most people are aware of the desktop computers which can be found in the home and in the workplace. What are the different types of computers and what are their purposes? Computers can be classified into three different categories of home computers, portable computers, and business computers including workstations and super computers.
First, what is a computer? "While the term computer can apply to virtually any device that has a microprocessor in it, most people think of a computer as a device that receives input from the user through a mouse or keyboard, processes it in some fashion and displays the result on a screen" (What are the Different p. 1). Home computers are being used by children, teenagers, and adults. The PC or personal computer is designed to be used by one person. The term, Mac, is a PC, but most people link computers with Windows software such as Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. A PC is actually a desktop that is designed to be used in one set location. "Most desktops offer more power, storage, and versatility for less than their portable brethren" (What Are p. 3). Many desktop computers are used at home and at work. Various types of software have been designed to meet individual needs of the computer user. The use of home computers or PCs can be for various purposes such as education, work at home, personal communication through e-mail, to gain knowledge about different topics, to find recipes, and even to play games.
The second classification of computers is portable computers. This type of classification includes lap tops and palm tops. The personal digital assistant or PDA was designed to help people stay organized. This was expanded upon and now PDA's offer a variety of services. PDA's are "easy to use and capable of sharing information with your PC. It's supposed to be an extension of the PC, not a replacement" with many different types of services (How PDAs Work p. 1). Many PDA's are even capable of connecting with the Internet and act as global positioning devices. Other portable computers are now available.
Another portable computer is the palmtop.
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More and more people are using lap tops instead of desktops. These are portable computers that are similar to desktops with many of the same functions. Lap tops "integrate the display, keyboard, a pointing device or trackball, processor, memory, and hard drive all in a battery-operated package slightly larger than an average hardcover book" (What are the Different p. 4). Laptops offer the convenience of use in different situations such as on an air plane, in front of a television set, or in a motel room. "Modern laptops have floppy disks, CD-ROM drives and CD re-writers, and even DVD drives" (Types of Computer p. 4). Laptops often have a mouse and fully functioning keyboards. Laptops are often used by business people who rely on computers to keep them in touch with their companies and clients. "The main advantage of a laptop is that the person using it can have all the programs and data from their desktop computer on a portable computer" (Types of Computer p. 6). The fact that it is a portable computer designed to use anywhere makes the laptop a favorite of many people.
The next classification of computers is called the office computers such as workstations or supercomputers. What is the difference between a workstation and desktop computers? "A desktop computer that has a more powerful processor, additional memory and enhanced capabilities for performing a special group of task, such as 3D Graphics or game development" (What are the Different p. 6). Another computer under this classification is the server or networks. "A computer that has been optimized to provide services to other computers over a network. Servers usually have powerful processors, lots of memory and large hard drives" (What are the Differences p. 7). Networks combine several computers in an office or building space. Also, under the classification of business computer is the supercomputer. This type of computer is more expensive than any of the others with it often costing millions of dollars. "Although some supercomputers are single computer systems, most are comprised of multiple high performance computers working in parallel as a single system" (What are the differences 10). Supercomputers usually are used to predict weather, handle bank accounts, or insurance details.
Three classifications of computers are home computers, portable computers, and business computers. The desktop computer is usually found in homes or small offices. Portable computers are becoming more accepted with people buying more laptops and PDA's. Business computers are usually known for networks servers and supercomputers. Computers are used by children, teenagers, and adults with many children and teenagers having desktop computers in their rooms and many teenagers and adults are finding PDA's necessary as a part of their lives.
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