The Three Major Types of Computers

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There are three major types of computers. The first type includes the very large ones, usually known as mainframes. A few years ago, these were the only kinds of business computers available until miniaturization of components came along and gave rise to the minicomputers. Nowadays, mainframe computers cost anywhere from two to over ten million pesos.

A mainframe computer can be centralized in one big information center or it ca be spread widely among a number of terminals or computer substations. These terminals can be installed in different locations away from each other. Whether centralized or not, a mainframe can be used by a number of people at the same time. For example, one person could work on a stock inventory; another could prepare a weekly payroll, while still another could retrieve personal files.

The second type includes the minicomputers which have been popular in business and industry for the last seven years. These usually cost from five hundred thousand to two million pesos.

A minicomputer, like mainframe, is also equipped with terminals, but a t a more limited number. The terminals of a minicomputer cannot be installed in locations away from each other, unlike mainframe terminals. But a minicomputer can also be used by several users at the same time.

The third type includes the microcomputers which can only be used by one person at a time, doing only one function at a time. Originally developed as hobby or game machines, they are now the most widely used computers in schools and offices. A microcomputer big enough for business application usually costs forty thousand pesos or less. Standard brands of microcomputers include the IBM-PC, Apple, Commodore, and Apple Macintosh. In addition, there are nonstandard brands, otherwise known as compatibles like the IBM-compatible and Apple-compatible which are cheaper than standard ones but can perform virtually all the functions of the standard brands. These compatibles can user programs or software intended and have been developed of the standard brands. Most of these compatibles are made by enterprising Taiwanese and Hong Kong manufacturers who simply compiled the standard brands, chip by chip.

Practical Uses of Computers

Here are some of the things a computer can do:

1. A computer can store and collate voluminous pages of information or data pertaining to various persons, products, and items, as well as sore and organize this information in the manner which the user requires.

2. A computer can do repetitive calculations at a great speed. It can, therefore, be a big help in the preparation of payrolls, financial statements, books of account, inventories, and other similar business records.

3. A computer can help provide and up-to-date information about business, industry, science and technology, and other related fields.

4. A computer can process words in letters, reports, and documents of all types with great speed and accuracy.

All these uses of a computer contribute to better communications, higher productivity, and faster decision-making. In other words, a person using a computer can work faster, better, more accurately and intelligently. Repetitive and monotonous calculations, typing, and other paper work can now be delegated to computers so people can spend more time thinking and doing creative work.


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