Strand 3: IT Systems

3.1 Hardware

Types of Computers

There are four different types of computers:
  • Supercomputers
  • Mainframes
  • Minicomputers
  • Microcomputers

The Supercomputer is a computer that has a sertain focesed task involving numerical calculations, such as nucular simulations, complex scientific calculations and weather forcastings. Supercomputers are the frontline of current computing technological advances with the fastest processing capacity, particularly the speed of calculations.
A Supercomputer processing speeds are measured in FLOPS (floating point operations per second). FLOPS are calculated from the amount of Mathimatical operations that are calculated per second.
Supercomputers are the most powerful when in terms of, memory size, speed, broadband and latency. Supercomputers are very expencive.

Mainframes where created to sevice multipul users from the, smaller, single user machines. These computers are able to handle and process very large amounts of data quickly. These computers are used in larger industries, banks, governments and schools. Mainframes are measured in MIPS (interger operations per second) Mainframes Are built to be reliable for transaction processing for example: commercial exchanges of good ect.

Minicomputers is a class of multi user computers that lies in the middle of the computing spectrum, in between Mainframes and Microcomputers or (personal computers) Minicomputers are also called Midrange Computers.

Microcomputers or Personal Computers are the most common types of computers that exist today.
The term “Microcomputer” was named because of a single chip called MICROPROCESSOR.
Microcomputers are everday computers for example:
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop/ Notebook computers
  • Tablet PC
  • Palmtop computers
  • Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)
  • Programmable Calculators