Types of Computers

When you're looking to buy a computer you need to get one to fit your needs and your wallet. There are several different types to choose from. The majority of college students purchase laptops because they're portable, powerful, and flexible. Other students buy tablets and connect a keyboard or mouse to make it more functional.

To purchase the right computer, plan ahead. Salespeople rarely help you spend less money. Think about where you want to use this computer. A desktop may save you money but is useless if you need to take it to school. Ultrabooks™ are portable, full function machines but if you just want to do some online shopping or watch a movie, why pay triple? One thing many consumers forget about is their software needs. Will you be using programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop? If so, you need to make sure your computer has enough power to run the program and that you have enough money to buy the software you need.

Some computers aren't meant for the home:

  1. Supercomputers: The most powerful computers—used to process very large amounts of data and run complex models and simulations. For example, NASA uses supercomputers to generate models of the Earth's climate.

  2. Mainframe computers: Used by corporations, government agencies, and other large institutions to store and manipulate large amounts of data, like banking records.

  3. Minicomputers (also called midrange servers): Less powerful than a mainframe, but more powerful than a personal computer. A midrange server might be used to run a large e-commerce Web site.

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