Types of Computers

This section will not attempt to provide a comprehensive description of different kinds of computer systems. That will only be possible in the context of a discussion of operating systems, communications, corporate issues, and so forth. The purpose at this point is simply to give you a general perspective by noting how the systems differ.


The term mainframe originally referred to the cabinet in a large computer system that housed the CPU and memory; smaller cabinets (or racks) held disk drives and such. Today the term refers to any very large scale computer system, especially to those made by IBM and its competitors (notably Hitachi and Amdahl, which makes a "plug compatible" machine in partnership with Fujitsu and ...

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