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A guide to different types of computer

A short introduction to different types of computer, mainly regarding the differences between computer basics such as laptop and desktop machines. Also discussed, will be the pros and cons of each computer type.

An introduction to computer types.

During the 80s and 90s desktop computers were far more mainstream than laptops - this was mainly due to the price factor. Nowadays, however, laptops are incredibly cheaper than they once used to be. A desktop PC, up into recently, usually consisted of a 'tower' ie. a tall, narrow box that contains the main working parts of the computer such as the processor (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU), hard drive, memory and usually a DVD/CD drive. As part of a desktop system there will also be a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse. A laptop computer has all the same features except that they are all built into one separate machine: the keyboard, monitor, CPU, hard drive, memory and GPU are all housed together, whilst a mouse is an optional extra, a track pad replaces this functionality as a pointing device. For power a laptop has a rechargeable battery (although it can also be run off mains electricity). Having all of these features together makes the laptop computer a highly portable device, as opposed to the more 'traditional' desktop computer. This portability is beneficial in many ways, for example it enables people to work whilst commuting, to being an important learning tool that can be carried from class to home with ease. Whilst a laptop computer has many benefits over its larger desktop relation in terms of portability, this is often paid for in the fact that a laptop of a similar price to a desktop system will be inferior in many ways, usually at the cost of CPU and GPU power, screen size and hard disk size. This is due to the cost of miniaturizing component size to fit within the laptop's housing; a desktop machine tends to have far more space within the tower. There is also the price to pay in terms of powering the system - a battery will eventually need charging.

Blurring of the types.

Whilst I have outlined two of the most common computer types above, this difference between computers is gradually being blurred as more 'all in one' desktop computers are being released: whilst they have all the functionality and power of the more 'traditional' desktop system, they lack a tower altogether and hide the system's workings within the monitor's housing, such as Apple Computer's latest iMac, for instance. Also, it is not uncommon to use a laptop computer with a much larger monitor plugged in.

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