Introduction to Computers

Classification of Computers Lesson II

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to: Classify computers according to purpose Explain each of the category of computers above

Classification of computers according to purpose

According to purpose, computers are classified as:

  • General Purpose Computers
  • Special Purpose Computers                 

General Purpose Computers

These refer to computers capable of performing a variety of tasks since they can store and execute different programs.

Special Purpose Computers

These are computers designed to perform a specific task. For example, a play station is used for playing graphic-intensive video games

Special-purpose computers are designed to serve a particular purpose or accomplish one particular task. Such computers can perform no other task except the one they were meant to do.


  1. In a computer network where the host computer serves several other computers connected to it. (Mainframe computers)
  2. A special type of computer known as Front end processor (FEP) may be used to specialize in the work of network control. I.e. controlling data, instruction and communication between various workstations and the host computer.

NB: Mobile Phones and calculators are also classified as special-purpose computers because they were made to perform one major task. i.e. phones meant for communication only and electronic calculators to carry out calculations only

Dedicated purpose computers

These computers are designed to perform a wide variety of tasks though they are committed to some processing tasks. I.e. the computer can be dedicated to carrying out word-processing tasks only.