Types of Computer Systems

by: Frank White
February 24, 2005

The line between computer systems can be extremely vague. A powerful entry level system can double as an low end business system, or a gamming system can be identical to a low end workstation. In fact, some equipment manufactures may refer to their business systems as workstations. Some components on a computer in any class can be installed on all systems. For example, a manufacture may use the same RAM on the entry level system and the gaming system. You will want to pay particular attention to system's CPU and Video. Sometimes it the amount of hard disk space or the addition of a better video adapter that moves a system from one class to another. Please keep in mind that the tables below show the minimum configurations.

Entry Level Systems

Entry level systems are the most common systems for home and general use. These systems are often powerful enough to run standard office software, watch DVD movies, surf the internet, send and receive email, as well as run home and small office accounting software. As of the date of this article, the minimum configuration for  an entry level computer system is as follows:

Computer Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron running at 2 Gigahertz (GHz) or better, or AMD Athlon, Duron or Semphon running at 1.5Ghz or better
System memory (RAM) 256 megabytes (Mb) of DDR RAM
Hard Disk Storage 40 Gigabytes (Gb)
Optical Storage CDRW/DVD
Monitor 17 inch CRT display
USB Ports 2.0 standard at least 4 ports
Video At least 32MB - Often uses system memory
Audio Should be included along with speakers
Network Adapter Should be included (for Hi-speed Internet)

Additionally the system may include some additional ports such as keyboard and mouse ports, a printer port, serial port(s), a game port and, optionally, a dial-up modem. 

Business Class Systems

Computer Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 or Celeron running at 2 Gigahertz (GHz) or better, or AMD Athlon, Duron or Semphon running at 1.5Ghz or better
System memory (RAM) 256 megabytes (Mb) of Error Correcting Code (ECC) DDR RAM
Hard Disk Storage EIDE 120 Gigabytes (Gb) - SCSI or SATA with RAID 1 preferred
Optical Storage CDRW/DVD
Monitor 17 inch CRT display
USB Ports 2.0 standard at least 4 ports
Video At least 32MB RAM - Often uses system memory
Audio Should be included along with speakers
Network Adapter Should be included (for Hi-speed Internet)

 

Gaming Systems

Computer Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 running at 3 Gigahertz (GHz) or better, or AMD Athlon, or AMD64 running at 2.2Ghz or better
System memory (RAM) 1 Gigabyte (Gb) of DDR RAM
Hard Disk Storage  Gigabytes 80 (Gb)
Optical Storage CDRW/DVD
Monitor 17 inch LCD display
USB Ports 2.0 standard at least 6 ports
Video At least 128MB DDR RAM video adapter with Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and heat sink
Audio 5.1 Dolby
Network Adapter Should be included (for Hi-speed Internet)

Workstations and Servers

Workstations and servers are usually built and configured to specifications.

 
Computer Processor(s) (CPUs) Intel Pentium 4,  Intel Xeon, AMD64, AMD64FX, AMD Opteron. System may support multiple processors.
System memory (RAM) 512 megabytes (Mb) to 4 Gigabytes of DDR RAM
Hard Disk Storage 80 Gigabytes (Gb) to 2 terabytes (Tb)
Optical Storage Task Specific
Monitor 17 inch CRT display
USB Ports 2.0 standard at least 6 ports
Video Task Specific
Audio Optional - Task Specific
Network Adapter High end Network Adapter

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