Computing Devices | ENIAC, EDVAC, UNIVAC & Personal Computers

Development of Computing Devices in the 20th Century The computing devices of the 20th century underwent significant historical development, marked by the emergence of computer generations utilizing vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. These early computers were massive, occupying entire rooms, and were characterized by high costs, substantial heat generation, often leading […]

Development of Computing Devices in the 20th Century

The computing devices of the 20th century underwent significant historical development, marked by the emergence of computer generations utilizing vacuum tubes for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. These early computers were massive, occupying entire rooms, and were characterized by high costs, substantial heat generation, often leading to damage.

 

ENIAC

ENIAC, the Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer, stands out as the world’s first general-purpose electronic digital computer. Devised by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, ENIAC was versatile, capable of solving a multitude of problems, and employed vacuum tubes for its electronic components.

 

ENIAC Features:

  1. Remarkably, ENIAC operated at the speed of light, executing 5000 addition cycles per second.
  2. It demonstrated the ability to perform digit discrimination and branch loops.
  3. ENIAC lacked electronic program storage; programs had to be hardwired before the machine started.

ENIAC Components included vacuum tubes, crystal diodes, relays, resistors, capacitors, and hand-soldered joints. Input was possible via a card punch, and the output was obtained using similar methods.

 

ENIAC Uses:

ENIAC could perform 5,000 simple addition and subtraction operations.

 

EDVAC

EDVAC, or Electronic Discreet Variable Automatic Computer, was an early electronic computer also developed by Mauchly and Eckert.

 

EDVAC Features:

  1. It featured a magnetic tape reader recorder.
  2. A control unit with an oscilloscope.
  3. A dispatcher unit for receiving and directing instructions.
  4. A computational unit for arithmetic operations.
  5. A timer.
  6. Three temporary tanks, each holding a single word.

EDVAC Components consisted of vacuum tubes, diodes, and a power consumption of 56kw.

 

EDVAC Uses:

EDVAC was utilized for addition, subtraction, multiplication, programmed division, and automatic checking with an ultrasonic serial memory.

 

UNIVAC

UNIVAC, the Universal Automatic Computer, marked the first commercial computer in the United States, invented by Mauchly and Eckert.

 

UNIVAC Features:

  1. It was the first computer with a magnetic tape unit and buffer memory.
  2. The machine was 25 feet by 50 feet in size.

UNIVAC Components included tubes, crystal diodes, and relays.

 

UNIVAC Uses:

  1. Applied to arithmetic functions, multiplication, and division.
  2. Used for calculating company payrolls, sales records, and business analysis.

 

Desktop and Personal Computers

A desktop computer, referred to as a PC, is positioned in a fixed location, distinguishing it from mobile laptops or portables.

 

Features of a Personal Computer:

Components include a motherboard, CPU, RAM, power pack, monitor, system software, application software, keyboard, carcass, screen, and mouse.

 

Desktop Computer Components:

  1. Diode
  2. Chips
  3. Capacitor
  4. Resistor
  5. Coil
  6. Integrated circuit

 

Desktop Computer Uses:

Word processing, spreadsheet applications, browsing, internet, digital messaging, multimedia playback, and computer games.

 

Laptop & Notebook Computers

Laptops, also known as notebooks, are mobile personal computers powered by electricity or rechargeable batteries.

 

Features of Laptop & Notebook Computers:

Include a webcam, wireless connection, fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth, audio jack, and card reader.

 

Components and Uses:

Similar to desktop components.

 

Palmtop

Palmtop computers are handheld, portable devices with an operating system compatible with desktop computers.

 

Palmtop Features:

Color screen, expansion slot, wireless capability, and a voice recorder.

 

Palmtop Components and Uses:

Similar to laptop components, but palmtops are typically powered by off-sheet batteries like A-cells.

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