Generations of Computer With Advantages and Disadvantages

When we study the history of the computer, it is concluded that based on the characteristics of various computers developed from time to time, they are categories into five generations of computers. Let’s start to learn.

Five Generations of Computer

generations of computer


  • First Generation Computers (1942 – 1955): Vacuum Tube Technology was used.
  • Second Generation Computer (1956 – 1964): Transistor was used.
  • Third Generation Computers (1965 – 1975): Semi-Conductor technology was used.
  •  Fourth Generation Computers (1975 – Present): Using Microprocessor Technology.
  • Fifth Generation Computers (Present – Beyond): Based on Artificial Intelligence.

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A complete description of five generations of computers is as follows:

First Generation Computers (1942 – 1955)

The beginning of the commercial computer age is from the invention of UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer). It was designed and developed by the Census Department of the United State and invented by two scientists MAUCHLY AND ECKERT in 1947.

Vacuum Tubes

generations of computer

The first-generation computer was designed during 1942 – 1955. They were constructed by using Vacuum Tube, which was a glass (tube), capable to manage and amplifying electronic signals.


  • The first electronic component that was accessible during those days were Vacuum tubes
  • It is because of Vacuum tube technology that made it possible to develop an electronic digital computer
  • The calculation capabilities of these computers were in milliseconds


  • These computers were large in size
  • A large amount of energy was consumed
  • Due to a large number of vacuum tubes, these computers heated very soon
  • Not reliable or trustworthy
  • Air conditioning was required
  • Maintenance was required consistently
  • These computers were not portable
  • Their commercial production was very costly
  • Limited commercial use
  • Quite slow in speed
  • Limited programming capabilities
  • Cannot support languages other than machine language
  • Magnetic drums used to store data that provide less facility of data storage
  • Punch cards were used for input
  • Not versatile
  • Very faulty

Second Generation Computer (1956 – 1964)

generations of computer

In 1948, three scientists developed a transistor in Bell Laboratories. These scientists include J. Bardeen, H.W. Brattain, and W. Shockley. A transistor is a small device that transfers electronic signals across a resistor. The transistor was used in a computer by 1956 in second-generation computers.


  • Smaller in size as compared to the first generation of computers
  • More reliable
  • More energy efficient
  • Were not heated because of less energy
  • Wider commercial use
  • Better portability
  • Manipulate data in microseconds
  • Supports faster peripherals like tape drives, magnetic disks, and line printers,s, etc.
  • Assembly language is used instead of Machine language
  • Accuracy improved


  • Air conditioning was required
  • Constant maintenance was required
  • Commercial production was difficult
  • Also only used for specific purposes
  • Very costly
  • Not versatile
  • Punch cards were used for input

 Third Generation Computers (1965 – 1975)

generations of computer

The integrated circuit (IC) was developed by Jack Kilby in 1958. On a small silicon disc,  joint three electronic components. Scientists, later on, made it possible to fit even more components on a single chip. This chip was called a semiconductor.  The invention of semiconductors made computers become ever smaller as a result. The operating system was also produced at that time.


  • Size is reduced as compared to the previous generation
  • More reliable
  • Less energy used
  • Production of heat is reduced
  • More good speed, manipulate data in nanoseconds
  • For the purpose to discharge heat and to prevent from damaging, fans were used
  • Because of the low hardware failure rate, maintenance costs became reduced
  • Totally general purpose
  • Could be used for high-level languages
  • Good storage
  • Versatile to an extent
  • Less expensive
  • Better accuracy
  • Commercial production increased
  • Used Mouse, Keyboard for input


  • Air conditioning was required
  • The high complicated technology necessary for the manufacturing of IC chips

Fourth Generation Computers (1975 – Present)

generations of computer

In this generation, microprocessors were used. The microprocessor is a small chip that holds thousands of ICs on it. It really reduced the size of the computer.


  • Very small in size
  • Less power consumption
  • Less heat generated
  • Large fan for heat discharging and thus to keep cold
  • No air conditioning is required
  • Best speed to read instructions i.e one billion per second
  • Reliable and powerful
  • Totally general purpose
  • Commercial production
  • Less need for repairing
  • Cheapest among all generations
  • All types of high-level languages can be used in this type of computers


  • The high complicated technology necessary for the manufacturing of microprocessors

Fifth Generation Computers (Present – Beyond)

generations of computer

Scientists are now working on the 5th generation computers using current and modern engineering advances. Computers can recognize spoken word instructions and reproduce human reasoning. The fifth-generation computers also moderately make it possible to have the ability to translate a foreign language. Japan’s work is considered important in this direction, which has chosen PROLOG (Programming in logic) language as its operating system.

Scientists are working to increase the speed of the computer. They are trying to make it possible to build a computer with real IQ with the help of highly developed programming and technologies.


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