Generations of Computers

Learn about the 5 computer generations


There are five different generations of computers today. The first four generations were made in the past and the fifth generation is currently being made or was just released.

In this leaflet you will read about the five generations of computers.

1st Generation

Colossus (1946-1959)

The 1st generation of computers were huge in size and needed many people to operate it. The Colossus machine was invented by Tommy Flowers, a British engineer.

The main features of the first generation are:

  • Use of vacuum tubes (like a valve)
  • Big and clumsy
  • High electricity consumption which cause the computers to not function
  • Programming in Mechanical language
  • Very large A.C. needed
  • Lots of electricity failure occured

2nd Generation

Transistors (1959-1965)

The 1st generation of computers were developed and made into a new kind of computer called the 'Transistor'. This machine allowed 2 people to used and was more smaller in size.

The main features of the second generation are:

  • More reliable
  • Smaller size
  • Generated less heat
  • Programming in assembly language
  • A.C. needed
  • Cheaper
  • Consumed less energy
  • Faster than 1st generation computers
  • Added keyboards

3rd Generation

Integrated Circuits (1965-1971)

The 3rd generation of computers were called 'Integrated Circuits'. They are little chips which are put into a computer to store memory. At that time, computers were not as modern as today and used a 'Monochrome' monitor which only uses one colour (normally green).

The main features of the third generation are:

    • Power consumption was low
    • SSI (Small Scale Integration) was used
    • Small in size

    • Low cost

    • Low weight

    • Generates less heat

    4th Generation

    Microprocessors (1971-1980)

    The computer you are using to read this page uses a microprocessor to do its work. The microprocessor is the heart of any normal computer.

    The main features of the fourth generation are:

    • Small in size
    • Holds more memory
    • Can be programmed to do what you want it to do
    • Low weight
    Microprocessors are currently being used in computers today.

    5th Generation

    Artificial Intelligence (1980-onwards)

    There are many machines that have been made and that are currently being made that have 'Artificial Intelligence'.

    'Siri' is an intelligent personal assistant that is in 'Apple' devices. If you ask Siri something, it will answer back to you.