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What is Fourth Generation of Computer?
The 4th generation computer was the remarkable enhancement in computer technology that spanned from 1971 to 1980. The main features of fourth-generation computers were based on the use of microprocessors that were the extended version of the 3rd generation of computers.
In these computers, the microprocessor was used that allowed for thousands of integrated circuits to be embedded onto a one silicon chip that led to the development of microcomputers. Fourth-generation computers were used VLSI technology that allowed for the integration of thousands of transistors onto a single chip.
Also Read: Fifth Generation of Computer with Examples
They were smaller, more reliable, and faster as compared to previous generations, with larger primary storage capacity. Fourth-generation computers were made for general-purpose use and were commercially produced. They were supported a large range of high-level programming languages that making software development more accessible.
Fourth-generation computers were used for data management, report generation, software development, GUI development, web development, research, handheld computers, networking, and general-purpose computing.
‘4th Generation Computer’ Tutorial Headlines:
In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:
- What is Fourth Generation of Computer?
- Brief History of 4th Generation Computer
- Fourth Generation of Computer Examples
- Architecture of Fourth Generation Computers
- Applications of 4th Generation Computers
- Features of 4th Generation of Computers
- Advantages of 4th Generation Computers
- Disadvantages of 4th Generation Computers
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Who invented the fourth generation computer?
- What are 4th generation computers based on?
- When was the fourth generation computer used?
- Which fourth generation computer used microprocessor?
Let’s Get Started!!
Brief History of 4th Generation Computer
The period of the fourth generation was from 1971 to 1991. Here is a brief history of the fourth generation of computers:
- The fourth generation of computers was characterized by the use of microprocessors and very large-scale integration (VLSI) technology, which allowed for smaller and more powerful computers.
- The first microprocessor was developed by Intel in 1971, which paved the way for the development of microcomputers.
- The first personal computer, the Micral, was produced in 1975 by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems.
- Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984 based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, which eventually became commercially successful.
- 4th generation computers became more powerful, compact, reliable, and affordable. As a result, it gave rise to the Personal Computer (PC) revolution.
- In this generation computers, time-sharing, real-time networks, distributed operating systems were utilised. All the high-level languages like C, C++, DBASE, etc., were used in this generation.
Fourth Generation of Computer Examples
These examples of 4th generation computers are designed with microprocessor technology and the utilized the Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits that allowed for smaller and more powerful computers in the fourth generation.
Micral: Micral is considered to be the first personal computer based on a microprocessor.
IBM 5100: IBM 5100 was a portable computer introduced in 1975.
Altair 8800: Altair 8800 was a microcomputer kit released in 1975.
IBM 4341: IBM 4341 was a mainframe computer introduced in 1979.
DEC 10: DEC 10 was a mainframe computer introduced in 1970.
STAR 1000: STAR 1000 was a supercomputer introduced in the 1970s.
PUP 11: PUP 11 was a minicomputer introduced in the 1970s.
CRAY-X-MP: CRAY-X-MP was a supercomputer introduced in the 1980s.
CRAY-1: CRAY-1 was a supercomputer introduced in the 1970s.
Apple II: The Apple II is indeed an example of a fourth-generation computer. It was a family of home computers that was launched in 1977 and designed primarily by Steve Wozniak.
VAX 9000: The VAX 9000 was a family of mainframes developed and manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) using custom ECL-based processors implementing the VAX instruction set architecture (ISA).
Architecture of Fourth Generation Computers
The architecture of fourth-generation computers was specified by various key features and components. Here are the major aspects of the architecture as following them:
Microprocessor: Fourth-generation computers were based on microprocessors, which are integrated circuits that contain the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer. The microprocessor performed the arithmetic and logical operations required by computer programs.
Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI): Fourth-generation computers utilized VLSI technology, which allowed for the integration of thousands of transistors onto a single microchip. This resulted in smaller and more powerful computers.
Memory: Fourth-generation computers used semiconductor memory, such as RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read-Only Memory). These memory types provided faster access to data compared to previous generations.
Input/Output (I/O) Devices: Fourth-generation computers were equipped with various I/O devices, including keyboards, monitors, printers, and magnetic tape drives. These devices allowed users to input data into the computer and receive output.
Programming Languages: Fourth-generation computers supported a mix of both third- and fourth-generation programming languages. Third-generation languages, such as COBOL and FORTRAN, were still used, but fourth-generation languages, like SQL and BASIC, became more prevalent.
Size and Power Consumption: Fourth-generation computers were smaller in size compared to previous generations. They also consumed less power and generated less heat, making them more efficient.
Applications of 4th Generation Computers
Data Management: Fourth-generation computers were used for data management like as storing, organizing, and retrieving data.
Report Generation: Fourth-generation computers were used to generate reports, including financial reports, sales reports, and inventory reports.
Software Development: Fourth-generation computers were used for software development, including the development of operating systems, applications, and games.
GUI Development: Fourth-generation computers were used for the development of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), which made computers more user-friendly.
Web Development: Fourth-generation computers were used for web development, including the development of websites and web applications.
Handheld Computers: Fourth-generation computers were used to develop handheld computers, which became more popular and affordable.
Networking: Fourth-generation computers were used for networking between systems, which became commonplace.
General-Purpose Computing: Fourth-generation computers were designed to be used for a wide range of purposes, including general-purpose computing.
Portable Computing: Fourth-generation computers were portable and less expensive than previous versions, making them more accessible to a wider range of users.
Multimedia: Fourth-generation computers had limited multimedia capabilities compared to modern computers, but they were still used for multimedia applications, including audio and video editing.
Features of 4th Generation of Computers
Fourth generation computers have various key features and characteristics, including:
Microprocessors: Integration of entire CPU on a single microprocessor chip.
Miniaturization: Computers became smaller, more compact, and portable.
Increased Processing Power: Microprocessors led to significant improvements in computing power and efficiency.
Affordable and Accessible: Widespread use of microprocessors made computers more affordable and accessible to a broader range of users.
Bus Architecture: Adoption of bus architectures like ISA for connecting components and peripherals.
Expansion Slots: Motherboards featured expansion slots for adding hardware components and peripherals.
Operating Systems: MS-DOS and other operating systems provided command-line interfaces.
Memory: Usage of RAM and ROM for temporary data storage and system instructions.
Input and Output: Support for various input and output devices like keyboards, monitors, and printers.
Graphics and Sound: Improved graphics and sound capabilities for multimedia applications.
Networking: Emergence of networking capabilities with LAN cards and modems.
Customization: Users could customize and enhance computer capabilities through expansion options.
Early Gaming: Introduction of gaming consoles with advanced graphics and sound.
Workstations: Powerful computers designed for professional and technical applications.
System Integration: Integration of components facilitated streamlined and efficient architectures.
Standardization: Open architecture of computers like IBM PC led to standardized platforms.
Growth of Software: Wide range of software development for various applications.
Transition to GUI: Transition from command-line interfaces to early graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
What are the Advantage and Disadvantages of Fourth Generation Computers?
Here, we will provide you comprehensive overview of the advantages and disadvantages of fourth-generation computers as following them:
Advantages of 4th Generation Computers
Increased Processing Power: Microprocessors led to significant improvements in computing power and performance.
Miniaturization: Computers became smaller, more compact, and portable.
Affordability: Widespread use of microprocessors made computers more affordable and accessible to a broader range of users.
Energy Efficiency: Microprocessors were more energy-efficient compared to earlier computer architectures.
Integration: Integration of CPU and other components onto a single chip simplified design and assembly.
Standardization: Open architecture, as seen in the IBM PC, led to standardized platforms and compatibility.
Expansion Options: Motherboards featured expansion slots, allowing users to customize and enhance system capabilities.
Multimedia Capabilities: Improved graphics and sound capabilities enabled multimedia applications and entertainment.
Networking: Introduction of networking capabilities with LAN cards and modems facilitated communication and data sharing.
Diverse Applications: Computers were used for a wide range of applications, from personal productivity to professional tasks.
User-Friendly Interfaces: Transition from command-line interfaces to early GUIs improved user interaction.
Software Development: Growth of software industry led to the development of various applications and programs.
Early Gaming: Fourth-generation computers supported early gaming consoles, contributing to the gaming industry.
Workstations: Powerful workstations were used for technical and professional tasks, improving productivity.
Easier Maintenance: Integrated designs and standardized components simplified maintenance and troubleshooting.
Increased Accessibility: Affordable and compact computers brought computing to homes, schools, and workplaces.
Educational Use: Fourth-generation computers were used for educational purposes and programming training.
Scientific Research: Enhanced computing power supported scientific research, simulations, and data analysis.
Disadvantages of 4th Generation Computers
Limited Memory: Despite advancements, memory capacities were still relatively small compared to modern standards.
Processing Constraints: Processing power, while improved, was significantly lower than what is available in later generations.
Limited Graphics: Graphics capabilities were basic, restricting advanced graphical applications.
Lack of Portability: While smaller, computers were not as portable as modern laptops and mobile devices.
Limited Software Compatibility: Different computer models had varying software compatibility due to hardware differences.
Limited Networking Speed: Early networking capabilities were relatively slow compared to modern standards.
Lack of Multitasking: Multitasking capabilities were limited, hindering concurrent execution of multiple tasks.
Complex Interfaces: Early GUIs were basic and less intuitive compared to modern graphical interfaces.
Dependency on Hardware Expansion: Adding new hardware often required opening the computer and installing components manually.
Limited Storage: Storage capacities were much smaller than what is available in modern storage devices.
Maintenance Challenges: Troubleshooting and repairing integrated components on microprocessor chips was challenging.
Heat Dissipation: Microprocessors generated heat, requiring cooling mechanisms to prevent overheating.
Compatibility Issues: Not all software was optimized for the new microprocessor-based architecture.
Transition Period: Transition from older computer architectures to microprocessors caused some software and hardware disruptions.
Security Limitations: Security features were less advanced, making computers more vulnerable to attacks.
Limited Connectivity: Connectivity options for peripherals and devices were more limited compared to modern standards.
Resource-Intensive Applications: Resource-intensive applications could still be slow due to processing and memory limitations.
Learning Curve: Users had to adapt to new interfaces and functionalities with the shift to microprocessor-based systems.
Reliability Concerns: As with any emerging technology, there were reliability concerns related to early microprocessors.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Who invented the fourth generation computer?
The fourth generation of computers was not the invention of a single individual but rather a culmination of technological advancements during the period of 1971-1980; and involving various engineers, researchers, and companies.
What are 4th generation computers based on?
Fourth-generation computers were based on microprocessors, which were the extended version of the third generation of computers; as well as these computers used VLSI circuits.
When was the fourth generation computer used?
The fourth generation of computers was used during the period of 1971-1980
Which fourth generation computer used microprocessor?
Examples of microprocessors used in fourth-generation computers include the Intel 8088, Intel 8086, Intel 80286, and MOS Technology 6502, among others.
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