Computer Generations [1st Gen to 5th Gen]

Computer Generations

computer Generations: “Generation” in computer talk is a step in technology. It provides a framework for the growth of the computer industry. Originally, the term “Generation” was used to distinguish between varying hardware technologies but it has now been extended to include both hardware and software that together make up a computer system

The custom of referring to computer era in terms of generations came into wide use only after 1964. There are totally five generations known till today.

Below we describe each generation along with its identifying characteristics. Although there is a certain amount of overlap between different generations, the approximate period shown against each are normally accepted.

Five Generation of computer

Computer Generations are given below:

  • First Generation of computer
  • Second Generation of computer
  • Third Generation of computer
  • Fourth Generation of computer
  • Fifth Generation of computer

Generations of computer

Generation Period Key Hardware Technologies Key Software Technologies Key Characteristics Some Systems


Vacuum Tubes, Electromagnetic relays memory, punched cards Secondary Storage Machine and assembly languages, stored program concepts, mostly scientific applications. Bulky in size, highly unreliable, limited commercial use, commercial production difficult and costly, difficult to use.


Transistors, Magnetic Core Memory, Magnetic tapes and disks secondary storage Batch operating system, high-level programming languages, scientific and commercial applications Faster, smaller, more reliable, and easier to program than the previous generation systems, commercial production was still difficult and costly


ICs with SSI and MSI technologies, Large magnetic core memory, large capacity magnetic disks and tapes secondary storage, a microcomputer Timesharing operating system, standardization of high-level languages, unbundling of  software from hardware Faster, smaller, more reliable, easier and cheaper to produce commercially, easier  to use and easier to upgrade than previous generation systems, scientific, commercial and  interactive online applications IBM 360


PDP 11

CDC 6600



ICs with VLSI technology, Microprocessor, semiconductor memory, large capacity hard disks as in-built secondary storage, magnetic tapes and floppy disks as portable storage media, personal computers, a spread of high-speed computer networks operating systems for PCs, GUI, multiple windows on a single terminal screen, UNIX operating system, C programming languages, PC based applications, network-based applications Small, affordable, reliable and easy to use PCs, more powerful and reliable mainframe systems, general purpose machines, easier to produce commercially IBM PC and its clones

Apple II,


VAX 9000




ICs with ULSI technology, large capacity main memory, large capacity hard disks, optical disks as portable read-only storage media, powerful desktop PCs and workstations, very powerful mainframes, the internet World Wide Web, multimedia applications, Internet-based applications A portable computer, more powerful, cheaper, reliable, and easier to use desktop computer, very powerful mainframe, very high uptime due to hot-pluggable components, general purpose machines, easier to produce commercially. IBM notebooks

Pentium PCS

SUN Workstations


PARAM 10000

If you want to Read Full Details of five Generations of the computer then scroll below:

First Generation of computer

Second Generation of computer

Third Generation of computer

Fourth Generation of computer

Fifth Generation of computer