Generation of Computer 1st to 5th

Here, in this article, we will discuss the generation of computer 1st to 5th. We know that the computer was developed at the beginning of the 16th century. With each generation of computer, it was equipped with more power and more features resulting into the different advantages of computers.

The era of computers is divided into five parts:

First Generation1940-1956Vacuum Tube
Second Generation1956-1963Transistor
Third Generation1964-1971IC Chip
Fourth Generation1972-1989Microprocessor
Fifth Generation1989-PresentArtificial Intelligent
Generation of Computer 1st to 5th

First Generation of Computer

The beginning of the first generation of computers is considered to be 1940 – 1945. The first-generation computers used vacuum tubes or thermionic valves. These tubes were of huge size. It was complicated to write programs in it. These computers were used only for storing data and viewing it when required.

Some of the first-generation computers are – ENIAC, EDVAC, EDSAC, UNIVAC, etc.

Generation of Computer 1st to 5th
By User:Manop – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The following are the main features of first-generation computers–

  • Vacuum tubes were used as the main electronic components.
  • Magnetic drums and magnetic tape were used as the main memory.
  • Used to consume a lot of electricity due to which more heat was generated.
  • Computers were very large in size (often taking up entire rooms) and slow.
  • Punch cards and paper tape were used as input/output devices.
  • Machine language was used as the programming language.

Second Generation of Computers

Transistors were used in second-generation computers. The period of second-generation computers is considered to be from 1956 to 1964. The credit for the development of this type of computer is given to the team led by William Shockley who was a native of America. In computers of this generation, magnetic core memory was used to keep the data safe.

Some of the second-generation computers are – UNIVAC 1108, IBM 7094, CDC 3600/1604, and HONEYWELL 400.

The following are the main features of second-generation computers-

  • The transistor came into use as the main electronic component.
  • Magnetic core and magnetic tape/disk were the main memory.
  • Assembly language was used to write instructions.
  • Improvements in speed and reliability compared to first-generation computers.
  • Punch cards and magnetic tape were used for input/output.
  • Compared to first-generation computers, they consumed less power, generated less heat, and were smaller in size.

Third Generation of Computers

The period of third-generation computers is considered between 1964 and 1971. In third-generation computers, Integrated circuits (ICs) were used instead of transistors which were developed by Jack Kilby in the year 1958. Operating System (OS) was used to operate this generation of computers. 

Some examples of third-generation computers are – IBM 360/370, Honeywell-6000, PDP-11, etc.

The following are the main features of third-generation computers-

  • Integrated circuits (ICs) began to be used as the main electronic components.
  • The large magnetic core and the magnetic tape/disk were the main memory.
  • Speed ​​and reliability improved greatly from the first two generations.
  • The maintenance cost of third-generation computers was also lower.
  • The programming languages ​​used were FORTRAN, BASIC, Pascal, COBOL, C, etc.
  • The computer system of the third-generation computers was simpler for business use.

Fourth Generation of Computers

The tenure of Fourth Generation computers is considered from 1971 to 1985. Microprocessors were used in computers of this generation. In these computers, high-level languages are used like – C, C++, Java, and Visual Basic.

Some examples of fourth-generation computers are – DEC 10, IBM 4341, STAR 1000, ZX-Spectrum, Macintosh, etc.

The following are the main features of fourth-generation computers-

  • Fourth-generation computers used Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits.
  • The production cost was very low, which made it available to the common people as well.
  • Computer programs started being written in programming languages ​​like C, Java, JavaScript, Kotlin, etc.
  • Keyboard, monitor, and printer are used for input and output devices.
  • Fourth-generation computers became portable.
  • Semiconductor memory like RAM, ROM, etc. was being used.
  • Improve speed, accuracy, and reliability.

Fifth Generation of Computers

Fifth-generation computers were equipped with modern systems whose tenure is going on from 1985 till now. These computers are equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI). High-level languages ​​are used in computers of this generation like – C, C++, java, python, etc. Computers of this generation are used in every field such as education, industry, technology, and subjects related to daily work.

Some examples of fifth-generation computers are -Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Smartphones, etc.

The following are the main features of Fifth generation computers-

  • Fifth-generation computers are based on Ultra Large-Scale Integration (ULSI) technology.
  • This computer generation consumes less power and produces less heat.
  • Capable of understanding natural language (human language).
  • Fifth-generation computers had a higher capacity and larger memory capacity.
  • Significant improvements in speed, accuracy, and reliability compared to fourth-generation computers.
  • Working with computers of this generation was fast and multiple tasks could be done simultaneously.


In this article, we learned about the Generation of Computer 1st to 5th. We found that the computer generation tells us about the changes in computer development and technology. It is known that the world is moving towards extreme modernity as compared to earlier when we get to see its many benefits. At the same time, it also has many disadvantages.

Hopefully, through this post Generation of Computers, you must have come to know about all five generations of computers very well.

Generation of Computers

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