Fourth Generation of Computer

Fourth Generation of Computer

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Sep 15, 2023 14:32 IST

Computers changed again after third generation computers. This time it was in 1972 when the fourth generation computer was developed.


The fourth generation of computers was a big step forward, making computers faster, smaller, and cheaper. This generation of computers was using microprocessors, thus, making it possible for people to have their computers at home and work. In this article, we will discuss the fourth generation of computers.

You can also explore: Different Types Of Computer


What is a Fourth Generation of Computers?

Fourth-generation computers were released in 1972 after third-generation computers that used microprocessors. They used Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) circuits, also called microprocessors, which comprise many integrated circuits on a single chip. VLSI circuits contained about 5000 transistors capable of performing complex activities and computations. Fourth-generation computers were more adaptable, had more primary storage capacity, were faster and more reliable than previous generations, and were also portable, small, and required less electricity.

Intel was the first company to develop a microprocessor used in fourth-generation computers. Personal computers (PCs) were developed in this generation, which led to the popularity of computers and the personal computer revolution. Today, all computers are based on microprocessor technology, with memory and processor chips containing millions of transistors.

Integrated circuit technology has advanced from small-scale integration (SSI) to medium-scale integration (MSI) to very-large-scale integration (VLSI), which can integrate millions of components on a single chip. Fourth-generation computers used LSI chip technology and were incredibly powerful but also very small, which led to a societal revolution in the computer industry. This generation of computers had the first supercomputers, used complex programming languages like C, C++, DBASE, etc., and could perform many accurate calculations.

Here are the names of some of the fourth generation of computers:

  • PDP 11
  • DEC 10
  • CRAY-X-MP (Super Computer)

Features of Fourth Generation of Computer

Here are the features of fourth generation computer:

  • The outputs became more precise and consistent.
  • Handheld computers became more popular and cheaper.
  • The memory and storage devices available expanded dramatically.
  • Networking between computers was invented and became common.
  • Microcomputers became more affordable during this generation.
  • The processing power or speed of the computers increased significantly.
  • With the expansion of storage capacity, huge programs began to be used.
  • The hardware advancements improved the screen, paper, and other output.
  • Fourth-generation computers use microprocessors that contain VLSI (Very Large Scale Integrated) circuits.
  • Many high-level programming languages, such as BASIC, PASCAL, COBOL, FORTRAN, and C, were developed in this generation.

You can also explore: CPU vs GPU? What’s the Difference?

Advantages of Fourth Generation of Computer

Here are the advantages of fourth generation computers:

  • Fourth-generation computers were smaller and more dependable.
  • During this time, PCs became more inexpensive and widespread.
  • In this form of computer, any high-level language can be employed.
  • Fourth-generation computers were designed to be used for various purposes.
  • Fourth-generation computers are portable and less expensive than previous versions.
  • The development of fourth-generation computers was intended for commercial production.
  • Fourth-generation computers were significantly faster than previous generations of computers.
  • The fourth-generation computers generate very little heat and often do not require a cooling system.
  • Graphics User Interface (GUI) technology was used in this generation to provide users with better comfort.
  • Fourth-generation computers require less maintenance and repair time, reducing overall expenses.

You can also explore: What Is A Motherboard?

Disadvantages of Fourth-Generation of Computer

Here are the disadvantages of fourth-generation computers:

  • Fourth generation computers need a fan to cool them down.
  • Fourth generation computers use complex VLSI Chip chips, and VLSI Chip manufacturing requires advanced technology.
  • To build 4th generation computers, microprocessors were needed, and to develop those, high technical knowledge is needed.
  • To build 4th generation of computer, Integrated Circuits (ICs) were required to develop ICs, and cutting-edge technology was needed.

You can also explore: Learn About Different Types of Output Devices


Here’s the summary of all the data mentioned above:

  • Fourth-generation computers were used for various business, scientific research, and personal applications.
  • These computers used operating systems, such as Unix and MS-DOS, which made them more user-friendly and allowed for multitasking.
  • The fourth-generation computers were based on microprocessors, which made them faster, smaller, and more affordable than previous generations.
  • They used Large Scale Integration (LSI) and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) technology to pack more components onto a single chip, further reducing the size and cost of the computer.
  • Fourth-generation computers also introduced the concept of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), which replaced the command-line interface used in earlier computers.
Exploring the Evolution of Generations of Computers
Exploring the Evolution of Generations of Computers
Computers have gone through many changes over time. The first generation of computers started around 1940 and since then there have been five generations of computers until 2023. Computers more


What were the key advancements of the fourth generation of computers?

The fourth generation of computers introduced microprocessors, which allowed for greater processing power, miniaturization of hardware components, increased speed, improved reliability, and reduced costs.

How did the use of microprocessors impact computer technology?

The use of microprocessors, which are single-chip processors, revolutionized computer technology. It led to the development of smaller and more powerful computers that could perform complex calculations and handle various tasks more efficiently.

What were some notable features of fourth-generation computers?

Fourth-generation computers featured advancements such as higher processing speeds, improved memory capacity, graphical user interfaces (GUIs), networking capabilities, multitasking operating systems, and the emergence of personal computers.

How did the introduction of GUIs influence computing?

GUIs provide users with visual interfaces, icons, windows, and menus, making computers more user-friendly and enabling easier navigation and interaction. GUIs played a significant role in popularizing personal computers.

How does the fourth generation compare to modern computer technology?

While the fourth generation marked significant advancements, modern computer technology has evolved with even greater processing power, miniaturization, connectivity, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.

About the Author
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio