Third Generation of Computers

Third Generation of Computers

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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 15:10 IST

In the evolution of computing technology, the third generation marked a significant leap forward. The third generation of computers was much faster and more powerful than the first and second generations of computers.


The third generation of computers brought forth a new wave of affordability and accessibility in computing. These were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s and used small electronic parts called transistors and integrated circuits. These new parts were much better than earlier computers' bulky and unreliable vacuum tubes.

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Table of Content

What is a Third Generation of Computers?

Between the years 1964 and 1971, the third generation of computers emerged. The advent of microchips, a single piece of silicon (now know as - microchip or integrated circuit) that could house an entire circuit, revolutionized the industry and made the third generation possible. 

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This breakthrough led to the creation of smaller and cheaper computers that were much faster than the older computers. As a result, computers became more affordable, and more people began to show interest in programming and technology. This led to further advancements in computer programming and hardware.

With computational times slashed from microseconds to nanoseconds, the third generation of computers introduced new input devices such as the mouse and keyboard, which replaced the cumbersome punch cards of the past.

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This era also saw the development of groundbreaking operating systems that supported multiprogramming and time-sharing, optimizing the use of computing resources and paving the way for remote processing—a feature that allowed computers to be accessed from different locations.

Programming languages, such as C, Pascal, COBOL, and FORTRAN, became increasingly popular. Magnetic storage also became more prevalent, offering a more efficient means of data storage and retrieval.

Characteristics of the 3rd Generation of Computers

  • Introduced new input devices like the mouse and keyboard.
  • Much faster computational time compared to previous generations.
  • Magnetic storage became more widely used, providing a more efficient way to store data.
  • Popular programming languages such as C, Pascal, COBOL, and FORTRAN were developed.
  • Remote processing was introduced, which allowed computers to be accessed from other locations.
  • Introduced new operating systems such as multiprogramming and time-sharing, allowing for more efficient use of resources.
  • Used smaller and more efficient electronic parts such as transistors and integrated circuits, allowing for more powerful and cheaper computers.

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Here's a video that encapsulates all the key milestones of the third generation of computers, giving you the highlights of this transformative era in a nutshell:

Advantages of the 3rd Generation of Computers

  • More cost-effective and widely used
  • More accurate than previous generations
  • The use of integrated circuits made them more reliable
  • Low maintenance costs due to rare hardware failure
  • Used for general purposes with a high storage capacity
  • Smaller in size and required less space than previous generations
  • It did not require as much energy to operate or produce as much heat

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Disadvantages of the 3rd Generation of Computers

  • It isn’t easy to maintain integrated circuit chips.
  • Advanced technology was needed to manufacture IC chips.
  • Formal training was necessary to operate third-gen computers.
  • Third-gen computers still needed air conditioning even though they produced less heat.


In this article, we have explored the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of 3rd generation of computers in great detail. If you have any queries related to the topic, please feel free to send your queries to us in the form of a comment. We will be happy to help.

Happy Learning!!

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What were the main components used in third-generation computers?

Third-generation computers used transistors as the main electronic components. They also employed magnetic core memory, providing faster and more reliable data storage than previous generations.

How were third-generation computers different from second-generation computers?

Third-generation computers were smaller, faster, and more reliable than their second-generation counterparts. They also consumed less power and produced less heat, increasing efficiency.

What were some notable examples of third-generation computers?

Notable examples of third-generation computers include the IBM System/360, DEC PDP-8, and CDC 6600. These computers were widely used in industries, government organizations, and research institutions.

Were third-generation computers commercially successful?

Yes, third-generation computers were commercially successful and marked a significant milestone in the computer industry. They were widely adopted by businesses and organizations, leading to increased computerization across various sectors.

How does the third generation of computers compare to the current generation?

The third generation of computers was a significant advancement in its time, but it is far less powerful and less capable than modern computers. Current generations feature microprocessors, integrated circuits, storage, networking, and software advancements.

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