The first generation of computers was marked by the use of electronic components known as vacuum tubes or thermionic values for circuitry and magnetic drums for memory. It ranges from the 1940s to the mid-1950s.
These types of computers were enormous, expensive, consumed a lot of power, and emitted a lot of heat which was often the cause of malfunctions. Punched cards were used for data input and the output was given in form of printouts.
Some examples of computers of the First Generation are: Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC), Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC), Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC), IBM-701 and IBM-650
- Vacuum tubes were used as the only electronic components available during those days.
- Vacuum tube technology made it possible to make electronic digital computers.
- These computers could calculate data in milliseconds.
- These computers were very huge due to the big size of vacuum tubes.
- They were very expensive.
- They consumed a lot of electricity, heated very soon due to thousands of vacuum tubes, and therefore, required a large cooling system.
- They generated a lot of heat which resulted in frequent breakdowns and then, required constant maintenance.
- They used magnetic drums which provide a small data storage.
- They used punched cards for data input.
- They were unreliable and non-portable.
- They were slow.
- They had limited programming capabilities.
- They used machine language only.
- They were not versatile and very faulty.