Browse Definitions:
Definition

personal computer (PC)

Contributor(s): Reg Harbeck

In its more general usage, a personal computer (PC) is a microcomputer designed for use by one person at a time. Prior to the PC, computers were designed for (and only affordable by) companies who attached terminals for multiple users to a single large computer whose resources were shared among all users. The advent of the era of the personal computer was acknowledged by Time magazine in 1982, when they broke with tradition by choosing the PC as their "Man of the Year." By the late 1980s, technology advances made it feasible to build a small computer that an individual could own and use.

The term "PC" has been traditionally used to describe an "IBM-compatible" personal computer in contradistinction to an Apple Macintosh computer. The distinction is both technical and cultural and harkens back to the early years of personal computers, when IBM and Apple were the two major competitors. Originally, the "IBM-compatible" PC was one with an Intel microprocessor architecture and an operating system such as DOS or Windows that written to use that microprocessor. The Apple Macintosh uses a Motorola microprocessor architecture and a proprietary operating system. The "IBM-compatible" PC was associated with business and use, while the "Mac," known for its more intuitive user interface, was associated with graphic design and desktop publishing. Although the distinctions have become less clear-cut in recent years, people often still categorize a personal computer as either a PC or a Mac.

According to Michael Dell, there were 240 million PCs sold worldwide in 2005.

Get the latest Dell Coupons at Brighthand.com.

This was last updated in January 2011

Continue Reading About personal computer (PC)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

This really is a wonderful article. Have a look at this one with about what is a computer and some interesting facts about computers. http://www.byte-notes.com/what-computer
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • Web application firewall (WAF)

    A Web application firewall (WAF) is a firewall that monitors, filters or blocks traffic to and from a Web application. WAFs are ...

  • MD5

    The MD5 hashing algorithm is a one-way cryptographic function that accepts a message of any length as input and returns as output...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • secondary storage

    Secondary storage is used to protect inactive data written from a primary storage array to a nonvolatile tier of disk, flash or ...

  • VRAM (video ram)

    VRAM (video RAM) is a reference to any type of random access memory (RAM) used to store image data for a computer display.

  • ZFS

    ZFS is a local file system and logical volume manager created by Sun Microsystems to control the placement, storage and retrieval...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close