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

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

  • distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

SearchHealthIT

  • athenahealth Inc.

    Based in Watertown, Mass., athenahealth Inc. is a leading vendor of cloud-based EHRs for small to medium-sized physician ...

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is legislation passed in 2010 that changed how uninsured Americans enroll in and receive healthcare...

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

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

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

SearchStorage

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

  • Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta and all that

    Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta are among the list of prefixes used to denote the quantity of something, such as a byte ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 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.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

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