personal computer

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personal computer

personal computer (PC), small but powerful computer primarily used in an office or home without the need to be connected to a larger computer. PCs evolved after the development of the microprocessor made possible the hobby-computer movement of the late 1970s, when some computers were built from components or kits. In the early 1980s the first low-cost, fully assembled units were mass-marketed. The typical configuration consists of a video display, keyboard, mouse, logic unit and memory, storage device and, often, a modem; multimedia computers add a sound-reproduction adapter, stereo speakers, and a compact disc (CD-ROM) drive to this configuration so that material can be presented in a combination of animation, graphics, sound, text, and video. Decreases in component size have made it possible to build portable PCs, or laptops, the size of a ream of paper and smaller, and palmtops, which can be held in one hand. Most current PCs have more computing power, memory, and storage than the large mainframe computers of the 1950s and early 60s. As the speed and power of the complex instruction set computer (CISC) processors used to power PCs have reached levels previously reserved for the reduced instruction set processors (see RISC processor) used in workstations, the distinction between PCs and workstations has blurred. PCs equipped with networking and communications hardware are often used as computer terminals. See also network; personal digital assistant.

Bibliography

See K. A. Jamsa, Welcome to Personal Computers (3d ed. 1995); J. Preston and M. Hirschl, Personal Computing (1997).

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personal computer

[′pər·sən·əl kəm′pyüd·ər]
(computer science)
A computer for home or personal use.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

personal computer

a small inexpensive computer used in word processing, playing computer games, etc.
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

personal computer

(computer)
(PC) A general-purpose single-user microcomputer designed to be operated by one person at a time.

This term and the concept has been successfully hijacked by IBM due to the huge market share of the IBM PC, despite its many obvious weaknesses when compared to other equally valid claimants to the term, e.g. the Acorn Archimedes, Amiga, Atari, Macintosh.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

personal computer

(1) Generically, a computer that someone uses; for example, "this is my personal computer."

(2) Technically, a single user computer. A personal computer is also called a "client" and is either a desktop computer or laptop computer. Although it performs the same functions, tablets and smartphones are generally not called a personal computer, although the smartphone has become the most personal of all computers. Windows PCs, Macs and Chromebooks make up the lion's share of desktop and laptop computers, with Linux a distant fourth.

The personal computer term was very popular in the 1980s when computers were purchased for home use for the first time. The term is still used but more infrequently. For a brief history of personal computers, see personal computer timeline. See Windows, Mac computer, Linux and tablet.
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