A personal computer (PC) is any
general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original
sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is
intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no
intervening computer operator.|
As of 2009, a personal computer may be a desktop computer, a
laptop computer or a tablet computer. The most common operating
systems for personal computers are Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and
Linux, while the most common microprocessors are x86-compatible
CPUs, ARM architecture CPUs and PowerPC CPUs. Software
applications for personal computers include word processing,
spreadsheets, databases, Web browsers and E-mail clients, games,
and myriad personal productivity and special-purpose software.
Modern personal computers often have high-speed or dial-up
connections to the Internet, allowing access to the World Wide
Web and a wide range of other resources.
A PC may be a home computer, or may be found in an office, often
connected to a local area network (LAN). This is in contrast to
the batch processing or time-sharing models which allowed large
expensive systems to be used by many people, usually at the same
time, or large data processing systems which required a
full-time staff to operate efficiently.
While early PC owners usually had to write their own programs to
do anything useful with the machines, today's users have access
to a wide range of commercial and non-commercial software which
is provided in ready-to-run form. Since the 1980s, Microsoft and
Intel have been dominating much of the personal computer market
with the Wintel platform.