A personal computer (often called a "PC"), is a computing device intended for one user. When they first appeared, there was a question as to whether or not they would catch on or were a fad. Those who recognized the potential of personal computers turned out to be right, and one of the world's largest organizations, Microsoft, and the world's richest man Bill Gates, accomplished what they have in business because of personal computers.
For a long time the personal computer market was dominated by IBM (hardware) and Microsoft (software). But the market is much more diverse now, with many hardware manufacturers, and 3 major [operating system] vendors:
- Microsoft (with various versions of their Windows operating system)
- Apple (their principle product, comprising both hardware and software, is the Macintosh, generally called the "Mac")
- Several varieties of Linux.
The terms "PC" and "IBM PC" used to be nearly synonymous. But the term is much more general at present. The connotation of small "personal" size has diminished over the years, as ever more powerful computers could be put into small packages. Nowadays the term "PC" is commonly used to denote any general-purpose computer other than enormous supercomputers. The reason is just conciseness—"PC" is two syllables and two letters. "Computer" is 3 syllables and 8 letters.
As a gaming platform
The The increasing power and capabilities of video game consoles can often be met and even exceeded with various forms of aftermarket PC hardware such as:
- An aftermarket GPU designed specifically for high end gaming.
- A CPU that meets or exceeds software publisher system requirements.
- A Computer cooling system, recommended for any overclocked hardware. This varies greatly in sophistication from a larger cooling fan to a sophisticated refrigerator-like system complete with liquid nitrogen and tubing for the transfer of heat.
- A motherboard (mo-bo) capable of supporting existing and future hardware (some past motherboards fail to support PCI Express hardware). Upgrading hardware reduces E-waste generation and the effects of planned obsolescence.
- A sound card that meets or exceeds software publisher system requirements.