A personal computer (or "PC"), is a computing device intended for one user. When these devices first appeared, there was a question as to whether or not they would catch on or were a passing 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 (a hardware manufacturer) and Microsoft (a software provider). But the market is much more diverse now, with many hardware manufacturers, and 3 major [operating system]s:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple (their principle product, comprising both hardware and software, is the Macintosh, generally called the "Mac")
- Many 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 or even integrated GPU designed specifically for high end gaming
- A CPU that meets or exceeds the game engine's requirements
- Computer cooling systems, necessary for any modern computer, but especially important for any overclocked hardware. These systems vary greatly in sophistication from simple cooling fans to liquid cooled systems or even sophisticated refrigerator-like designs complete with liquid nitrogen and tubing for the transfer of heat.
- A motherboard 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 which supports the game's sometimes complex audio output