What is a PC? The acronym "PC" stands for personal computer, but the term "PC" implies so much more than that.
A PC is an IBM-based system.
When you're talking computers, you've got two types of systems: PC and Mac. A PC is an IBM-based personal computer, typically running Windows. Mac machines are built by Apple, and they run Mac's proprietary software. If you're not using a Mac, you're using a PC.
Unlike a Mac, a PC can consist of a broad range of PC components and operating systems. IBM created the original PC back in the early 1980s, and PCs followed the IBM style and architecture for years after that.
PC components vary widely.
The term "PCs" typically refers to desktop PCs. Laptops can also be PCs, but generally people use the term "laptop" or "notebook" to describe a laptop. The major difference between desktop PCs and Mac machines is that desktop PCs are made by a variety of manufacturers, and they consist of a broad range of PC components. You can build custom PCs with individual components from different manufacturers, or you can buy PCs from several different manufacturers, including Hewlett Packard, Dell, Toshiba, Sony or Compaq.
Mac computers, on the other hand, are manufactured only by Apple and run only the Mac operating system. You won't find a broad configuration of Mac computers. You can order a custom system to a limited degree, but you have to go through Apple to do it.
PCs tend to be less expensive than Mac computers.
With all the PC manufacturers out there, you've got a variety of options. You can choose from entry-level desktop PCs all the way up to power systems consisting of high-end hardware. Mac, on the other hand, starts at the same price as a high-end PC because Mac has no competition. If you're looking for a cost-effective desktop computer, PCs easily defeat Macs.
The PC is just the computer.
When people refer to a "personal computer" or "desktop PCs," they may use the term to describe all of the PC components, but that isn't technically what it means. A computer is the tower itself; the case that contains the hard drive, memory and processor. The other PC components, such as the monitor, keyboard and mouse are technically not a part of the personal computer, and they aren't really covered when people refer to a PC.
PCs use non-Mac operating systems.
Mac computers use Mac operating systems. PCs, on the other hand, can run any operating system other than the Mac OS, depending on the operating system. You can technically run Windows Vista, Linux or a proprietary operating system on a PC, and all of them would still be considered personal computers. In fact, Microsoft and Apple have taken such ownership of the PC and Mac style computers that they began advertising campaigns in which their respective users claim "I'm a Mac" or "I'm a PC" to identify their allegiance to their respective computer style.
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