an IBM PC (Personal Computer)

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introduction

The PC (Personal Computer) is a general purpose computer. This is the kind found in homes and offices around the world. There are about a billion PCs in the world. No, really, I counted.

The most popular kind of PC is one based on an old IBM design, containing an Intel processor and running Microsoft Windows.

IBM created the design but pretty much every company and his dog have created PC parts to go inside an IBM PC. All these parts are called IBM PC compatible hardware. Entire PCs created by other companies are called IBM PC clones.

what it is

The PC (Personal Computer) is a general purpose computer. This is the kind found in homes and offices around the world. There are about a billion PCs in the world. No, really, I counted.

The most popular kind of PC is one based on an old IBM design, containing an Intel processor and running Microsoft Windows.

IBM created the design but pretty much every company and his dog have created PC parts to go inside an IBM PC. All these parts are called IBM PC compatible hardware.

A desktop computer, more than any other IT device, is the new holy icon of Internet religion. Like a shrine at the side a road in a Catholic country, a desktop PC is the altar which receives the prayers of the hacker faithful.

a desktop PC

a desktop PC
computer
video monitor
keyboard
base unit
mouse

A PC that permanently sits on someone's desk, as opposed to one that is stacked on top of many others on a shelf in a data center, is called a desktop computer. Most PCs in offices are desktop computers.

What you see when you look at a desktop PC are four pieces of hardware. The KVM (Keyboard, Video monitor and Mouse) set allow control of the base unit. A bunch of cables connect them together and connect the base unit to a power supply and a network.

KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse)

KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) is the interface between a person and an IBM PC. This set of three pieces of hardware is attached to one base unit.

A really old PC has a DIN5 connector for the keyboard (a big round socket with five pin holes). This is called AT after an old design name. It also has a DB-9 connector for the mouse (a D-shaped socket with nine pin holes). This kind of mouse socket is also called RS-232 (after the standard) or serial (after the type of signal).

An old PC has two mini-DIN6 connectors (small round sockets with six pin holes) for the keyboard and mouse. These were called PS/2.

A new PC has rectangular USB sockets for the keyboard and mouse. It usually also has PS/2 connectors for neanderthals.

a base unit

The base unit is the big case made of steel and plastic. All old cases were painted beige. Newer ones are often silver or black. Cases come in different shapes and sizes.

  • A case that stands vertically is called a tower.
  • A horizontally arranged case is called a desktop.

An old base unit can weigh more than 10 kilograms.

what it isn't

Really by IBM. I keep forgetting to use the word "clone".

where it is

On desks and in landfill all over the world.

There are 60 million rats in Great Britain, and 60 million people. Are there also 60 million PCs?

history

In the 1970s a PC was known as a microcomputer, a name from the 1970s when microcomputer, minicomputer and mainframe were metaphors for small, medium and large. No-one ever made a macrocomputer or a megacomputer. It's a shame Starbucks wasn't around in those days. We could have had tall, grande and venti computers.

In 1981 IBM released model 5150 and the IBM PC was born.