A personal computer is meant to be used directly by an end user, without the intervention of a qualified computer technician. This is in contrast to servers that allow large and expensive mainframe systems to be used by many users, usually at the same time. Or with the computer systems for the processing of large databases, requiring the efficient work of a team of technicians employed full time.
A personal computer may be a desktop PC, a laptop, a netbook, tablet PC or a handheld. It can be used at home, in the office or on the road.
Personal computer should be, in the original meaning of the term, any computer that has been designed for use single user, that is, by only one person at a time (as opposed for example to mainframes, with which whole groups of people simultaneously access through remote terminals).
Nowadays, the term personal computer has been customary to indicate a specific band in the IT market, that of the computer for private use, home, office or for small business. In some cases, personal computer or PC is used with a meaning even more specific, but restricted to the range of IBM compatible machines. In fact, in more technical jargon, contrasts with PC to Mac meaning, in the first case, a computer (IBM compatible) with Windows operating system and in the second case, an Apple computer on which then turns the Mac operating system.
The progressive flattening technology, which depends on performance characteristics of the personal computer towards the server and mini computers, often make it difficult placement of a computer within the canonical classifications (super computers, mainframes, mini computers, servers, personal computer).
The architecture of the personal computer is now able to be scalable, if necessary, and grouped into clusters allowing you to achieve functionality and performance comparable to mainframes and supercomputers.
With the same flexibility, the personal computer can be replaced with specific embedded technologies designed for specific applications and replace the functionality by means of special software.
Personal computers are also an integral part of the most modern automated plants at every level in the field of industrial, medical, utilities and services, replacing most of the electronics developed in portrait mode.