||What is a personal computer?
||It is a multi-purpose
information device that can be used
Personal computers are a
cheap, small type of computer.
Personal computers are also called PCs. (We will
use that term in this document.)
PCs may be small and cheap, but they are
basically all-purpose devices, and can be used
for a variety of purposes by changing the
software. A PC is a single device that can be a
word processor, a spreadsheet, a database, a
terminal for a mainframe, or perhaps sometimes a
tool for relaxing after work with a game or two.
This point - its wide applicability - makes the
PC greatly different from products such as
specialized wordprocessors or electronic
notebooks, which only have certain pre-defined
The performance of PCs is inferior to that of
traditional mainframes. However, while mainframes
are designed to be used by several users at once,
PCs are based on the premise that each user has
one PC for their personal use; this means that
the processing power available per user is far
higher for PCs.
However, when handling data that is shared
between several users, because processing from
those users will be concentrated on one machine,
in some cases PCs may lack sufficient
performance. In such cases, mainframe computers
are often used. Thus, it is difficult to say
which of the two is superior; the decision to use
a PC or a mainframe should be made based on the
However, because PCs and mainframes were
developed from completely different cultures,
their standards do not always agree. Thus, a
variety of problems appear when trying to make
them work together. One of the topics of this
document is in explaining the disparities between
them and giving solutions to those problems.