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History

Several revolutionary inventions would later pave the way to the modern personal computer (PC), most importantly the microprocessor. The project originated in 1969, when Japanese calculator manufacturer Busicom proposed the idea to American manufacturer Intel, and both soon collaborated to produce the first microprocessor. By 1971, Intel's engineers Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore, and Busicom's engineer Masatoshi Shima, succeeded in creating the world's first microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel 4004. The microprocessor helped in creating a more powerful central processing unit than the ones used in computers at the time and shrunk it so computers could be smaller. The microprocessor was the major invention that gave birth to the microcomputer, or the personal computer as it is known today.

In April 1972, Sord Computer Corporation (now Toshiba Personal Computer System Corporation) developed the SMP80/08, the first microcomputer. It used the Intel 8008 microprocessor, which it was developed in tandem with. The SMP80/08, however, did not have a commercial release. After the first general-purpose microprocessor, the Intel 8080, was announced in April 1974, Sord announced the SMP80/x, the first microcomputer to use the 8080, in May 1974. The SMP80/x marked a major leap toward the popularization of microcomputers.[1]

It was in 1975 by the Altair 8800, which also used the Intel 8080 as the CPU. Since the 8800 computer's main language was binary code and only had an output of flashing lights, the computer was unusable by the common person. A similar microcomputer was released by NEC in 1976, the TK-80, which used the Intel 8080A.

The PC as we know it today came into being in a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computer. At the time (1976), commercial computer manufacturers thought that the notion of a computer for the average person was absurd. The Steves turned the computer industry on its head with the idea of a usable, friendly computer, which home users could not only afford, but actually get utility from in a timely and intuitive manner.

In 1977, SORD released the M200 Smart Home Computer, one of the first home computers. It was a desktop computer that combined a Zilog Z80 CPU, keyboard, CRT display, floppy disk drive and MF-DOS operating system into an integrated unit.[2]

Most personal computers in the pre-Windows era used the BASIC programming language as its chief operating system, although games written for the computers also used assembly language. The IBM PC and its early line of compatibles were known to use MS-DOS as its operating system.

In 1982, Sony introduced the 3.5" floppy disk format, with its Sony SMC-70 computer. 3.5" floppy disks would become the standard storage medium for personal computers up until the 1990's.

In July 1986, SEGA announced the world's first home computer equipped with AI (artificial intelligence), intended for householder and consumer markets.[3][4]

Modern systems

Motherboard

A look inside the typical PC

Today, after various business purloins and financial tricks, the term "PC" is synonymous not with Apple (who at one time marketed their iMac systems as the "un-PC"), and not even with the IBM-compatible machines that became prevalent in modern times, but with the Microsoft Windows platform. Very few PC games are compatible with anything but Windows, although some developers and publishers have trends of porting their games to the Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems as well.

PC games

Console games are generally regarded as very different from PC games, a result of the different levels of control on each (a few buttons on a console versus an entire keyboard on a PC) as well as of the expectations of the end user. A typical PC gamer has spent more money on his platform, is more patient about errors which may arise as the result of incompatibilities or freak system occurrences, and therefore has a more relaxed and thoughtful taste in games.

However, the argument can be made that with twitchy first-person shooter prevalence on the PC, as well as recent consoles like the Xbox and Playstation 2 and their successors approaching the multi-use functionality of a personal computer, the line between the platforms is blurring.

PC games often have far better graphics over console games, due to the versatility of the PC platform and the overall more advanced hardware used in PCs that is not found in the current generation of consoles. PCs can also be extensively upgraded with the latest high-end hardware, as opposed to the mid-range standard hardware used in consoles. However, upgrading can be expensive, often running into thousands of dollars as opposed to the hundreds spent on consoles.

See also

References

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