A personal computer is a computer that can perform all of its input, processing, output, and storage activities by itself. A personal computer contains a processor, memory, and one or more input, output, and storage devices. Personal computers also often contain a communications device. Two popular architectures of personal computers are the PC and the Apple. The term, PC-compatible, refers to any personal computer based on the original IBM personal computer design. Companies such as Dell and Toshiba sell PC-compatible computers. PC and PC-compatible computers usually use a Windows operating system. Apple computers usually use a Macintosh operating system (Mac OS). Two types of personal computers are desktop computers and notebook computers.
An embedded computer is a special-purpose computer that functions as a component in a larger product. A variety of everyday products contain embedded computers:
- Home automation devices
- Process controllers and robotics
- Computer devices and office machines
Because embedded computers are components in larger products, they usually are small and have limited hardware. Embedded computers perform various functions, depending on the requirements of the product in which they reside. Embedded computers in printers, for example, monitor the amount of paper in the tray, check the ink or toner level, signal if a paper jam has occurred, and so on. Image shows some of the many embedded computers in cars.