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Old 03-01-2013, 08:17 AM   #1
Steveknj
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What is a PC?

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/col...s%E2%80%A62013

From the article:

Quote:
In the strictest definition, a PC was an IBM PC running PC-DOS on an Intel x86 processor. That would later expand to a PC-compatible machine running MS-DOS on an x86 CPU. These days, Iíd say, the definition is pretty liberal: any x86 or x86-64 machine running a stand-alone x86-compatible operating system. It doesnít even mean you have to run a Microsoft OS, but you should be able to install any compatible OS you want. After all, a ThinkPad running Ubuntu is as much a PC as a corporate ďWintelĒ box. And yes, I think that x86 boxes with secure UEFIs that donít let you install Linux or other alternative OSes fail to live up to the definition of a PC. And yes, the Mac is just an overpriced PC.

How does my litmus test work on todayís hardware? Letís see. Is the iPad a PC? No, itís not x86 and itís pretty well locked down. Is it a personal computer? Yes. Is a Citrix terminal running Windows XP remotely a PC? No. Is it a personal computer? No, itís a terminal. Is your smartphone running Android 4.1 a PC? No. Is it a personal computer? Yes. Is a Windows 8 Pro convertible tablet a PC? Yes. Is Microsoftís Surface RT tablet running Windows RT a PC? No. Is it a personal computer? Yes. Is a Google Chromebook a PC? If itís x86, then yes, but not when itís running Chrome OS. Why not? Chrome OS is far closer to being a terminal than a personal computer.
I used to agree with this assessment, but over the last year or so, after using my tablets (Android and iPad) and my smartphone as much or more than my home PCs (not including work PC here), I've come to the conclusion that MY definition of a PC has changed. I probably argued against this in another thread, but I'm now in the camp that agrees that Apple is the largest PC maker, on the strength of their mobile devices.

What say you? Should make for some interesting Friday chatter
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:17 AM   #2
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Ooops, meant for Happy Hour thread.

Superop or whoever, please move...
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:26 AM   #3
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I agree with the x86/64 criteria, though a Mac does not exactly fit that criteria, but still a "PC" for me.

Not a PC:

Tablet
Smartphone
Netbooks, though very near the PC line
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by markp99 View Post
I agree with the x86/64 criteria, though a Mac does not exactly fit that criteria, but still a "PC" for me.

Not a PC:

Tablet
Smartphone
Netbooks, though very near the PC line
I'd consider the netbooks to be PCs, just rather underpowered and crappy ones. However, I don't consider the Chromebooks to be PCs.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:14 AM   #5
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Strictly speaking, a Mac is a PC, but in common usage people make a distinction between the two...
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:17 AM   #6
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I stopped caring what he had to say when I read "And yes, the Mac is just an overpriced PC." If you can't put aside your hatred for Apple long enough to make an entirely unrelated point I won't bother listening to you.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:10 AM   #7
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I stopped caring what he had to say when I read "And yes, the Mac is just an overpriced PC." If you can't put aside your hatred for Apple long enough to make an entirely unrelated point I won't bother listening to you.
Forgetting what he said in the article though, what do you consider a PC?
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveknj View Post
Forgetting what he said in the article though, what do you consider a PC?
Old school computer science guy here... PC is a Personal Computer intended to be operated by an end user with no intervening computer operators. I consider workstations, desktops, laptops, nettops, netbooks, tablets, etc. to be categories of Personal Computers.

Edited to add: A few years ago, there was an "Get a Mac" marketing campaign intended to highlight he differences between Apple Computers and "PCs". While many of them were targeted at Windows and it's new Vista Operating System, some were hardware based, as in the one where "PC" is in a wheelchair because someone tripped on his cord while Mac mentions his magnetic power cord feature. Later in 2008, Windows released the "I'm a PC" campaign to further confuse matters. At the time, I argued the ads should have gone with Justin Long saying, "I'm a Mac" and John Hodgman would say, "and I'm not."
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:11 PM   #9
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wrong forum so BIH Fox?
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:45 PM   #10
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Wasn't the acid test whether it could run Flight Simulator?
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:54 PM   #11
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I don't think the label "PC" has any real-world relevance anymore, so I wouldn't even bother arguing the definition and explicitly stating which things are PCs and which aren't. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter to the person using the tech.

I do think we could make a distinction between on-board capability and networked capability (eg. smartphones that are bricks when they aren't able to connect to the network to supply content) but even that isn't terribly important in day-to-day usage.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #12
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I was thinking that this argument was familiar.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb....php?t=486714&
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efilippi View Post
Wasn't the acid test whether it could run Flight Simulator?
^this

consoles (xbox, ps3) are not pcs
macs are not pcs
iPads and tablets are not pcs

even though all of the above can play some sort of game, they are not pcs

for it to be a pc you have to be able to order the parts and build it yourself,
you have to be able to install Steam on it and play Diablo 2, Portal, Minecraft and a variety of mmos

Macs are almost pcs, but not quite
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:26 PM   #14
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I agree with the x86/64 criteria, though a Mac does not exactly fit that criteria, but still a "PC" for me.
Uhh, what? Macs are x86/64 and can run BOTH 64 bit and 32 bit apps/frameworks. AFAIK, you have to purchase a separate version of Windows to do 64 bit.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #15
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Uhh, what? Macs are x86/64 and can run BOTH 64 bit and 32 bit apps/frameworks. AFAIK, you have to purchase a separate version of Windows to do 64 bit.
A Mac isn't a PC. It's a Mac. A PC runs something that isn't MacOS.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:28 AM   #16
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A Mac isn't a PC. It's a Mac. A PC runs something that isn't MacOS.
So a Mac running OSX is not a PC but a Mac running Linux or Windows is???

A PC in my eyes is any computer with a monitor, a keyboard, maybe a mouse that allows you to install several different OSes. I don't even care about the CPU type really.

If you want to include the Intel x86 or compatible CPU in it a Mac is still a PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesl View Post
for it to be a pc you have to be able to order the parts and build it yourself,
you have to be able to install Steam on it and play Diablo 2, Portal, Minecraft and a variety of mmos

Macs are almost pcs, but not quite
According to that definition a heck of a lot of Windows running PCs out there are no PCs, most people just buy stock models from companies like Dell, Acer, etc.

Also Macs run Steam just fine, also runs Diablo 2, Portal and Minecraft, and yes, in OSX! Of course it runs everything any PC does when you install Windows on it as well...

Then there is a thing called Hackintoshes, non Apple hardware, usually ordered as parts, built by the owners themselves and they install OSX on it. Also no PCs suddenly anymore?

This whole discussion is basically pointless
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:01 AM   #17
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Or the fact that we even have this thread indicates we're well into the "post PC" era where we have multiple forms of computing and we're no longer stuck in front of desktops and laptops to work or play.

Especially when you have lots of things like tablets, smartphones, media boxes, DVRs, consoles, etc., all of which have embedded processors and often have more power and memory than what we had in regular desktop/laptop computers just a few short years ago.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:04 AM   #18
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A Mac isn't a PC. It's a Mac. A PC runs something that isn't MacOS.
Historically that is kinda correct. Apple computers in the 1970s and into the 1980s (and the other consumer computers prior to IBM entering the market), were called "Personal Computers" (less often "Home Computers"). "PC" was frequently used, but of no significance beyond a geeky abbreviation.

The first IBMs in the market specifically used the abbreviation "PC" rather than "Personal Computer". Very smart marketing, as "Personal Computer" had become a term of derision by mainframe/mini-oriented professionals. Then came the "IBM PC Clones" running MSDOS on cheaper and more capable hardware, and the rest is history. When Apple introduced the Mac, the distinction became between PCs (no longer related to IBM, which actually had a very small market share, and no longer "clones" as the clones had became the mainstream) and Macs. Apple IIs continued to be called Personal Computers for as long as they were produced, into the 1990s, but never PCs. Other non-MSDOS-specific personal computers, DEC Rainbows et al, WERE frequently called PCs.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:15 AM   #19
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I recently caught myself referring to "IBMs and Macs"
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:03 PM   #20
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At work we use the term "desktop computer" to mean either a Mac or a PC. Everybody knows what it means, and it's obviously not a tablet or phone.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:54 PM   #21
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I am looking at this page on the internet running on my PC. My PC runs Mac OS because it is manufactured by Apple Corporation. I could choose to run a Unix varient (probably runs behind OS anyway) or Windows.

Does anyone remember when these were called Microcomputers? Minis were about the size of a large Xerox machine.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:24 PM   #22
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Here's a little fuel for the fire... Anyone remember the PC World article in 2007?

The fastest Windows Vista notebook we've tested this year--or for that matter, ever--is a Mac. Not a Dell, not a Toshiba, not even an Alienware. The $2419 (plus the price of a copy of Windows Vista, of course) MacBook Pro's PC WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 88 beats Gateway's E-265M by a single point, but the MacBook's score is far more impressive simply because Apple couldn't care less whether you run Windows.

Source: PC World
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #23
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Apple will tell you that they sell hardware. Microsoft sells software so in actuality they really don't compete. Microsoft is trying with the Surface tablet and a Windows mobile phone but as I am typing this post on an iPad the only real competition is from Android based phones and tablets.
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:53 PM   #24
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:02 PM   #25
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PC = personal computer. I don't see any reason to tie it to x86. But, I don't know if the term is really useful anymore.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:21 PM   #26
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My Intel Atom netbook is a PC. It runs Windows XP and Ubuntu 12.10 Linux. Just like my like my dual Xeon dual core workstation. My netbook's 1.6ghz single core is quite a bit slower than the four 2.7ghz cores on my workstation but to me a PC is defined not by its speed, but by what OS and software it can run.

In the past, PC meant IBM-PC compatible. My definition has changed. I now consider my C64 (from almost 30 years ago) a PC.

I really don't know what I consider a PC anymore. My Tivos aren't PCs. My tablet isn't a PC. My netbook, desktop, and workstation are (all running Windows and Linux). I guess it is like porn. I know it when I see it.
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