What is a PC?

A personal computer is a microcomputer that is intended for personal and individual use. In comparison with the early versions of the PC, today’s personal computers can also be operated by anyone. Use is therefore not only reserved for technicians, scientists, and other experts. You can find PCs in private households as well as in offices or workplaces.

PCs are characterized by their handy size and ease of use. Since the PC is basically a multi-purpose computer, its functionality cannot be precisely defined and limited. Depending on the operating system and installed software, it can be used for example for office applications, PC games, CAD / CAM applications or for surfing the Internet.

Beginnings of the computer

The first functional computers as they are used today were:

  • the Z3 (1941) by the German engineer and inventor Konrad Zuse, destroyed in a bomb attack in 1943
  • the Atanasoff-Berry computer (1941) from the USA
  • the Colossus (1943) from Great Britain
  • the Mark I (1944) from the USA
  • the Z4 (1945) by Konrad Zuse
  • the ENIAC (1946) by the Americans John William Mauchly and John Presper Eckert.

The statement made by the then IBM boss Thomas J. Watson in 1943, who claimed that there would probably be a need for a maximum of five computers worldwide, has become famous. That this was not the case is shown by the development that began after the Second World War and has not yet been completed.

The main elements of a computer


The most important components (CPU, memory, PCI plug-in cards) are mounted to the mainboard and connected to one another via the bus. In addition, hard drives, optical drives and any other peripherals are connected to the motherboard.

CPU / processor

The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the heart of the computer. You could also say that it is the brain of every computer. The CPU controls the other components of a computer and performs the arithmetic operations at the same time.

The processor must always be bought to match the respective mainboard and its performance is given in Hertz.

Random Access Memory

The data generated during the runtime of a program are temporarily stored in the main memory. Therefore, the main memory is one of the main elements of a computer, since it would not be able to run without the main memory.

The working memory is also known as RAM (Random Access Memory) and if you like to play the latest computer games or often edit photos or videos, your computer should have a lot of working memory.

Power Adapter

The power supply provides power to all components of a computer. Power supplies are offered with different capacities and the housing can be of different sizes. Therefore, you should make sure that the power supply fits into the housing of the computer, whether it provides the necessary connections and whether the power of the power supply is sufficient for the components installed in the computer.

Hard Disk

Every PC needs at least one hard drive, but several can also be installed. The operating system is installed on this hard drive and of course your important personal data is also stored there. It is particularly important to protect them from misuse by malware.