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Read, translate the text and point out the main characteristics of PC

Personal Computers

Personal computers are supposed to appear in the late 1970s. The capabilities of a personal computerhave changed greatly since the introduction of electronic computers. By the early 1970s, people in academic or research institutions had the opportunity for single person use of a computer system in interactive mode for extended du­rations, although these systems would still have been too expensive to be owned by a single individual. The introduction of the microproces­sor, a single chip with all the circuitry that formerly occupied large cabinets, lead to the proliferation of personal computers after 1975.

Early personal computersgenerally called microcomputers, sold often in kit form and in limited volumes and were of interest mostly to hobbyists and technicians. By the late 1970s, mass-market pre-assembled computers allowed a wider range of people to use com­puters, focusing more on software applications and less on develop­ment of the processor hardware. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, home computers were developed for household use, offering some personal productivity, programming and games, while somewhat larger and more expensive systems (although still low-cost compared with minicom­puters and mainframes) were aimed for office and small business use.

One of the first and most popular personal computers was the Apple II, introduced in 1977 by Apple Computer. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, new models and competitive oper­ating systems seemed to appear daily. Then, in 1981, IBM en­tered the fray with its first personal computer, known as the IBM PC. The IBM PC quickly became the personal computer of choice, and most other personal computer manufacturers fell by the way-side. One of the few companies to survive IBM's onslaught was Apple Computer, which is sure to remain a major player in the personal computer marketplace. In less than a decade the microcomputer has been transformed from a calcula­tor and hobbyist's toy into a personal computer for almost everyone.

What is a personal computer? How can this device be char­acterized?

— First, a personal computer being microprocessor-based, its central processing unit, called a microprocessor unit, or MPU, is concentrated on a single silicon chip.

— Second, a PC has a memory and word size that are small­er than those of minicomputers and large computers. Typical word sizes are 8 or 16 bits, and main memories range in size from 16 К to 512 K.

— Third, a personal computer uses smaller, less expensive, less powerful input, output and storage components than do large computer systems. Most often, input is by means of a keyboard, soft-copy output being displayed on a screen. Hard-copy output is produced on a printer.

A PC employs disks and USB flash drive as the principal online and offline storage devices and also as input and output media.

— Finally, a PC is a general-purpose, stand-alone system that can begin to work when plugged in and be moved from place to place.

Probably the most distinguishing feature of a personal com­puter is that it is used by an individual, usually in an interactive mode. Eventually the market segments lost any technical distinction; busi­ness computers acquired color graphics capacity and sound, and home computers and game systems used the same processors and operating systems as office-bound computers. Even local area networking, origi­nally a way to allow business computers to share expensive mass storage and peripherals, became a standard feature of a home computer.

Regardless of the purpose for which it is used, either for leisure activities in the home or for business applications in the office, we can consider it to be a personal computer.

Vocabulary Notes

circuitry['sWkItrI] схеми

competitive operating systems — конкуруючі операційні системи

IBM (International Business Machine) — фірма, яка виробляє комп’ютери

to enter the fray — встрянути у бійку

computer of choice — кращий комп’ютер

to fall by the wayside — залишитись збоку, уступити дорогу

to survive onslaught[sq'vaIv 'OnslLt] — витримати конкуренцію

word size — розмір слова

soft-copy output — недокументальні вихідні дані (зображені на екрані)

hard-copy output —друковані копії вихідних даних

online storage['stLrIdZ] — неавтономне зберігання даних

offline storage — автономне зберігання даних окремо від комп’ютера

input media — носій для вхідних даних

output media — носій для вихідних даних

to employ[Im'plOI]використовувати

general-purpose — універсальний, загального призначення

stand-alone — автономний

to plug in [plAg In] — підключати; під’єднувати

office-bound['OfIs baund]computer — комп’ютер призначений лише для офісної роботи


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