Computers can be classified, or typed, many ways. Some common classifications are summarized below. For others see Category:Classes of computers.
A personal computer (PC) is a general-purpose computer, whose size, capabilities, and original sale price makes it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator. This contrasted with the batch processing or time-sharing models which allowed larger, more expensive minicomputer and mainframe systems to be used by many people, usually at the same time. Large data processing systems require a full-time staff to operate efficiently.
Software applications for most personal computers include, but are not limited to, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, Web browsers and e-mail clients, digital media playback, games, and myriad personal productivity and special-purpose software applications. Modern personal computers often have connections to the Internet, allowing access to the World Wide Web and a wide range of other resources. Personal computers may be connected to a local area network (LAN), either by a cable or a wireless connection. A personal computer may be a desktop computer or a laptop, tablet, or a handheld PC.
Computer hardware is the collection of physical elements that constitutes a computer system. Computer hardware refers to the physical parts or components of a computer such as monitor, keyboard, computer data storage, hard drive disk, mouse, system unit (graphic cards, sound cards, memory, motherboard and chips), etc. all of which are physical objects that can be touched. In contrast, software is untouchable. Software exists as ideas, application, concepts, and symbols, but it has no physical substance. A combination of hardware and software forms a usable computing system.