Hardware is the physical components of a computer, such as the motherboard, processor, memory, storage drives, and other devices. It is the hardware that hosts and supports software or programs that provide instructions for the computer to complete its tasks. Hardware can also include external input/output devices such as keyboards, mice, monitors, printers, and speakers.
Hardware has been around since the invention of computers. Early hardware components were made of basic mechanical parts and switches, such as Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine in 1822. In the mid-twentieth century, hardware was mainly based on vacuum tube technology, which eventually gave way to transistors in the late 50s and early 60s. Today, hardware is widely used in all kinds of computer systems and devices, from desktops and laptops to smartphones and smartwatches.
- Motherboard: It is the main circuit board that houses and connects all the components of a computer, such as the processor, memory, storage units and other devices.
- Processor: The hardware component that processes data and executes instructions. It can include multiple cores, which are hardware components specifically designed to run multiple software programs simultaneously.
- Memory: Hardware that temporarily stores data for use by the processor. It can include both random access memory (RAM), which is used for short-term tasks, and read-only memory (ROM).
- Storage drives: Hardware devices that store data permanently, such as hard drives, solid-state drives (SSDs), and optical disks. Each hardware component plays a vital role in modern computer hardware systems, enabling them to perform their various tasks efficiently and effectively.
- Printers: Hardware devices that allow users to produce physical copies of documents, photographs, and other types of media.
Difference between hardware and software
Hardware and software are terms that refer to two different components of a computer or computer system. Hardware refers to the physical components of the computer, such as the processor, RAM, hard drive, and motherboard. Software, on the other hand, refers to computer programs and instructions that run on the computer. Some key differences between hardware and software are:
- Hardware is tangible and can be physically touched and manipulated, while software is intangible and cannot be touched.
- The hardware is a physical component of the computer and cannot be modified without changing the physical component, while the software can be installed, updated or removed without changing the hardware.
- Hardware is generally more expensive than software, as it refers to physical components that must be manufactured and assembled.
- Hardware has a limited lifespan and can stop working or be replaced over time, while software can be used for a long time as long as the hardware is compatible and in good condition.