Hardware are all those materials that make up a device. The most used use of this term refers to the physical equipment that makes up a computer: keyboard, mouse, monitor, processor, memory cards and peripherals.

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The etymology of the word originates from the English “hard” and “ware” (things) , so it can be interpreted as “the hard part” of a computer, telephone or any other device .

The term hardware began to be used from the 16th century . However, it had another very different use than the current one: it was used to name tools made of iron or other rigid material linked to mechanics, plumbing, etc.

Its opposite idea is software , which refers to “the soft part” and in that case it talks about the programs that they manage through the hardware, according to their function.

Hardware Generations

Already in matters related to computing and computing, we must mention that hardware has also evolved over time and that is why four generations have been established from some specific advance:

First generation (1945-1956) . The first calculating machines (computers) that used vacuum tubes were created. These computers could occupy an entire room and generate a lot of heat.

Second generation (1957-1963). The transistors arrive, and with it the smaller computers compared to the previous ones.

Third generation (1964-today) . Integrated circuits are manufactured, printed on silicon chips, and the need for components in computers is further reduced.

Fourth generation (future) . It is the current technology, with devices that are smaller, ergonomic and based on materials resistant to water and other elements. Many computers have tried to lower the price of hardware to make the device cost a little less, but without neglecting quality and functionality.


There are two main types of hardware: internal and external.

Among the inmates are those that cannot be seen with the naked eye:

  • Processing . It is the hardware that stores the code that will be in charge of coordinating and executing the tasks within a system .
  • Storage . It is the one that has cells in which the computer data in general is stored.
  • Input peripherals . They are those independent devices that have the function of introducing information to the system. They must be connected through ports.
  • Output peripherals. Like the previous ones, they connect to the computer or other device through a port, but they have the function of showing the user some information without the user being able to interact by entering input data. Eg: non-touch screen monitors.
  • Input and output peripherals. These are those that fulfill the task of entering data and taking data from the device. Eg: external memories such as microUSB.

Hardware examples

  • Hard disk (HDD).
  • Solid State Drive (SSD).
  • RAM.
  • Processor.
  • Card or motherboard
  • Cabinet or case that houses the motherboard and other internal components.
  • Monitor.
  • Keyboard.
  • Mouse.
  • Printer.
  • Controls for games.
  • Code bar scanner.
  • Expansion card: USB, Fireware, etc.
  • Touch monitor.
  • Scanner.
  • Digitizer.
  • Graphics card.
  • Voltage source.
  • Analog modem.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
  • Hard disk controller card.
  • Network interface card.
  • Soundboard.
  • Flash drive
  • Webcam.
  • Digital modem.
  • WIFI adapter.
  • Bluetooth adapter.
  • Microphone.
  • Multiplexor.
  • Clocks
  • Bridge.
  • Projector.
  • Smartphone / tablet.
  • Router
  • Disk drive.
  • Speakers.
  • Tape drive
  • Switcher.
  • Network repeater.
  • Fans
  • Cables.
  • Firewall.

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