What is the hardware?

We explain what hardware is and the four generations of hardware that exist. Types of hardware, some examples and what is software.

  1. What is the hardware?

In  computing and computing , it is known as hardware (union of the words of English  hard  rigid, and  ware , product, merchandise) to the total material, tangible elements that make up the computer system of a computer  or computer. This refers to its mechanical, electronic, electrical and peripheral type components, without considering the programs and other digital elements, which are instead part of the  software.

The term hardware  was used in English from the 16th century , but to designate utensils and tools made from hard or heavy metals , such as iron, and which were used for hardware or mechanics.

From the appearance of the first automatic calculation systems in the 1940s and the first steps towards computerized calculation, it became necessary to distinguish between the physical aspects of the machine and those that belonged to the logical or, more recently, the virtual , so the term hardware was rescued since 1947.

The term is applied in Spanish and other languages ​​without translation , since there is no equivalent, and it has also become a common word in today’s hypercomputed world.

There are  four different generations of hardware , throughout its evolutionary history, determined by a key technological advance that made them possible:

  • 1st generation  (1945-1956).  Calculation machines that operated by vacuum tubes, instead of relays.
  • 2nd generation (1957-1963 ).  Thanks to the discovery of the  transistors , the total size of the computers was greatly reduced.
  • 3rd generation (1964- today) .  The  integrated circuits, printed on silicon pads, are discovered , which provided speed and effectiveness.
  • 4th generation (future).  Devices that exceed silicon plates and enter new computational formats. It’s about technology still in development.
  1. Hardware types

The input peripherals may be integrated into the machine or be removable.

The hardware of the computer systems is classified according to their performance in the set , thus identifying five different categories:

  • Processing  The heart of the system or the computer itself is where its ability to perform logical operations, that is, its calculations, resides. It is identified with the Central Processing Unit or CPU .
  • Storage.  The “memory” of the system, are units that allow to safeguard the information and recover it later, both on internal supports inside the body of the machine, or on removable and portable supports, such as floppy disks.
  • Input peripherals  These are devices with a specific function: enter information into the system. They can be integrated into the machine or removable.
  • Peripherals output.  Similar to the input ones, but they allow to extract or retrieve information from the system.
  • Input and output peripherals.  Those combine the functions of input and output of system information.
  1. Hardware examples

Some simple examples of hardware are:

  • The microprocessors , motherboards, integrated cards (audio, video, etc.).
  • The monitors and projectors (videobeam, etc.).
  • Printers, scanners and other external peripherals.
  • The keyboard and the pointer ( mouse ) with which the user communicates with the machine.
  • The RAM modules in the CPU.
  • The batteries that keep the system on, and the wiring that communicates the parts.
  • Hard drives and removable memory drives ( flash ).
  1. Hardware and Software

Hardware and software
The software integrates the intangible aspects of the computer.

The distinction between  hardware  and  software  operates in a manner similar to that between the body and soul of the human being  in certain  religions and philosophies . The first term means physical and perishable aspects, replaceable in the case of the computer, and the second term those intangible, virtual aspects , without which the hardware would not perform any function.

Hardware and software are aspects of the computer that operate together, since the former supports the second walk and the latter allows you to control the way it operates and the objective of the former.

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