What is

Hardware - explanation and definition of hardware

What is hardware

Hardware is the set of physical and the material components that compounded or added to any electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, ebooks, wearables, televisions, music players, robots or space probes among other examples.

In the field of computer and electronics hardware and the software is the basic element that makes a device, mechanism or electronic machine to perform a series of tasks automatically, the hardware is the physical part while the software is the intangible part, the hardware is the body and software is the soul.

When opening any computer we can see how a set of electrical, electronic and mechanical components are assembled and interconnected, cables, chips, switches, fans, hard drives, graphics cards... All these elements that we can see and touch represents the hardware of the computer, on the other hand any electronic device that we connect to the computer as a keyboard, monitor, memory card or a mouse in turn is composed of hardware inside this being considered as part of computer when connected itself.

Hardware classification

According to the definition previously exposed hardware can be classified according to the same location relative to the main device, so we have:

  • Internal Hardware

  • External Hardware

Internal hardware consists of all the physical elements that compose the main device internally while the external hardware consists of the set of additional devices known as peripheral, externally connected to the main device.

Internal Hardware

The internal hardware is itself composed of three main elements:

  • Motherboard

  • Processor

  • Other elements


The motherboard is the main element of the internal hardware of any electronic device, it consists of a plastic plate containing a printed circuit and places that allow to connect both electrically and mechanically the remaining elements of the internal hardware, we can say the motherboard is the highway which flows all the digital information of our device.

The motherboard also incorporates a series of electrical and electronic materials such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, chips, etc. which are welded directly to the printed circuit in order to manage communications established with the other elements, on the other hand the motherboard has a number of places known as slots and sockets where other elements are located as memory, graphics cards, network cards or microprocessor itself. There are a variety of shapes, sizes and types of motherboards which are defined by the type of device where it assembly.


Processor is the other main component of hardware, considered the brains of our device consists of a processor chip made up of millions of tiny electronic components known as transistors which are responsible for directing and controlling the other components of the device, Furthermore the processor is responsible for performing all mathematical and logical operations as well as decode and execute instructions of the software being processed.

The hardware processor technology advance giant steps forward, in 1971 the US company Intel introduced the world's first microprocessor, the Intel 4004 contained 2,250 transistors and worked at a speed less than 0.1Mhz, today we have microprocessors over 7 billion transistors and with speeds that works greater than 5 Ghz, in the very near future the silicon used in the manufacture of microprocessors is replaced by graphene allowing multiply by 100 the processing power of today's microprocessors.

Other elements

In this section are the other elements that are connected internally to the motherboard which are managed and controlled by the processor are included.

We can cite examples as rams memory, hard drives, multimedia audio and video cards, network cards, power supplies, fans, heat sinks, adapter and controller cards...

External Hardware

External hardware or peripherals correspond to multiple devices that connect externally and aims to add some extra functionality to the basic or primary device.

There is a wide range of peripherals designed depending on host device to which you want to connect, all of them can be grouped and classified into three large families:

  • Communication peripherals

  • Storage peripherals

  • Input and output peripherals

Communication peripherals allow the transfer of information between different devices, such as network cards, modems, and wireless devices such as Wi-Fi or infrared that allows communication between computer to smartphone.

Storage peripherals refer to the set of devices intended to store and read any type of digital information, external hard drives, USB drives, CD and DVD burners are examples among others.

Finally input and output peripheral encompasses the rest of elements that can externally connect to our main devices, keyboards, monitors, printers and scanners, speakers, microphones, webs cameras, point sale terminals known as POS, electronic scales are examples of external peripherals that can connect to your computer.

Now that you know what the hardware, did you know that the near future all hardware containing in a computer desktop will be in a small pill a few millimeters? Thanks to advances in nanotechnology will soon have our hands on these tiny devices capable of multiplying by 10,000 capacity and power of the most powerful supercomputer that we have today.

what is hardware