Hardware refers to the physical parts of the computer and devices related to a computer. Internal computer hardware devices include motherboards, hard drives and RAM. External computer hardware devices include keyboards, mice, monitors, printers and scanners. The internal hardware of a computer are usually referred to as “components”, while the external pieces of hardware are called “peripherals”. Together, components and peripherals fall under the category of computer hardware. The power of your computer’s internal components are what give your machine its processing power, and graphical capabilities. Software needs hardware to run, so each piece of software often has a list of “System Requirements”, detailing how powerful your hardware needs to be to carry out the functions of the software optimally. Hardware is an all-inclusive term for the physical parts of a computer, as distinguished from the data it contains or operated on, and the software that provides instructions for the hardware to accomplish tasks.
To the average user, the line between software and hardware is fairly blurry. Software built into hardware is known as “firmware”, and need only be paid attention to by computer programmers and computer engineers, and is not in any way something the average user need to concern themselves with. Hardware often refers to objects to do with a computer that you can actually touch, like mice, keyboards, monitors, printers, external hard drives and disc drives (although disc drives are becoming obsolete due to the digitisation data).
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Think of hardware as a book; the ink and pages are the hardware, while the words, sentences, paragraphs, and overall meaning are the software. Hardware and software work synergistically to carry out whatever task the user is attempting to carry out.
A computer without software is like a book with no words; you need software to make the computer useful just as you need words to give a book meaning. Computer hardware includes both the computer as a whole and all of the internal components that make up your computer. Your computer as you see it, is just the result of what computer manufacturers have created with both the internal components and external peripherals that make a computer. How the hardware is designed can differ in many ways, usually taking the form of desktops and laptops. Tablets (iPad, Nexus 7, Asus Transformer) and other handheld hardware (iPhone, iPod, Pebble) have grown popular in the last six years, due to the accessibility of their software and easy-to-use touch interface, making it easy for computer-illiterate folk to browse the web or communicate with distant relatives