The physical, touchable, material parts of a computer or other system. The term is used to distinguish these fixed parts of a system from the more changeable software or data components which it executes, stores, or carries.

Typical computer hardware consists of electronic devices (CPU, memory, display) with some electromechanical parts (keyboard, printer, disk drives, tape drives, loudspeakers) for input, output and storage. Completely non-electronic (mechanical, electromechanical, hydraulic, biological) computers have also been conceived of and built.

See also firmware, wetware.

Last updated: 1997-01-23

Nearby terms:

hard sectorhardwareHardware Abstraction Layerhardware circular buffer

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