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In computing, the term hardware refers to any component of a computer system that is a real physical object, as opposed to software that exists in digital form. This includes the hard drive and built-in drives, that is, all components that are "hard," hence their name.


The development of computer hardware begins with the creation of the first computers and has its true origin in the "Von Neumann" architecture. The Hungarian mathematician presented in 1945 a structure for a PC that remains applicable to this day. His model consisted of four items: a control unit, an arithmetic / logic unit, a memory unit, and an input and output device.

This encompasses almost the entire definition of hardware. In 1947 the term hardware was mentioned for the first time in reference to the "physical components of a PC". In the English-speaking environment, the term "hardware" refers primarily to posts made of metal, such as tools, locks, hinges, or cutlery. Thus, "computer hardware" is often referred to to distinguish it from its original meaning. Due to technical progress, computer hardware has evolved enormously. However, this did not change the von Neumann principle.

The crucial developmental steps for all four levels can be described:

  • Control unit: Processors at this time are not only much smaller than they were in the 1950s, but they are also much faster. Usually not a single processor core is used, but several. An impressive example is smartphones that currently have more computing power than a standard desktop computer in the 1990s.
  • Logical unit: The increase in the computing power of hardware in recent decades is reflected in the so-called "Moore's Law", which predicts that the number of circuits in a processor will double every year. Considering the rapid development of computing power in most computers, this theorem is proven time and again. Today's supercomputer hardware can perform many different tasks simultaneously, as demonstrated by today's supercomputers, which are powered by 180 million transistors per square centimeter.
  • Memory unitWhile at the beginning computers could only store a small amount of data, at the moment there is hardware in the form of clusters of servers that can process data in the order of terabytes. Even USB sticks can hold several gigabytes. The current trend is in the direction of developing ultra-fast flash memory.
  • Output device: Technology has also made great strides in this field. One of the most important stages of development is 3D printing.
  • Input unit: Even though the QWERTY keyboard has undergone virtually no change in the last 100 years, tremendous progress has been made in data entry methods. Today, many computers can be operated with gestures and voice control. Applicable hardware can be found even on smartphones.

Hardware components

The hardware at this time includes many different items and the following is by no means a complete list:

  • Hard drives.
  • PC cases, fans or power supplies.
  • Motherboards: the main board of the PC.
  • Processor.
  • Random Access Memory (RAM).
  • Drives: DVD drive, BluRay drive, external storage.
  • Output devices such as monitors, projectors, and printers.
  • Input devices such as mouse, keyboard, joystick.
  • Reading devices such as scanners or cameras.

Hardware and SEO

The art of SEO has also changed with the increasing development of computer hardware. Without the enormous computing power of computers, programs like Google Analytics or other tools could not be used at all.

User hardware requirements are a key factor in terms of website optimization. Today, for example, the types of devices in use are much more sophisticated than in the early 2000s. At that time, the Internet was accessed primarily from home with a desktop PC. Currently, a variety of devices with different hardware are used to connect to the Internet. At the same time, we are no longer limited to a fixed Internet connection, but we can surf the web with smartphones or tablets on the go. A definite result of this hardware development is a responsive design that adapts to the corresponding output device. Mobile device optimization is another direct consequence of changes in user hardware requirements. The web analytics also had to be adjusted and can now track across devices.

Current hardware development also plays a role in evaluating websites using Google's algorithms. For example, the loading speed of a web page is a classification criterion that can be optimized with appropriate hardware, such as faster servers.

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