Originally the word 'hardware' meant literally hardware, like tools, power tools and other trades equipment. The word has taken on multiple roles since computerization. It's now effectively a homonym which means machinery or solid equipment of any kind, as directly opposed to software. Grammatically, this has altered the usage of the word into a qualifier. |
The extension of the meaning has however also solved a problem in terms of clarifying usage. Software has created a need for references to direct physical connections and the term hardware in IT usage has drastically expanded as a result.
Examples of Hardware:
We'll need to go to the hardware shop and pick up some new sandpaper, a power drill, and a shovel.
The new software has created a requirement for new hardware to speed up processing and improve performance.
The new hardware needs special software, particularly new microroutines, to work efficiently.http://fcit.usf.edu/network/chap3/chap3.htm
CPU is a piece of computer hardware.