The types of hardware are the different sets of physical elements that are classified based on their different functions and characteristics.
In other words, although the hardware in general has common characteristics, there are also specifications that form several groups with their own characteristics that differ from each other.
A similar comparison would be the concept of a ‘geometric figure’. Within this we can find classifications of all kinds, such as the number of edges, shape of the figure or degree of the resulting perpendicular lines. In the case of hardware, they can be classified according to their main function or one or more fields to which they belong, among other factors.
Types of hardware according to their function
While the hardware has in common its tangible character, it must emanate from the following three classes:
- Internal hardware: It is all that physical component that can be classified as hardware and that is directly part of the device.
- External hardware: In this case, it consists of the set of physical components that can again be classified as hardware, but this time they are not part of the main device, but function as complementary elements to it.
- Hybrid hardware: Finally, we would have this type of hardware, which works as a hardware element that can either be directly part of the device or can do it indirectly as an independent element.
As can be seen in the image, each type of hardware may have a different treatment depending on its relationship with the main device. While the mouse and headphones are purely external hardware, the mobile phone and the camera are hybrid in nature with respect to the computer or PC.
Differences between hardware and devices
Before delving into the types of hardware based on their usefulness and objective, they must differentiate between what is known as a device and hardware.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we understand hardware as the physical or tangible assembly of a computing device. This makes it possible for the device to work.
On the other hand, the device is made up of a set of hardware and software, so its unit itself has tools and a much wider use. Then, in a device, the hardware is like the muscles and bones of the human body, while the software would be closer to being the vital organs along with the nervous system.
Hardware types according to your objective
There are five types of hardware that individually identify them based on their usefulness and purpose:
- Processing. It is the center of the physical unit, better known as 'CPU'.
- Storage. These are the units that are responsible for storing data.
- Input. It would consist of peripherals whose sole purpose is to send data.
- Exit. In this case it is a peripheral that receives data.
- Mixed peripherals. This type of peripheral has the characteristic of sending and receiving data.
So all together they make up the hardware ecosystem, which allows a certain flexibility when using one or the other and can be complementary to each other.
Examples of hardware types
Here are some examples of different types of hardware, analyzing their function and objective:
- Intel or AMD processor. It is an internal processing hardware.
- SSD storage drive. In this case it is again an internal hardware but storage.
- Headphones. On the other hand this is an external hardware output.
- Electronic pen. Unlike the previous one, it is external but input.
- Console command or controller. Finally, this console controller is of a hybrid and mixed character, since it can be integrated or not in the console itself, examples are the well-known PSP, Nintendo Switch or PS4 and XBOX One. It is also mixed by receiving data from the console and emitting the orders that are executed through buttons or dualshock to the console itself.
These are some examples that can be studied being the range of options immense, so it is likely that more types of hybrid hardware will occur over time thanks to the continuous development of the technology sector.