El hardware de PC es el conjunto de los componentes físicos que hacen funcionar a un ordenador. Algunos ejemplos de hardware son el procesador, el disco duro, la memoria RAM, la tarjeta gráfica y la fuente de alimentación. Puedes conocer el hardware que monta tu PC sin necesidad de abrirlo usando programas como CPU-Z o Speccy. Todos ellos los puedes ver detalladamente en nuestra guía de Componentes modernos de PC.



El primer hardware de la historia (depende de cómo se defina el concepto de hardware). Si nos referimos a un conjunto de piezas físicas que poseen una utilidad objetivo, se podría considerar que el primer hardware fue el palo tallado o el ábaco. El palo tallado se usaba para hacer marcas y llevar la cuenta de objetos o eventos, y data de la época paleolítica. El ábaco se usaba para realizar operaciones aritméticas y se cree que se originó en Mesopotamia alrededor del año 2700 a.C.

Si nos referimos al hardware relacionado con los dispositivos computacionales, el primer hardware fue el tubo de vacío, que permitía amplificar y conmutar señales eléctricas. El tubo de vacío se inventó en 1904 por John Ambrose Fleming. El primer ordenador que usó tubos de vacío fue el ENIAC, construido en 1946 por John Presper Eckert y John William Mauchly.

tubo de vacio
Tubo de vacío

El tubo de vacío fue reemplazado por el transistor, que era más pequeño, rápido y eficiente. El transistor se inventó en 1947 por John Bardeen, Walter Brattain y William Shockley. El primer ordenador que usó transistores fue el TX-0, desarrollado en 1956 por el MIT.

El transistor dio paso al circuito integrado, que consiste en un conjunto de componentes electrónicos miniaturizados sobre un sustrato semiconductor. El circuito integrado se inventó en 1958 por Jack Kilby y Robert Noyce. El primer ordenador que usó circuitos integrados fue el IBM System/360, lanzado en 1964 por IBM.


El circuito integrado permitió la creación del microprocesador, que es un circuito integrado que contiene todos los elementos necesarios para realizar las funciones básicas de una computadora. El microprocesador se inventó en 1971 por Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin y Stanley Mazor, trabajando para Intel. El primer ordenador que usó un microprocesador fue el MITS Altair 8800, ofrecido como un kit para ensamblar en 1975 por Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS).



Existen diferentes tipos de hardware según su función y características. Según la clasificación más común, se pueden distinguir los siguientes tipos:

  • Hardware de procesamiento: Es el que se encarga de realizar las operaciones lógicas y aritméticas del sistema. El principal componente de este tipo es el procesador o CPU, que es el cerebro del ordenador. Otros componentes son la memoria RAM, que almacena temporalmente los datos y programas en uso, y la tarjeta madre o placa base, que conecta todos los demás componentes entre sí.
  • Hardware de almacenamiento: Es el que se encarga de guardar los datos y programas de forma permanente o semipermanente. Algunos ejemplos son el disco duro, que almacena gran cantidad de información en un soporte magnético, el disco óptico, que almacena información en un soporte óptico como un CD o DVD, y el disco sólido o SSD, que almacena información en un soporte electrónico sin partes móviles.
  • Hardware de entrada: Es el que se encarga de enviar datos desde el exterior al ordenador. Algunos ejemplos son el teclado, que permite introducir texto y comandos, el ratón o mouse, que permite mover un cursor y seleccionar opciones en la pantalla, y la cámara web, que permite capturar imágenes y vídeos.
  • Hardware de salida: Es el que se encarga de mostrar o reproducir los datos procesados por el ordenador. Algunos ejemplos son el monitor, que muestra imágenes y textos en una pantalla, la impresora, que imprime documentos en papel u otros materiales, y los altavoces, que emiten sonidos y música.
  • Hardware de entrada y salida: Es el que combina las funciones de entrada y salida. Algunos ejemplos son la pantalla táctil, que permite interactuar con el ordenador tocando la pantalla con los dedos o un lápiz óptico, el módem, que permite enviar y recibir datos a través de una línea telefónica o una red inalámbrica, y la unidad lectora-grabadora de discos ópticos, que permite leer y escribir información en CDs o DVDs.


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