Difference between Software and Computer Hardware

While computer jargon can be hard to get to grips with, two terms that pop up extremely often in any computer discussion are the words “software” and “hardware”.

But what is the difference about computer software and hardware?

These two terms refer to the most fundamental parts of computer systems. Both of them are vital for any computer to operate, and they are also dependent on one another.

Definition of Computer Hardware and Software

When we talk about computer hardware, we mean the actual components of your computer. Such things as the computer’s motherboard, its CPU, the video card, the keyboard and mouse, these are all “hardware”.

The difference between computer software and hardware is that software refers to the coding and various programs that you have on your computer. These include your operating system (Windows etc), media players, Photoshop etc.

Purpose

Computer hardware is usually multi-purpose in that it is able to perform lots of different tasks. For instance, your computer monitor doesn’t just display images on screen; it also shows videos, widgets and text. One difference between computer software and hardware is that software is normally only designed to perform one task.

Your media player for example, is only for accessing media like movies and songs. It cannot edit photos or browse the web. The only real exception to this is the operating system itself, which is a user-friendly interface designed to let you access all the other bits of software and files stored on your PC.

System Requirements

Computer software can only function on a computer if that computer meets the system requirements needed to run it properly. Such requirements include hard drive requirements, a minimum processor speed, RAM requirements and a supported operating system.

Occasionally a piece of software will have additional requirements, and these will normally be printed on the box when you purchase it, or else it will be displayed on the website you have downloaded it from.

Bit Rate 64 Bit vs 32 Bit

The transition in computers from operating systems of 32-bits to operating systems of 64-bits has become a recent issue with hardware and software. The difference between the two kinds of operating system are that 64-bit systems can access more RAM and are able to process much bigger data chunks than the old 32-bit systems.

In order to run software that is 64-bit, it is necessary to have a 64-bit CPU along with a motherboard that is compatible with the software. Because there are many computers that don’’t have the hardware necessary to run the 64-bit versions of software, many manufacturers release both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of their programs.

Development

Both computer software and computer hardware are being constantly developed, with superior components and programs being released all the time. The development of hardware is usually focused on creating faster and more compact components through the use of new technology.

Meanwhile, developers of software are constantly striving to keep pace with these new advancements in hardware by building smoother running, better looking and more comprehensive programs. The result of this is that computer users are constantly being required to update their hardware to be able to run the latest pieces of software.