Comparing and Contrasting the Concept of Software and Hardware



Comparison refers to finding the key facts that relate two or more things, facts and /or concepts. It includes aspects that enable the observer or listener to conclude that the things under analysis are related in terms of functionality, shape or size. However, this is different from contrasting, which refers to finding the differences existing between two or more things, concepts or ideas (Lipiansky, 2012). Comparing and contrasting is important in establishing characteristics that can be used in classification. Different concepts can be compared in the field of computer science. The most basic concepts include the hardware and software, which tend to create challenges in determining the similarities and differences (Shinder, 2014). Thus, it will be important to illustrate comparison and contrast based on the two concepts to facilitate understanding to computer science learners.


Both software and hardware have behavior, which is characterized by their functionality. Users are able to utilize them through interaction. In order for them to work effectively, the user must provide raw materials in form of data and manipulative instructions. The two concepts result in production of certain output, which is important to the user (The Prime, 2015).

Both the software and hardware concepts have functional and non-functional requirements. In this perspective, part of their composition does not have a purpose, but it is needed within the concepts. For instance, the software has the parts: configuration files, the body, content and Logs or Dumps. These parts are significantly important in defining specific software and they are responsible for its functionality (Eliëns, 2014). However, parts like the graphics are less important since without them the software will still be functional. On the other hand, the hardware has useful components such as processor, keyboard, memory, monitor and hard drive, which ensure functionality. The hardware has less important things such as supporters and covers (Lipiansky, 2012).

Both the concepts are complex especially in understanding their development or construction. The hardware contains minuscule parts that are connected through tiny wires. The parts of hardware are not labeled to understand the connections and/ or purpose (Shinder, 2014). In the case of the software, it is also complex since it contains binary numbers or codes that are arranged differently to facilitate its functionality. Representing the two concepts based on product provisions results to tree structures, which are entirely complex to understand.

The two concepts are subject to improvement in terms of functionality and performance. For instance, the software can be improved to increase its functionality. It can also be reorganized to appear more presentable to the user (Eliëns, 2014). On the other hand, the hardware can be improved through increased capacity to handle tasks or increased efficiency. The hardware can be redesigned to enable it consume lesser amount of energy.

Shinder, (2014) argues that both the two concepts require the user to have certain skills regarding their functionality in order to manipulate them easily and produce outcomes. Based on this, some software may require the user to possess advanced skills obtained through learning. The hardware may also require some expertise either through formal education or exposure to be able to install them effectively before use.


The concept of hardware and software can be contrasted with the following facts: software can be changed easily as compared to hardware. This is due to high cost of purchasing and installing hardware spares from the electronics shops (Lipiansky, 2012). For the case of the software, the spares are available on the internet with a small fee. Once they are developed, they cannot get depleted and the number of people that purchase them from the internet does not mean more production units since it’s only a copy of the original that is downloaded. However, hardware requires regular production since the stock in stores is subject to depletion.

Software evolves through the addition of new features, which is done through rewriting advanced logic. However, the hardware cannot be improved or refactored after initial manufacture, and new capabilities cannot be added.

In order to design new brands of hardware, the previous or existing generation must be taken into consideration (The Prime, 2015). However, this is different from the software since it may lack a positive correlation with the previous version in the market. The manufacturers base their research on producing unique products to outdo their competitors.

According to Shinder (2014), developing software results to flat cost based on the fact that materials are not bought for assembling. Instead, the human knowledge is responsible for the complete design of new software. This is different from hardware since the cost of manufacture increases towards the end of the production process. The increase can be accounted for the expensive raw materials that are required to finalize the process of production.

The software is designed by programmers and other technology experts and sent to the quality assurance engineers for functionality testing. However, this is different from the hardware since the engineers responsible for the production undertake the task of testing the final product. This ensures they realize their mistakes or faults and work on them before presenting it to the market (Eliëns, 2014).

Hardware is developed and tested for functionality within a given period of time. It can be affected by the weather conditions, falls and time. This is part of the reasons for constant replacements since the duration of proper functionality diminishes (Lipiansky, 2012). However, this is different from the software since they are designed to last infinitely. Weather falls and time cannot affect their functionality. The need for new software arises basically from predetermined efficiencies.

Architectural decisions determine the outlook for a hardware being manufactured. The shape, size, and weight are factors that are considered by the architecture during designing of hardware. However, this is different when compared to software development since they do not need considerations such as weight, size, material, and shape. Everything involves arranging data into logic order to form an intangible and functional platform.

Hardware development involves four major stages before the final product is approved for use. This includes the detailed plan of the product, manufacturing process, test, inspection, and finally the supply structure for the purchased parts (The Prime, 2015). These four stages consume time as they require proper decision making to avoid incurring abnormal expenses. On the other hand, software development entails two distinct stages which include the detailed design and actual movement of the product into the context of the consumers.


Contrasting and comparing idea, things, and facts help to bring out their features for better understanding. In this analysis, the concept of software and hardware computer parts has been focused and their detailed characteristics provided. Their similarities and differences have been captured from the aspect of functionality, production cost, and durability. The two concepts have also been analyzed based on their behavior since it is what makes them viable in the technological world.