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QOTD: What's the Most Influential Hardware?

Last response: in News comments
May 7, 2009 12:11:22 AM

The full color graphic monitor. Not much of a world if you can't see it. With the monitor you can see any picture ever taken.
May 7, 2009 12:13:07 AM

The mouse
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May 7, 2009 12:22:14 AM

The USB port. Besides the keyboard and mouse, no other piece of hardware has lived up to the expectations set out for it as well as USB. Almost any external imput device connects this way. It truly is a UNIVERSAL connector.
May 7, 2009 12:27:40 AM

the mouse. it gives me a good start at work.
May 7, 2009 12:31:05 AM

CPU...mainly Pentium by Intel
May 7, 2009 12:33:15 AM

Xerox for giving us the GUI and the Mouse.
May 7, 2009 12:35:00 AM

The thin coating on stuff made by ibm that prevents our stuff form shorting out but that's not really a single piece of hardware.
May 7, 2009 12:35:02 AM

the CD burner changed the world :) 
May 7, 2009 12:46:42 AM

Motherboard - what can you do without one?
May 7, 2009 12:49:00 AM

I'd say transistors... but if we're talking about bigger things, i'd say the mouse. what sets it apart from the obviously important things like cpus, disks and such is that it (and gui, but that's software) was what I believe enabled computing to penetrate the consumer market.

How many lay people do you know can operate a computer using only the keyboard?
May 7, 2009 12:51:37 AM

GreatWalrusMotherboard - what can you do without one?

Have the circuits not printed on pbc but just floating all around.
May 7, 2009 12:55:29 AM

sliced bread changed the world
May 7, 2009 1:04:58 AM

3dfx's Voodoo I and II; my first high dollar peripheral purchases, and the video cards that launched 3D gaming.
May 7, 2009 1:16:12 AM

The Most Influential Hardware ever is the Z80 processor.
It is still used in tons of stuff.
May 7, 2009 1:17:51 AM

echdskechHow many lay people do you know can operate a computer using only the keyboard?

On just the OS I can do pretty much the same with a KB than with a mouse. Things start getting challenging when you try to use apps as many don't have shortcuts for all the functions.
May 7, 2009 1:21:23 AM

superhighperfthe CD burner changed the world

If you say that, then you obviously don't know about the floppy swapping BBSes of the 80's. Software piracy was big even before the internet.
May 7, 2009 1:30:26 AM

May 7, 2009 1:32:08 AM

i wud say the most influential PERIPHERAL would have to be the keyboard, simply because you can survive without a mouse, but not a keyboard.

the most influential hardware would have to be the either the cpu or power supply. a cpu can either make or break the performance of a computer[pent d to c2d], and a terrible power supply won't let you do anything at all
May 7, 2009 1:34:10 AM

The Core i7! :D  Anyways, I say CPU. It is the brain.
May 7, 2009 1:47:26 AM

There is not one single most important thing invented!
A computer is a combination of many inventions in one.
Inventions like:

I'd first say The invention of melting metals, creating conductors and resistors.

2: Electricity, cause without it, a computer is just a steel case with some board, wires and black stones inside.

Provided there exists electricity, then
3: MORSE. Because the pc today exists all thanks to the morse code (or electric pulses sent over a cupper cable) (morse lies on the base of the signals CPU, RAM, and CD/DVD technology, as the first sign of digital code). Later telephony allowed more quality sound to travel.

4: the invention of the transistor.

5: The invention of the TV

6: Invention of the radio

7: Invention of the calculator

8: Invention of the operating system or software

9: Invention of hardware like Graphics card, CD-ROM, cpu, GPU, RAM VRAM, powersupply, input and mobo.

A mouse and keyboard are all important, but the first computers could do without, and where just boards with cables connected to tubes.
May 7, 2009 2:02:30 AM

The Audio Hardware in general, specially stereo (or better) speakers, let's face it, they are the underdog of the peripherals, but they really add a lot to the experience, there are black and white games, even games with no graphics, but without music and sound effects they'll be very very boring
May 7, 2009 2:06:42 AM

echdskech[/nomHow many lay people do you know can operate a computer using only the keyboard?

I know plenty of people who can operate a computer without a dedicated keyboard or a mouse. It is called a touch screen. The HP Touchsmart PC comes to mind...
May 7, 2009 2:15:00 AM

Duhh people... it's THE USER :D 
May 7, 2009 2:18:21 AM

The original Macintosh, back when Apple was about computers and not fashion. It brought the mouse and the GUI to the mainstream (though the concepts were taken from Xerox).
May 7, 2009 2:24:26 AM

CD burner?? What? That thing had a usefulness span of about a decade and is already not necessary. I wouldn't spend a penny more for a CD burner because I will literally NEVER use it. Compact Discs are on the way out and a 700mb medium for storage is worthless. CD burner isn't influential in the slightest.
May 7, 2009 2:34:54 AM

all is influential. I'd say on a logical basis a PSU (in general terms) would be the most important, because without it, there would be no power to run all other subsystems. However, it only counts as the means to a purpose.. blind folks need no screen, touch screens need no keyboard/mouse. tricky...
a motherboard, CPU, Hard drive and all others are tools just like a PSU.

the concept of RESULT would be the true purpose of a computer (Action-reaction). if one can remember the very beginnings of a display (where we could interpret such results), probably a LED could very subtly have a small yet quite significant role in computer's history!

as for true influence.. i read all the above opinions and all seem correct..!

IMO, of course!:) 
May 7, 2009 2:48:33 AM

The most important hardware is defiantly is the hammer.

With hammers we break rocks, we kill animals. The first hammers were simple stones, the we added handles, then we upgraded the stone to a hard metal.

Hammers = Hardware
May 7, 2009 3:18:38 AM

It's a toss up.... My first thought was to mostly agree with one of the first posts - the Hercules graphics adaptor revolutionized the world and made the spreadsheet actually do something that wasn't just a duplication of paper.

My second thought was to agree with another previous post - the Z-80 CPU was the basis of nearly all of the original kit computers. It was easy to program and was fairly easy to build into a board.

I personally think there is an uncanny resemblance between the operation of the zilog chips and the Intel 8080/8086. Motorola chips were different, but the Intel chips even used most of the same mnemonics. This same sort of similarity thoroughly prevades MS-DOS and the first real OS.... CP/M.

So -
1. Hercules Graphics Adaptor
2. Zilog Z-80
3. CP/M

These three items founded the basis of what became a useful machine and moved the microcomputer beyond the garage.
May 7, 2009 3:23:08 AM

I'd have to say the mouse, since it was so uniquely developed. It could be largely argues that the CPU has always been in development, the keyboard is just an evolution of the typewriter, and the monitor is an extension of the basic 1950's television.

The mouse is more than just a revamped joystick, the button functionality, the glide across your desk is a completely different animal.
May 7, 2009 3:24:54 AM

the floopy disk .
May 7, 2009 3:33:04 AM

the 9700 pro =P
May 7, 2009 3:36:20 AM

Oh come on guys... NOBODY said the modem?

The modem is what started me on local BBSs and eventually the internet. Without this piece of technology communications as we know it would have been stifled. I believe without it we wouldnt have the internet as we have it today.

May 7, 2009 3:39:36 AM

A server that host porn.
May 7, 2009 3:41:11 AM

the USB 12 oz. can desk refrigerator
May 7, 2009 4:00:55 AM

LaserJet printers & Hayes modems
May 7, 2009 4:23:11 AM

A.C. electricity. Tesla was a true genius. Edison was a thief.

In today's world, no A.C. then no D.C. .... or radio for that matter. Forget the computer, no T.V., no refrigerator, no electric light etc. (unless of course you'd be willing to buy a few hundred lbs of batteries with your groceries each week!)
May 7, 2009 4:27:37 AM

Wi-Fi definitely changed the world. I mean, without it nobody could take their favorite macbook to their favorite fourbucks to check their favorite email account while sipping their favorite latte. Ah technology at its mass produced finest.
May 7, 2009 4:53:22 AM

The mouse pad!
May 7, 2009 5:27:34 AM

The GeForce 256. Talk about games coming to life-remember the original Need For Speed?; Oh my God, man, I was hooked for life.
May 7, 2009 5:35:46 AM

GUI, GUI, GUI! Without it I would still be using my Commodore 64 and we would not see anywhere near the amount of PCs in the home as we do now. Also, and I hate to say this, Microsoft had a VERY big impact as well. We had no real standard before Windows. Standards = more hardware and software.
May 7, 2009 5:43:24 AM

Oh wait, it's got to be the zip drive. :-) I'm just playing. Click of death piece of crap.
May 7, 2009 5:49:07 AM

The move from line printers & dumb terms to programmable video/graphics capability. graphics cards in other words