Stand alone connectivity

Virgin media
Virgin media

The definition of standalone is when a device is able to function interdependently of another hardware. What this means is that it is not integrated with another device. An example of this can be seen if you look at TiVo box. This is a popular TV box by virgin media which offers an array of features, including recording shows when they on TV. The TiVo box is independent, as it can record TV. Whereas a DVR is not standalone as it must be integrated into a digital cable box to record. In terms of software, stand alone refers to programs which don’t need any other software to run aside from  the operating system. So most software programs are in fact standalone, but software like expansion packs for video games are not standalone, as they need the original game to be installed. This standalone connectivity is important for video games which don’t use the internet or any other connection, like many of the older consoles, as there is nothing to patch them or fix them without an internet connection. However with the power of the internet growing, consoles are become less and less Stand alone, with games like Titan fall which can only be played online.

Controller Ports

controller ports
controller ports

Many years ago, controllers required a controller port. Being the yellow DB-15 socket. Now however, most game controllers use USB connections. USB is used almost everywhere now all the way from your console plug ins to even now which is in wall sockets which is great so you wont even need the plug when charging your phone you can just use the wire which is good.

Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network
Local Area Network

Most commonly referred to as LAN, this is a computer network which spans a small area, unlike the internet which covers the whole world pretty much. The general conventions of a LAN is that it will be confined to a single building or group of buildings. Using telephones lines or radio waves can connect one LAN to another LAN over any distance though, however i will come on to that in a moment under WAN. The use of a LAN line is restricted to small tasks such as sending emails to each other, assuming all computers it is sent to is connected to that specific LAN, as well as connecting to chat sessions. However the main use of a LAN is that each individual computer is able to access data and devices that the most up to date computer can, so a computer that cannot connect to a device like a laser printer can connect to a computer which can. The use of Ethernet’s are the most common way to connect PC’s, however there are many other types, such as topology, which is where devices can be arranged in a ring or straight line. While LANS are relatively restricted, they can be used during events such as video game  tournaments, by connecting each computer at the event to a single LAN, and hosting a game on said LAN. This means all participants will be connected to that specific game, making it easier to organize, and less dependent on internet connections.

Wide Area Network (WAN)

wide area network
Wide Area Network

A WAN is two or more LAN that are connected to each other over a long distance. These LAN are connected via public networks like telephone systems. The largest WAN in existence is actually the internet, as it connects every computer to each other. Well the majority of computers at least. Here is a simple diagram which shows both what a LAN is and a WAN.



The internet is a global network which connects millions of computers. Over 190 countries are linked into exchanges of data. The internet is decentralized, which means that each host, or internet enabled computer, is independent. Operators may choose which internet services to use along with which local services to make available to the global internet community. No one owns the internet, as it is considered more of a concept rather than an actual entity, and it relies on physical infrastructure that connects networks to other networks. Unlike the common misconception, the World Wide Web  is not the same as the internet. The internet is a massive network of networks, whereas the web is a way of accessing information over the medium of the internet. Every computer connected to the internet has a unique numerical address, like the equivalent of a finger print to identify a human. This is called an Internet Protocol or IP for short. The IP address of a computer is made up of your bytes of information totaling 32 bits. Because the internet is connected to so many things, we have become dependent on it, using it on our computers, phones, and gaming consoles. the connections around the world help unite people, especially players, as multiplayer online matches are possible because of it. This has helped form a whole genre of player vs player action,sparking interest in many people. However there are issues which ca occur, directly based to the internet connection strength of a user. For example the further away a user is from whoever they are connecting with, the further distance the connection must ping. Because the internet is essentially massive LAN, it means the connection must travel through the networks in the quickest path possible, which in this case would be via satellite. So the longer the distance, the weaker the connection. This can result in issues such as lag,or a complete lack of connection all together.


Broadband is the high speed data transmission carried out by a single cable which s able to carry large amounts of data at a time. The most common types of internet broadband are devices which use the same connection as cable TV named cable modems. As well as DSL modems which rely on phone lines.  Fiber optic broadband is also becoming more and more popular, this technology converts electrical signals carrying data into light, allowing it to be sent much faster through transparent glass fibers, which are about the diameter of a human hair.  The transmitted data is way faster than DSL technology. The downside to fiber optic however is that it is very expensive, and because it is a new and upcoming type of broadband, it is not currently as available as others. Other forms of broadband include wireless, which connects to the internet via radio link between customers and their service provider’s facility.

Wireless General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

AKA GPRS, this is a packet based wireless communication service that promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps as well as a continuous connection to the internet for mobile phone and computer users. Being on the GPRS means that you can use video calling technology such as Skype, and because of the speed, there is less chance of there being lag. However the most beneficial aspect to this is the strength in mobile support, making it easier to make applications available to users due to the faster data rate. GPRS has become more and more popular since the popularity of smart phones has grown because of the 3G network it provides for its phone users. This is internet connection available wherever the user is, as the connection is intercepted via the radio service. Even handheld gaming devices are making the most of services such as this, like the PS Vita which includes 3G connectivity. This is helping boost online features within a handheld, something which has not really been a focus on that platform since it is designed to be played on the go.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)

Once again accompanied by a acronym, WAP. this is a  secure specification, which means that it allows users to access information instantly using handheld wireless devices like a mobile phone, two way radios, and handheld gaming consoles. WAP is supported by al operating systems, making it very flexible, and the internet which runs on WAPs that use displays are called micro-browsers. This is simply browsers which have a small file size to take into consideration the low memory constraints of handheld devices. Although it is a relatively new network, WAP supports most wireless networks. Once again, with this sort of technology becoming more and more popular, it is helping the gaming platform immensely. In fact the popularity of mobile games is a direct result of the internet capabilities now available. And multiplayer mobile games like “Clash of Clans” which require an internet connection to play are becoming immensely popular because of the ease of access to the internet on the go.



Most devices these days can access WiFi, and everyone sort of just accepts it as something that gives us internet if we connect to it. But what exactly is WiFi? Well it is a wireless network technology that allows computers and phones etc. to communicate with each other. It is the standard way of computers to connect to wireless networks, such as the ones covered above, and nearly all modern computers have a built in WiFi chip allowing them to connect to routers. Video game consoles also have a heavy dependence on WiFi connection within most of the modern games. So much so that before the release of the Xbox One, it was proposed that was going to be needed to be connected to the internet for it to work at all. This was changed before the release when people began complaining, but it just goes to show the dependence the gaming genre has on it. Although it is very popular, WiFi isn’t always the best way to connect to the internet, as it can be unstable and unpredictable because of its nature. This is why physical connection to a router via Ethernet cables are always more reliable, although less practical.



The whole point of Bluetooth is to reduce the amount of wires required for technology, allowing for a less cluttered space and for more freedom of movement. This is why one of the most recognizable pieces of Bluetooth technology is the wireless earpiece, which allows people to talk to people on the phone but hands free. This is done by using a special radio frequency to transmit data, the downside to this however is the lack of range, meaning there will always need to be a main transmitter near by. In the case of hands free ear pieces, this would mean that the actual mobile phone would need to be near by to connect to the ear piece. Another common use for Bluetooth is the transferal of data such as songs or photos between devices without having to use wires, as most mobile devices have Bluetooth capabilities. The PlayStation 3 is most notable within the gaming genre to use Bluetooth, as their wireless controllers work on the frequency, as well as their headsets. This proves the use of Bluetooth can also help in not just conventional calls but also online chatting as well.

Sound Cards

What is a sound Card:

is an expansion card which is used to produce sound on a computer which can be heard through speakers or headphones. Some computers dont need a sound device to function  however they are included on every machine either in an expansion slot or in built into the motherboard.

Computer sound card

Related image

White/Yellow: Used with surround sound or loudspeakers.

Blue:Connection for external audio sources some examples would be tape recorder, record player, or CD player.

Pink:The connection for a Microphone or even Headphones

Green:The primary sound connection for your speakers or headphones.


Best Sound Card: Asus Xonar DSX PCle 7.1 £57.60

the Asus Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 sound card is perfect for both movies and games.

Best Budget : Asus Xonar GHX PCle GX2.5 $40






Graphic Processors and Displays

  • What is a Graphic Processor?
    A GPU is used to accelerate the process and creation of images on a hardware device. the world’s first GPU was the GeForce 256 by Nvidia in 1999.
  • Types of graphic processors:
    • Dedicated Graphics cards: Dedicated GPU is when the GPU uses its own memory and processor so, it relies on itself to work
    • Integrated Graphics cards: Integrated GPU is when the GPU is integrated into the CPU so, it takes memory and processing power from the rest of the device.
    • Hybrid Graphics Processing: hybrid means that the GPU is both integrated and dedicated methods to give options for how much power usage the device uses and performance output from the device.
  • Types of Displays
    • LED (Light-Emitting Diode) display is a a screen display that uses a panel of LEDs as the light source to display content from the device.
    • CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) is a display that uses a vacuum tube coated with phosphors to emit light onto the display from the device
  • VR Headset Displays
    • Comprised of 2 small led screens that displays in 720p

Different types of Ram

SDRAM: Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory

Started to be used in systems in 1996 Unlike older variants it timed its processes to the CPU clock speed. This makes the system more efficient as the CPU does not have to wait for the memory to catch up to receive the information ready for processing. This type of memory is only Single Data Rate which means the I/O, internal clock and bus clock are the same. This has the negative of this type of Ram only being able to read/write once per CPU cycle. This means it will have to wait for the next cycle to give new information.


This stands for Double Data Rate SDRAM. This allows the transfer of data twice per clock cycle. This improves the rate at which tasks are performed as it does no limit the the rate the CPU and process the information. This doubles the speed at which data can be passed without changing the overall clock speed or speed of the Ram.


This improves the bus signal from normal DDR. This increases the overall transfer speed so that information is transferred faster. As well as the voltage and power consumption has been reduced. This means less power will be wasted which is useful for machines like servers that are on all the time.


The trend of reducing power consumptions continues with it being cut by 40% since the last iteration. The prefetch buffer width has also been doubled since last time which means that it can transfer the same amount of data in half the time of DDR2.


The reliability of data transfers is heavily improved with the addition DBI (Data Bus Inversion) and CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check). This will improve the stability of the memory. The overall transfer rate has also been drastically improved.


Power Supplies

Internal Power Supplies

Portable game platforms originally made use of external power supplies (AA batteries, etc.) for a long period of time, in order to provide power to them. It was not until the Nintendo DS that portable game platforms began to make use of internal re-chargeable batteries via the use of a power cable. Said cables take power from standard outlets and send it to the battery to be recharged; eliminating the need to replace the battery.

Other platforms that use internal power supplies are as follows:

  • Desktop PCs / Laptops
  • Consoles (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, etc.)
  • etc.

External Power Supplies

When portable game platforms were a newer technology, they made use of external power sources. Examples of these would be non-chargeable batteries that had to be placed into the device and then replaced when depleted.

Sound – Mono, Stereo, and Surround


Monophonic (Mono) is a system in which all audio signals are mixed together and directed through a single audio channel. Mono systems can have multiple loudspeakers, and even multiple widely separated loudspeakers. The key is that the signal contains no level and arrival time/phase information that would replicate or simulate directional cues. Common types of mono systems include single channel center clusters, mono split cluster systems, and distributed loudspeaker systems with and without architectural delays. Mono systems can still be full-bandwidth and full-fidelity and are able to reinforce both voice and music effectively. The big advantage to mono is that everyone hears the very same signal, and, in properly designed systems, all listeners would hear the system at essentially the same sound level. This makes well-designed mono systems very well suited for speech reinforcement as they can provide excellent speech intelligibility.


True stereophonic sound systems have two independent audio signal channels, and the signals that are reproduced have a specific level and phase relationship to each other so that when played back through a suitable reproduction system, there will be an apparent image of the original sound source. Stereo would be a requirement if there is a need to replicate the aural perspective and localization of instruments on a stage or platform, a very common requirement in performing arts centers.

This also means that a mono signal that is panned somewhere between the two channels does not have the requisite phase information to be a true stereophonic signal, although there can be a level difference between the two channels that simulates a position difference, this is a simulation only. That’s a discussion that could warrant a couple of web pages all by itself.

An additional requirement of the stereo playback system is that the entire listening area must have equal coverage of both the left and right channels, at essentially equal levels. This is why your home stereo system has a “sweet spot” between the two loudspeakers, where the level differences and arrival time differences are small enough that the stereo image and localization are both maintained. This sweet spot is limited to a fairly small area between the two loudspeakers and when a listener is outside that area, the image collapses and only one or the other channel is heard. Living with this sweet spot in your living room may be OK, since you can put your couch there, but in a larger venue, like a church sanctuary or theatre auditorium, that sweet spot might only include 1/3 the audience, leaving 2/3 of the audience wondering why they only hear half the program.

In addition a stereo playback system must have the correct absolute phase response input to output for both channels. This means that a signal with a positive pressure waveform at the input to the system must have the same positive pressure waveform at the output of the system. So a drum, for instance, when struck produces a positive pressure waveform at the microphone and should produce a positive pressure waveform in the listening room. If you don’t believe that this makes a tremendous difference, try reversing the polarity of both your hifi loudspeakers some day and listening to a source that has a strong centre sound image like a solo voice. When the absolute polarity is flipped the wrong way, you won’t find a stable centre channel image, it will wander around away from the centre, localizing out at both the loudspeakers.



Human Computer Interface

Human-Computer Interface

It is very important for computers to have user friendly controls because people want to navigate computer systems easily and quickly, they will become frustrated will poorly made controls which are not responsive.

ergonomic design

Ergonomics must be taken into account when designing any new product, it must be made to be comfortable for use in its environment. Modern computer equipment has to be made ergonomically because it is used for long periods of time. Technology designers have to do research into the shape of the human hand, and find the most comfortable way of resting it on a mouse or keyboard.




button configurations

In addition to having hands rest comfort of computer equipment it is also important to keep buttons and keys in easy to use places. Keyboards must follow a conventional layout so that users can use them without needing to relearn key locations. This can also be seen in gaming controllers which are specifically designed to be easy to use all of the buttons.






user-centred design

The design of new technology’s must be focus on how the user will use it. There are a number of areas which must be looked to in order to ensure a design will be easy for users to handle.

specify the context of use: Identify the people who will use the product, what they will use it for, and under what conditions they will use it.

Specify requirements: Identify any business requirements or user goals that must be met for the product to be successful.

Create design solutions: This part of the process may be done in stages, building from a rough concept to a complete design.

Evaluate designs: Evaluation – ideally through usability testing with actual users – is as integral as quality testing is to good software development.



With modern smart devices such as mobile phones it has become more and more important for devices to be portable. Nowadays almost all smartphones will use a touch screen so that buttons can dynamically change with the screen and also removes the need for buttons which stick out. Devices such as the Nintendo switch have controls which are very versatile as they can be removed from the device, combined together or used separately giving users many options when playing games.


Central Processing Unit

This is the brain of most modern devices: PCs, laptops, servers, phones, etc.

Image result for fetch decode execute cycle

Processing Cycle

The CPU is composed of an ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit), CU (Control Unit), as well as memory (usually in the form of cache). As the main component of a computer system, the CPU processes various instructions; these would stored in the form of lines of code within an executable.

In order to process these instructions, the CPU has to gather information from storage (like a HDD) or memory (in the form of RAM); this process is also known as fetch. During this phase, the CPU may receive both instructions (assembly code) and data.

Next, the CU decodes these instructions and data into a form that  the ALU can understand; for example, the operation mov, which moves a value into a memory location, would equate to various parts in the CPU’s circuitry to be used. In order the figure what circuitry is needed, the CU would decode the operation mov into the corresponding circuitry.

Lastly, the ALU executes the operation requested; depending on the CPU’s architecture, such x86/x64 and ARM, this step may be carried out over one cycle or multiple cycles, respectively.

Here is an example of the processing cycle in action, when performing an addition of 2 numbers:

The CPU gets to a byte in RAM that contains the command ADD 1 2 The CPU might do this process in 3 distinct cycles:

  1. MOV 1 A – The CU would set the memory location A in cache to the value 1.
  2. MOV 2 B – The CU would set the memory location B in cache to the value 2.
  3. ADD A B – The CU connects the memory locations A and B to the inputs of the ALU (which is configured into addition mode). The ALU then executes this operation and outputs a singular result into memory.


What Is RAM? Baby Don’t RAM me no more(DRAM, SRAM & SDRAM)

Not this type of Ram ->

RAM stand for Random Access Memory, and is typically volatile meaning that the data is deleted once the is no power.

There are three common types of RAM(not including the animal) DRAM, SRAM & SDRAM.

RAM has recently increased in price due to Crypto Mining and a lack of supply



  • stands for Dynamic Random Access Memory
  • Its Volatile which means that any data stored on the DIM will be lost if there is a loss of power. This makes RAM useful for programmes which want to temporarily store data which can be called upon quickly and doesn’t need to be permanently stored.


  • Static random-access memory
    • Unlike  DRAM, SRAM is not need to be refreshed
  • Consumes a low amount of power
  • Expensive
  • small capacity compared to DRAM
  • Some versions can be non-volatile meaning that the data is saved even if power is lost.



  • Synchronous dynamic  Random Access Memory
  • DDR SDRAM(Double Data rate synchronous dynamic Random access memory)
  • Different iterations each improving on the last such as voltages and clock speeds :
    • DDR 1- bus clock: 100-200 MHz
      • Voltage: 2.5
    • DDR 2- bus Clock: 200- 533.33 MHz
      • Voltage: 1.8
    • DDR 3- Bus Clock: 400–1066.67 MHz
      • Voltage: 1.5
    • DDR 4- Bus Clock: 1066.67–2133.33 MHz
      • Voltage: 1.05

Graphics Processors and Displays

  • investigate Graphic processors: types; speed; cache; address/data bus; two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) processor, eg pixels, polygons, nurbs; speed; graphics memory

Speed – The greater the clock speed, such as 2 GHz vs. 3 GHz  does not automatically mean that the later graphics card will have twice the performance.  Sometimes 3 GHz clock speeds are slower than 2 GHz if they are based on an inferior GPU architecture.

Type – Older PCs will have Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) type bus slots for installing graphics adapters.  Newer PCs have x16 Peripheral Component Interface Express (PCI-E or PCIe) as the standard way to connect the graphics card to the motherboard.  PCI-Express offers roughly twice the data transfer rate of 8x AGP, so if you have a choice, use the PCI-E slots.