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.

DDR SDRAM

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.

DDR2

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.

DDR3

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.

DDR4

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.

Ram

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

Mono

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.

Stereo

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.

Surround

 

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.

 

portability

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 ->
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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

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DRAM:

  • 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.

SRAM:

  • 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.

 

SDRAM:

  • 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.

interface device: game devices

Joypad
Joypads are a type of control that requires you to hold it with two hands by the handle. It is the most used and produce type of controller due it does not focus in any specific  area so most use them. It also is one of the oldest types of controllers which was first started on the NES and is still being used till today. A first person shooter that used an XBOX 360 would use the RT button to shoot, LT to throw grenades , LB to switch grenades, RB to reload, A to jump, B to melee, Y to switch guns, X to interact with vehicles, left analog stick to move, right analog stick to move the camera, dpad to moves, start to pause and select to bring up the score. Whilst in real time stratgy game on it you would use start to pause the game, select to see the score, A to select units, B to deselect, right analog to spin the camera, left analog to move the camera, dpad to navagate the menus, RB to quick select units, LB to plot a units course, RT to bring a menu, LT to move the camera qucker.

Mouse
Mouse is a type of controller that is mainly only used on a computer. Mouse are not just limited to being used for games as it is the main way for users to control the cursor.  Mouse are used in many different types of games such as in a first person shooter you would use track pad to move the camera and you would use the left click to shoot meanwhile  in a point and click adventure game you would use track pad to move the cursor and you would use the left click to interact with things.

Virtual reality devices

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.

portability

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.