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Hardware Technologies

PC Assembly


Central Processing Unit (CPU) & Graphics Processing

Unit (GPU)
The Central Processing Unit (CPU), also known as the brain of the
computer and a processor/microprocessor, is used to execute programs -
an input device is used in order for those programs to take inputs. When
those inputs are processed, the results of those inputs are then
outputted using an output device. CPUs are used in computers, mobile
phones etc. to perform algorithms, input, output and logical operations of
the system and a CPU can be located on the motherboard. [1] [2] [3]
http://www.computerhope.com/jargon/c/cpu.htm &

When it comes to the processing speed of CPUs, its processing speed

depends on its clock speed (the amount of instructions followed through
per second). The clock speed of a CPU is editable, but if its edited the
lifespan of the platform decreases as well as having a higher chance of
overheating than it was originally. If the CPU overclocks though, the risks
that come with it can be countered to an extent by installing cooling fans
next to the CPUs to cool down the heat thatll be generated as its running
oil and liquid cool machines are better alternatives as their cooling
power is much stronger than cooling fans. Another way to cool down the
CPU is by using heat sinks thatll draw the heat away from the CPU to
prevent it from burning out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_sink, https://www.quietpc.com/lq1000,
https://www.pugetsystems.com/submerged.php & http://pc-dial-a-

Processing speeds of CPUs are measured in hertz and processors such as

an Intel Core i5-4460 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor and an AMD Core FX-
8320 Processor reach megahertz and gigahertz speeds. Plus, when
overclocked, chip[s] can reach clock speeds around 5GHz, in fact, there
are processors that now exist that can reach clock speeds above 5GHz
when overclocked. These are/will be used in e.g. AlienWare computers. [4]
The CPU has its own cache referred to as the CPU Cache, which is used to
reduce the average time to access memory, allowing for the capabilities
of the CPU to be large and quick cache is measured in bytes such as
megabytes. If CPUs didnt have their own cache and relied on pulling
information from RAM or the hard drive, it would be much slower. [5]
The most common CPUs in the modern day are Intel and AMD processors
where the fastest PC processor was born on August 2014, being the first
processor to hold eight cores within it, trumping the dual-cores and quad-
cores that are commonly used for high-power and high-performance.
Unfortunately, dual-cores and quad-cores are still commonly used because
the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition chip is incredibly expensive, costing
$999 per chip in 1000-unit quantities. [6]


Now for GPUs, the difference between the CPU and the GPU is that the
CPU is used to process the computer, whereas the GPU is a processor
thats dedicated to rendering the graphics of images and images
displayed on a device. GPUs do this by rapidly manipulating/altering
memory to speed up frame buffer image creativity intended for display
output. [7] GPUs focus on the acceleration and rendition of both 2D and
3D, simply meaning that GPUs can/need to perfectly render two-
dimensional pictures (e.g. from the operating systems desktop) and
three-dimensional pictures for video games like WWE 2K17. [8]

The most well-known companies that make the best GPUs today are
NVidia, ATI and Intel. Although most GPUs can only run one command at a
time, there are some GPUs that are able to pipeline, meaning that they
can run a second command before the first [is] completed as several
instructions are given at once.

http://wccftech.com/marvelous-gpu-showcase-photo-contest/ &

[Random Access] Memory (RAM)

The purpose of RAM is it allows processors to take and use memory for
e.g. files directly rather than eventually, so RAM enables faster data
access than storage media such as solid-state drives RAM is located
close to a computers processor. [9]

http://searchstorage.techtarget.com/definition/DRAM &

There are three types (or memory subsystems) of random access

memory: Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory (RDRAM), Static
Random Access Memory (SRAM) and Dynamic Random Access Memory
RDRAM provides a 16-bit/2-byte data bus rather than an 8-bit data bus
and it has a peak data transfer rate of 1.6 billion bytes per second
because it can reach a speed of 800MGz. Due to this, the idea of this type
of memory is that is meant to accelerate the growth of visually intensive
interfaces such as 3-D, which means (in itself) that RDRAM is intended
to be a replacement of DRAM. [10]
DRAM is currently the commonly used memory for e.g. computer data and
program code that CPUs/GPUs require to function, where it stores it in a
storage cell consisting of a capacitor and a transistor. The reason RAM
storage cells such as DRAM storage cells are dynamic is because they
need to be refreshed as capacitor charge leak compensation. The
advantages given from using DRAM is its quality speed and low cost
compared to alternative memories, but the disadvantages of using DRAM
is its volatility (it uses quite a bit of power in order to store data) and its
high power consumption (mainly because of its volatility) compared to
alternative memories.
SRAM is the predecessor to DRAM as Memory designers reduced the
number of elements per bit and eliminated differential bit lines to save
chip area to create DRAM, making it cheaper than SRAM to produce in
large quantities. The difference between SRAM and DRAM is that DRAM
storage cells have to be constantly refreshed, whereas SRAM storage cells
dont need to be refreshed constantly because its current flow switches
directions rather than holding a fixed-charge. Although, due to the rise of
DRAM, instead of SRAM being used as an all-round memory, its usually
used for cache memory now since it can access cache memory quicker
than DRAM. In addition, SRAM is also capable of reading byte-level reads
and writes faster than DRAM as well. Finally, in terms of power
consumption, DRAM consumes less power if a system is active, but on the
contrary SRAM consumes a lot less power when the system is in
sleep/standby mode.
In order to remember and store e.g. files on a computer, the computer
needs memory. Over the years, the double data rate memory has up-
staged itself, allowing data running through the computer to transfer
quicker. The progression of DDR such as DDR5 has also allowed for those
faster internal data transfers for a lower consumption of energy.

Last of all, theres a memory access named Unified Memory Access
(UMA) which, to briefly put it, is a computer memory architecture used in
parallel computers, allowing GPUs to share system memory. [11]



There are two types of display: external displayers like a T.V and built-in
displayers that are used in handheld devices such as the Nintendo 3DS.
Secondly, theres two formats of display: colour and monochrome. Thirdly,
theres different ways of display as well: Cathode Ray Tubing (CRT), Liquid
Crystal Display (LCD), a Thin Film Transistor (TFT), Plasma Display
Panelling (PDP) & an Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED).
Theres micro-browsers (ran when WAPs use displays and access the
internet) which are browsers with small file sizes that can accommodate
the low memory constraints of handheld devices and the low-bandwidth
constraints of a wireless-handheld network. [12]

CRTs are slightly curved displays that produce images when a beam of
electrons hits a phosphorescent surface like on a desktop computer. [13]
An electron gun is used to generate the electron beam and images are
produced when complex signals are applied to the deflecting horizontal
and vertical coils, meaning that an extremely low frequency
electromagnetic field is created, causing the beam to move in a raster.


This illustration would be an example of a monochrome, but CRTs these

days can render coloured images as well as monochrome images three
electron guns which produce the colours red, green and blue (RGB) which
overlap as a RGB colour-model.

LCDs are typically the go-to technology for notebook computers and, in
comparison to CRTs, LCDs allow displays to be thinner. Plus, in comparison
to [organic] LEDs, LCDs have a lower power consumption since they block
light instead of emitting it. [14] LCDs are made with passive and/or active
matrix display grids where the passive matrix grid has a grid of
conductors with pixels located at each intersection in the grid, where the
pixel light is controlled by sending a current across two of the grids


The superiority of the two matrixes (active matrix) is also referred to as

the TFT display where transistors are located at intersections rather than
conductors, so a TFT display can be turned on and off, improving screen
refresh time, because it doesnt need as much current to control the
pixels luminance. Likewise, higher resolution is achieved using this matrix
too its still superior even though passive matrix LCDs can dual scan.

PDPs are computer video displays, which are thinner than both CRTs and
LCDs, that illuminate every pixel on the screen with a miniscule amount of
plasma and can display both digital and analog video signals. The
illumination and its version of a RGB colour-model is achieved by charging
gas and then having it react with phosphors. [15]


Furthermore, PDPs are flat unlike CRTs so the edges of this type of
screening will not get distorted (including when it goes into an extremely
wide viewing angle).


To end for this section, OLEDs are LEDs that respond to currents with a
light produced by an organic-compounded emissive electroluminescent
layer. Similar to LCDs, this layer is a conductor (actually a semi-
conductor), which is situated between one transparent electrode and one
non-transparent electrode, and alike PDPs, OLEDs create digital displays
from digital video signals for e.g. handheld devices. [16] Secondly as a
similarity, OLEDs can use passive and active display grids as well! OLEDs
best LCDs since these diodes work without a backlight, thus it can display
deep black levels and can be thinner and lighter, projecting a higher
contrasted image (when necessary), than a liquid crystal display (LCD).

Lastly of the processing unit family, there are audio processors that alter
and allow sound to be heard, as an audio effect or a series of audio
effects, on a platform since all auditory signals runs through this type of
processor Mono, Stereo, 3D Surround Sound. The responsibilites of audio
processors are that they must prevent overmodulation, compensate for
non-linear transmitters and adjust overall loudness to the desired [decibel]

Auditory signals are electronically represented in two formats known as
digital and analog auditory signals which is why there are two different
audio processors: digital processors and analog processors signal
processing is enabled between both domains so this type of processing
could occur in either format. The difference between the two audio
processors is that analog processors operate directly on the electrical
signal, [whereas] digital processors operate mathematically on the digital
representation of that signal. [17] This means that a digital
representation is expressed e.g. by binary numbers, permitting computers
and CPUs to process signals. On the other hand, an analog representation
is expressed by a continous stream of data like an functional electrical
circuit, meaning that the processing must be physically altered rather
than altered by technology. This is why most modern audio systems use
digital signal processing techniques rather than analog signal processing
(ASP) techinques because processing digitally is incredibly more powerful
and efficient. The only reason analog processing was considered by audio
systems is because digital processing didnt exist years ago, so ASP was
the only method of choice to manipulate audio signals.

ww.terapeak.com/worth/analog-audio-processor-venetc-ap-01/252389105255/ &
The commodities of PCs are Local Area Networking (LAN) & Wired/Ethernet
and Wireless/Wi-Fi Internet Connectivity. LAN is a group of devices and
peripherals that share the same communications line or wireless server
link (that is connected to a specific geographical area) to share resources
like network storage. [18]


Wired/Ethernet and Wireless/Wi-Fi have similarities because theyre both

the main ways to enable connections across a LAN, but Ethernet has
computers communicate with each other unlike Wi-Fi where it uses radio
waves to connect computers to the LAN. There are LAN technologies such
as Token Ring, Fiber Distributed Data Interface and ARCNET. However,
theyre not popular choices [anymore] since Ethernet and Wi-Fi
connectivity is much faster compared to these technologies. Speaking of
speed, Ethernet is that Ethernet is much faster than Wi-Fi! Although, why
Wi-Fi is a popular connectivity choice as well is because its more
convenient than Ethernet, despite that wireless interference problems can
arise. For example, a device like an iPhone can connect to an available
network anytime, anywhere using Wi-Fi in contrast to Ethernet which
requires plugging in an Ethernet Cable (still attached to a router) to
nearby areas. [19]

http://hot-spotwifi.com/ & http://www.howtogeek.com/217463/wi-fi-vs.-ethernet-

Theres also the commodities for Mobile and Handheld Devices: Wireless
Application Protocol (WAP) and 3G/4G Internet Connectivity. Finally,
Bluetooth is a commodity for both the handheld variety and the PC
variety. WAP allows information to be accessed instantly using a mobile
and/or handheld device and it supports most wireless networks e.g.
ReFLEX and its supported by all operating systems e.g. JavaOS. To put it
briefly, 3G/4G are generations of wireless mobile telecommunications
technology (3G = 3rd generation, 4G = 4th generation) that amends mobile
web access, gaming services etc. [20] They are networks that exist to
allow mobile users to connect to the internet anytime, anywhere (unlike
most networks) with a less restrictive bandwidth, trumping Wi-Fi, though
3G/4G network connection can be impossible at times.
Lastly, Bluetooth is a chip that exchanges and transmits data, using a
special radio frequency, across a short distance wirelessly, creating a
secure short-range network. It can be connected up to eight electronical
devices such as, but not limited to, computers, digital cameras, mobile
phones and faxes. [21]

http://www.adictivomagazine.org/wap-wireless-application-protocol/ &

[Game] Storage
There are two types of storage: standard storage and proprietary storage.
Standard storage can be transported between and used for multiple
platforms such as a compact disc (CD) which is why said CDs are used in
e.g. console and [physical] computer games. In addition to that, thats
why that (for the console market) consoles from different companies such
as Microsofts Xbox One and Sonys PlayStation 4 are all able to use this
kind of storage. Not to mention that due to this storage being able to be
used by anybody, it allows for cross-system compatibility between all
sorts of systems. The downside is that because everyone can use it freely,
manufacturers have no control over standard storage.
There are three types of standard storage: Optical (i.e. CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray
& HD-VD), Magnetic (i.e. Hard Disk) and Flash (i.e. SD Card, USB Stick &
Flash Drive).

http://estudy.wiltshire.ac.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=2298411 &
On the other hand, theres proprietary storage which means that this type
of storage is owned by a specific brand/company and can only be used for
a platform or a variety of platforms manufactured by the same
brand/company e.g. Sony UMD & Vita Card and the Dreamcast VMU.
Proprietary storage is useful as it guarantees that the platform[s] and
system[s] its designed for is completely compatible, but its 100%
compatibility guarantee sacrifices cross-system compatibility since
proprietary storage focuses only on providing storage to products made
by the same manufacturer.

Power Source
In order for gaming platforms to run, they require power which can
sourced out to them internally with an Internal Power Supply Unit or
externally with an External Power Supply Adapter, both powered by mains
electricity. Furthermore, since these two power sources are not portable, if
power was desired to be sourced whilst moving around (using a
mobile/portable device), an External Battery can be used to supply power
to these types of devices. Internal Batteries are portable, but they have a
limited battery charge which depletes overtime until its recharged.
Although the features and limitations of an external battery are practically
the same as an internal battery, what makes an external especially useful
is that (as long as you have a charger cable) you can plug a cable to the
external battery and itll transfer its charge to the device plugged on the
other end of the cable. Whereas, if an external battery wasnt owned, the
user would have to leave the device at a fixed location e.g. home to
charge the internal battery using the mains electricity.
https://www.aliexpress.com/popular/internal-battery.html &

Human Computer Interfaces (HCI) & Interface Devices

There are many different interface devices and peripherals that have been
implemented on gaming controllers over the years such as joysticks,
game-pads and analogue sticks that have re-defined the boundaries of
control when playing games. When peripherals are designed and created,
the creators focus on an array of different types of designs: Ergonomic
design where the interfaces are designed to consider certain factors of
humans, User-centred design where the interfaces are designed
specifically for certain users, and Inclusive design where the interfaces are
designed for the purpose of catering to e.g. people with physical
disabilities. These are some examples that follow these types of designs:


Ergonomic Design Keyboard: The keyboard is a peripheral that has been

transformed constantly throughout time, despite how un-noticed the
changes have been. Two examples of the keyboard being ergonomically
designed are the split and angled split keyboard. The split keyboard has
its keys separated into two/three groups in order to allow for people to
type at a different angle than the normal keyboard. [22] However, that is
a fixed-split keyboard! Theres also an adjustable split keyboard where the
keyboard is split into several independent pieces, so the angle of the keys
on the keyboard can be variated.
These examples of ergonomic keyboards are ergonomically designed
because theyre constructed in a V-Shape, which allows people to type
(two-handed typists) with their left and right hand in a way more natural
to the human form. Plus, due to its construction, it minimizes strain on
the muscles, avoiding injuries and other problems to the human body.
User-Centred Design The Sims 4 Gaming Headset and Mouse: These
are peripherals focused on user-centred design because both this headset
and mouse are specifically designed to improve the immersion for players
on The Sims 4 only as theyll immerse players even deeper into the
emotional life of their Sims, so the experience that players usually get,
when playing The Sims 4 [on a compatible platform], will be expanded.


Inclusive Design AbleNets Impulse System: Finally, AbleNets Impulse

System is a fantastic example of a peripheral being inclusively designed
because it allows/included people with no/abnormal limbs to use a
computer without a keyboard and mouse. This means that the dream for
disabled people (like the mentioned) to be able to play games on the PC
has a become a reality thanks to this device! The Impulse System is a
small device which (someone) can attach anywhere on the disabled
person; it uses electromyography technology, so the system is able to
sense, amplify and transmit the small electrical impulses sent from the
brain to the muscle of the disabled person. [24] Other hardware such as
Bluetooth transmitters are a part of the system and theres crucial
software placed with the hardware such as E Z keys (communications
software) so the disabled users input is interpreted and the commands of
the user is carried out and followed through. The downside to inclusively
designed hardware such as this is that its incredibly expensive because a
lot more software and hardware than usual is utilised in order to create
brand new hardware that caters to e.g. people with disabilities The
Impulse transmitter costs 1,390; 120 disposable electrodes adds 65 to
the price tag.. Not to forget to mention that even when this type of
designed hardware is created, it may only work for i.e. certain operating
systems since the Impulse System only works for Windows XP and
Windows Vista, becoming inept in the future e.g. Windows 10.


In conclusion, specifically for human-computer interfaces, all sorts of HCIs

have different button configurations and levels of portability. For example,
PlayStation games tend to follow the same button configurations, as
theyve been since the 1st generation of the console series, when actions
are aligned with buttons on the PS4 controller as theyre easily recognized
by their users. For example, when RPGs are designed, the buttons tend to
be X to jump, O to crouch, tends not to do much and is to attack.
To conclude, the level[s] of portability is the size and weight of the
interface device or whether its able to be manoeuvred with ease or not.
Last example, a headset is a moderate size and is light so the user can
pick it up with one hand. Therefore, it can be manoeuvred with ease so it
can be used on a different computer (or an entirely different platform)

Most Expensive Hardware PC Part Picker: THERE

Top 5 Most Expensive CPUs

Top 5 Most Expensive [Random Access] Memory


Top 10 Most Expensive Storage (5 Internal & 5 External). Also

Includes Type and Capacity!


Top 5 Most Expensive Power Supplies


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