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The two basic forms of semiconductor random-access memory are dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM).
SRAM is faster, more expensive and less dense than DRAM, and is used for cache memory.
DRAM is used for main memory.
To compensate for the relatively slow speed of DRAM, a number of advanced DRAM organisations have been introduced.
The two most common are Synchronous DRAM and RamBus DRAM.
Both of these involve using the system clock to provide for the transfer of blocks of data.
The PS2 uses Synchronous DRAM and RamBus DRAM.
SDRAM – Synchronous Dynamic RAM – fast and relatively inexpensive.
RDRAM – Rambus Dynamic RAM – first developed for the N64 – adapted for PCs in 1999. More expensive than SDRAM, RDRAM is usually paired with microprocessors faster than 1GHz because it can somewhat increase overall system performance.
The designers of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) had several particular goals in mind when they created the USB standard:
Low implementation cost, so that USB could be used in cheap peripherals like mice and game controllers
Low cabling cost
Lots of devices on the bus
Good speed characteristics for things like printers
The idea was to create a system that would replace all of the different ports on computers (parallel ports, serial ports, special mouse and keyboard ports, etc.) with a single standard. USB achieved all of these goals very effectively, and there will come a day in the not-too-distant future when computers will have nothing but a set of USB connectors on the back.
FireWire, originally created by Apple and later standardized as IEEE-1394, actually preceded USB and had similar goals. The difference is that IEEE-1394 was originally intended for devices working with lots more data -- things like camcorders, DVD players and digital audio equipment. IEEE-1394 and USB share a number of characteristics and differ in some important ways. Here's a summary:
Like USB, IEEE-1394 is a serial bus that uses twisted-pair wiring to move data around.
However, while USB is limited to 12 megabits per second, IEEE-1394 currently handles up to 400 megabits per second.
USB can handle 127 devices per bus, while IEEE-1394 handles 63.
Both USB and IEEE-1394 support the concept of a isochronous device -- a device that needs a certain amount of bandwidth for streaming data. This mode is perfect for streaming audio and video data.
Both USB and IEEE-1394 allow you to plug and unplug devices at any time.
Most digital video cameras have an IEEE-1394 plug. When you attach a camcorder to a computer using IEEE-1394, the connection is amazing. With the right software the computer and the camera communicate, and the computer can download all of the scenes on the tape automatically and with perfect digital clarity.
In the picture, we can see that there are four main parts to the hardware architecture of the Sony’s PlayStation 2 game console.
Let's look at them one at a time.
1). The I/O Processor (IOP) handles all USB, FireWire, and game controller traffic. When you're playing a game on the PS2, the IOP takes your controller input and sends it to the Emotion Engine so that the Emotion Engine can update the state of the game world appropriately.
The Emotion Engine is the heart of the PS2, and the part that really makes it unique.
2). The Emotion Engine is the heart of the PS2, and the part that really makes it unique. The Emotion Engine handles two primary types of calculations and one secondary type:
Geometry calculations : transforms, translations, etc.
Behavior/World simulation : enemy AI, calculating the friction between two objects, calculating the height of a wave on a pond, etc.
Misc. functions : program control, housekeeping, etc.
3). When all is said and done, the Emotion Engine's job is to produce display lists (sequences of rendering commands) to send to the Graphics Synthesizer . The Graphics Synth is a sort of video accelerator. It does all the standard video acceleration functions, and its job is to render the display lists that the EE sends it.
4).Finally, the Sound Processor is the "soundcard" of the PS2.
5) The Emotion Engine is sort of a combination CPU and DSP Processor, whose main function is simulating 3D worlds.
A modified 733-MHz Intel Pentium III processor with a maximum bus transfer rate of 6.4 gigabytes per second (GBps) The Xbox possesses the fastest processing speeds for a game console to date. For comparison, the PlayStation 2 has a 300-MHz processor and a maximum bus transfer rate of 3.2 GBps. The Nintendo GameCube has a 485-MHz processor and a 2.6-GB maximum bus transfer rate.
A custom 250-MHz 3-D graphics processor from Nvidia that can process more than 1 trillion operations per second and produce up to 125 million polygons per second Polygons are the building blocks of 3-D graphic images . Increasing the number polygons results in sharper, more detailed images. The graphics processor also supports high resolutions of up to 1920x1080 pixels. For comparison , the PlayStation 2 has a 150-MHz graphics processor and produces 70 million polygons per second. The GameCube has a 162-MHz graphics processor and produces 12 million polygons per second.
The GameCube is powered by a 485-megahertz (MHz) IBM microprocessor , an extension of the IBM PowerPC architecture. It has a maximum bus transfer rate of 2.6 GB per second. The Gekko also features 256 kilobytes (KB) of level 2 (L2) cache memory.
(Level 1 cache (L2) is built into the processor chips, whereas Level 2 cache is located on a separate chip and takes a little more time to get data to the processor.)
An ATI 162-MHz graphics chip, called "Flipper," allows the GameCube to produce about 12 million polygons per second. Polygons are the building blocks of 3-D graphics . Increasing the number of polygons results in sharper, more detailed images. In comparison, the Nintendo 64 produces 150,000 polygons per second.
A special 16-bit digital signal processor supports 64 audio channels.
The GameCube has 40 MB of RAM (24 MB 1T-SRAM, 16 MB of 100-MHz DRAM).
Gamers can now attach a modem to the GameCube. The modem fits into a serial port on the underside of the console.
All Game Boy devices made today have an 8-bit central processing unit (CPU). The Game Boy Advance generates computing speeds up to 17 times faster than its predecessors, with a 32-bit CPU developed by ARM Ltd. Game Boy Advance is capable of displaying 32,000 colors in bitmap mode or 511 simultaneous colors in character mode. It has a palette of 65,535 colors that it can potentially display.
The device offers 32 kilobytes of Window Random Access Memory (WRAM) and 96 kilobytes of Video RAM ( VRAM ). It also has 256 kilobytes of external WRAM.
Game Boy Advance is equipped with a PCM stereo sound generator .
PCM means Pulse Coded Modulation can record and playback the audio much better than AM or FM which is the analogue system and can do as good as CD.
WiFi is the wireless way to handle networking. It is also known as 802.11 networking and wireless networking . The big advantage of WiFi is its simplicity. You can connect computers anywhere in your home or office without the need for wires. The computers connect to the network using radio signals, and computers can be up to 100 feet or so apart.
Upper Screen: Backlit, 3-inch, semitransparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256x192 pixel resolution and .24 mm dot pitch
Touch Screen: Same as upper screen, but with transparant analog touch screen
The PSP has the same amount of CPU power as the full-size Playstation2
The first thing most people notice about the PSP is the widescreen monitor that takes up practically the entire width of the device. The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and features a 480x272-pixel TFT-LCD screen
Sony has also designed an all-new format for the medium that carries games, movies and other information for use on the PSP. Universal Media Discs (UMD) are 60-mm optical discs that hold up to 1.8 gigabytes (GB) of information.
Sony reports that the UMD cartridge was designed to be manufactured quickly and for lower costs than earlier, lower-capacity portable media.
Earlier game systems, both portable and console-based, have split different functions into separate processors, such as a processor for graphics and a processor for mathematical calculations.
The PSP takes this concept to another level: It features a main central processing unit, a media processor, a 3-D graphics processor, a security processor to prevent piracy and a final processor to manage power and conserve battery life.
Widescreen, backlit 4.5-inch TFT LCD monitor with 16:9 aspect ratio and 480x272 resolution
MIPS R4000-based 333-MHz CPU
Graphics sub-system running at 166 MHz on a 512-bit bus with 2 MB of DRAM, rendering 664 million pixels per second and 35 million polygons per second.
Dynamic random access memory has memory cells with a paired transistor and capacitor requiring constant refreshing.
Graphics engine supporting directional 16- or 32-bit colour, lighting, clipping, environment projection and texture mapping, fogging, alpha blending, depth and stencil tests, vertex blending for morphing-style effects, and dithering.
Think of texture mapping like wrapping a present. Each side of the box you are wrapping is a blank polygon. Mapping requires the use of another image. This other image essentially is stretched over the object like a skin. Most video game consoles and computer graphics adapters contain a special chip and dedicated memory that stores the special images used for texture mapping and applies them to each polygon on the fly.
3-D graphics processing using NURBS ( nonuniform rational B-splines ) as well as conventional polygon rendering.
NURBS , short for nonuniform rational B-splines , are a computer graphics technique for drawing curves. A NURBS curve is defined by a set of weighted control points, the curve's order and a knot vector .
Graphics in the PSP are driven by a combination of two graphics cores. Graphics Core 2 is similar to the Graphics Synthesizer in the PlayStation 2, but it runs at around half the clock speed of its PS2 counterpart (166Mhz compared with 300Mhz) and as such, has about half of the theoretical polygon throughput of the PS2.
Perhaps more interesting is Graphics Core 1, which offers a range of 3D curved surface and other hardware 3D functionality. How useful the more advanced functions in this core will be to development remains to be seen - Sony is likely to make a lot of noise about the NURBS and curved surface abilities of the PSP, but in the real world, developing games to use these tools is extremely difficult and most developers are likely to fall back on good old polygons.
However, there's no doubt that other functions of Core 1 - such as compressed texture handling and proper hardware clipping - will speed up graphics on the PSP significantly, and developers who do decide to use the curved surface abilities may well turn out some very impressive games.
USB 2.0 port, Memory Stick port, Universal Media Disc slot, stereo headphone jack and WiFi wireless LAN port
In terms of audio, the PSP is also ahead of other home consoles - with reconfigurable DSPs and full multi-channel 3D sound in hardware, both of which are missing from the PS2. It also features a high quality digital video decoder for playing back movies from the UMD discs.