Category Archives: Technology Explained

How Shazam Works

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

Shazam is a cellphone app that most of us use for identifying songs that we hear on the radio, playing in a restaurant, or anywhere else really. For us humans, identifying a song is very easy. We can hear a small snippet of a song and identify it very quickly, even if it is played on a different instrument or hummed. We can even identify a song from one single instrument playing, or possibly even the bass line.

LCD and OLED Displays

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

The most commonly available displays on the market today are LCD and OLED, with older technologies such as CRT and plasma being less and less common or even phased out altogether. OLED has been showing up more and more in recent years, with it gaining popularity with Samsung’s AMOLED displays dating back to the original Samsung Galaxy smartphone. These days we are beginning to see OLED used on TVs and computer monitors, albeit at quite a cost.

ECC Memory

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

ECC memory is something you often hear about, but what is it? Every so often, RAM will have an unrecoverable error. This is something that is unavoidable. With 16 GB RAM, there are a total of 137,438,953,472 (that’s over 137 billion bits which can be either one or zero, meaning that a single incorrect bit is an error rate of only 0.00000000073%. As insignificant as this may seem, it is enough to cause an application to crash or a blue screen or death. If this error is in a non-critical area, you might not even notice it in day to day use.

The History of Overclocking

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

Introduction – The First 15 Years

Overclocking may have only become a mainstream exercise is the last decade, but its roots can be traced back to the PC itself. While the methods used to overclock may have changed over the years, the goal has remained the same – to increase the performance of your computer. Much like modifying a car’s engine, overclocking can be done for one of two reasons. Either you can increase the performance of a cheap model to match that of a more expensive model, or you can shoot for performance greater than that of any off-the-shelf components.

How CPU Cache Works

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

You’ve undoubtedly heard about CPU cache and know that a larger cache is better, but what exactly is it and why does it affect performance? Additionally, you may be wondering why the cache is so small, normally between 32 KB and 16 MB depending on the level of cache (which we will explain a bit further one) on a high end processor or less when system RAM is measured in gigabytes.

NVIDIA RTX – A Useless Technology or Something Badly Misunderstood?

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

NVIDIA’s latest graphics cards, the GeForce RTX series, have been taking a beating in the media for their apparent lack of performance improvement over the previous generation. The question that needs to be asked is, is this negativity fair? To answer that, we need to delve into where the expectations come from and what the cards are actually designed to achieve.

NVIDIA G-SYNC

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

You’ve all heard of G-Sync and how it gives a smoother gaming experience, but it is commonly misunderstood how exactly it does so. There is more to a smooth gaming experience than just a high frame rate. In an ideal world, a graphics card and monitor would work in perfect harmony, with each frame being displayed by the screen as soon as it is ready from the graphics card. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily how things work. In fact, most of the time things don’t work that way at all. Before we can explain what G-Sync is, we need to understand the process of displaying motion graphics on a monitor, which is what most of this article will be about. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

80 PLUS Certification

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

The 80 PLUS initiative was launched in 2004 by Ecos Consulting to promote energy efficiency, which results in lower power consumption, less heat output, and therefore greater reliability. The first 80 PLUS PSU was brought to market by Seasonic early the next year. There are currently over 6,400 PSUs in the 80 PLUS database, with more joining the ranks all the time. This is a clear indication that it has been a success and become an industry standard.

3dfx Interactive and Voodoo Graphics – The Technologies Within

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

You could play a PC CD-ROM game without a 3DFX card, but I wouldn’t recommend it” – Gary Keith of Eidos at the time. That’s quite a powerful statement. Most of you have heard of the now-defunct company 3dfx Interactive, which was acquired by NVIDIA in December 2000 for $ 112 million (a process which took more than eight years to finalize), but who were they and what did they do that immortalized them in time? What innovations did they bring to the table that either stuck with us for a significant period of time, possibly appearing in different iterations in other products, and what has stuck with us ever since?

How Ray Tracing Works

TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED

Ray tracing is a rendering technique for more life-like lighting effects in a 3D scene. As the name suggests, each ray of light has its path traced from the camera to objects on screen and then to light sources. Traditionally, games use rasterization for calculating the lighting effects, where the image being displayed on screen is flattened into a 2D plane and the brightness of each pixel is calculated according to the amount of light hitting it. With ray tracing, there is a lot more involved such as reflections, refractions, chromatic aberrations, light scattering and more.