Arkitektur af Konsoller

A practical analysis by Rodrigo Copetti

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At se på udviklingen af videospilkonsoller er fascinerende. Mens konventionelle pc’er har tendens til at udvikle ‘gradvis’, nye generationer af konsoller indføre helt nye måder at arbejde på. Hvad du ser her, er en række artikler, der forhåbentlig vil afdække rationalet bag de nyeste tendenser inden for teknologi. De vil også vise, hvorfor hvert system ikke kan opsummeres af sine ‘bits’, megahertz, mængde af RAM og andet.

Dette er ikke en udvikler manual, blot en dybtgående introduktion til, hvordan hvert system fungerede internt. Husk, at teknologi er blevet virkelig kompliceret på det seneste, så hvis du kæmper for at følge mine seneste artikler, så prøv at læse de tidlige først. De introducerer mange begreber og definitioner, der konstant bliver revideret.

Grundlæggende kendskab til computere er foretrukket, dog forsøger jeg at tilpasse mit indhold til et bredere publikum, så vær ikke bange for at give det et forsøg! Men hvis det ikke er nok, kan du måske se på noget støttende læsemateriale.

Mens jeg forsøger at være så nøjagtige som muligt, hvis du finder nogle fejl, bedes du give mig besked eller foreslår ændringer.

Uden videre, her er de!

3rd generation

Known as '8-bit' consoles, these machines brought more sophisticated graphics and richer sounds than their predecessors. After all, a big market crash just occurred and newer standards had to be set.

Outstanding GPU features: Scrollable tile maps and larger colour palettes.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (in English)

More than a 6502 machine

Sega Master System (in English)

Competent out of the box

4th generation

DMA, horizontal interrupts, multiple modes... These are some examples of the new concepts that brought the new '16-bit' generation, opening the door to new genres of games.

Notable CPU advancements: Multiplication and division instructions, DMA and dual-processing.

Outstanding GPU features: Affine transformations and horizontal interrupts.

PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 (in English)

A small but quick leap

Mega Drive / Genesis (in English)

New techniques of composition

Game Boy / Color (in English)

Simple and portable

Super Nintendo (in English)

Old hardware with mind-blowing features

5th generation

3D gaming has become a need but 'how' is not clear yet. The response? Every company presented their own different vision.

Notable CPU advancements: Pipeline stages and L1 cache.

Outstanding GPU features: Programmable vertex pipelines, Z-buffering and perspective corrections.

Sega Saturn (in English)

What can you do with 8 processors?

PlayStation (in English)

A confident newcomer

Virtual Boy (in English)

Hidden potential with an unfortunate ending

Nintendo 64 (in English)

A constrained performant

6th generation

Most of the graphics limitations from the previous generation are no more. Portable consoles start to resemble familiar systems.

Notable CPU advancements: Superscalar architectures, SIMD instructions and L2 cache.

Outstanding GPU features: Programmable pixel pipelines and anisotropic filters.

Dreamcast (in English)

One last attempt

PlayStation 2 (in English)

Overshadowing superiors

Game Boy Advance (in English)

New partnerships powered by two AA batteries

GameCube (in English)

Eloquent engineering

Xbox (in English)

A feared competitor

7th generation

Consoles have evolved into supercomputers and multimedia hubs. These machines are now more capable than just playing games, which is why security is now a critical factor.

Notable CPU advancements: Thread level parallelism and symmetrical multi-core architectures.

Outstanding GPU features: Unified shader model and HDR rendering.

Nintendo DS (in English)

Novel forms of interaction

PlayStation Portable (in English)

'Portable' does not imply 'Limited'

Xbox 360 (in English)

A supercomputer for the rest of us

PlayStation 3 (in English)

A supercomputer from another planet

Wii (in English)

Unique techniques of innovation

8th generation

The entertainment market has now been conquered by cheap smartphones and tablets. Social media capabilities become the first priority of every peripheral. It's time for traditional video-game companies to renovate their status quo, and they better do it quick.

Nintendo 3DS (in English)

Abundant tech, confusing marketing

Wii U (in English)

Innovation under pressure


There are many consoles I could write about... If you are wondering what's next on my list here it is:

Next articles

Retro consoles / In-between the next articles

#### Personal computers repackaged as consoles

Modern consoles / More research needed

Honourable articles / For another series

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