/Hardware

What Happens When A CPU Starts

tl;dr: "Generally, when a CPU chip first receives power, it must be reset by receiving a pulse on its RESET (or RST) pin. This is because when the power supply is first powering up, even if it only takes a second or two, the CPU has already received "dirty" power, because the power supply was building up a steady stream of electricity."

featured in #380


Tales Of The M1 GPU

tl;dr: "Modern GPU drivers are split into two parts: a user space driver and a kernel driver. The user space part is in charge of compiling shader programs and translating API calls into the specific command lists that the command processor will use to render the scene. Meanwhile, the kernel part is in charge of managing the MMU and handling memory allocation/deallocation from different apps, as well as deciding how and when to send their commands to the command processor."

featured in #371


Faster Hardware Is A Bad First Solution To Slow Software

- Itamar Turner-Trauring tl;dr: How do you decide if faster hardware is the correct solution to your software performance problems? This article discusses: (1) What money can buy you in terms of hardware. (2) Why hardware won’t always help. (3) Why faster hardware shouldn’t always be your first solution even when it does help. (4) Changing the tradeoff by making it easier to create efficient software from the start.

featured in #364


Reverse Engineering A Cat Feeder To Boost Productivity

- John Partee tl;dr: "I had two problems it could solve: low side project motivation, and loving dark chocolate sea salt almonds way too much. I'm a codemonkey - Why not feed my monkey brain when I push code? I couldn't find a USB candy dispenser, so I figured I'd try a cat feeder. This thing rocks, and I'll show you how to replicate what I did."

featured in #358


The Overengineered Solution To My Pigeon Problem

- Max Nagy tl;dr: "The brains of the operation is a python script using openCV. It compares the current image to the normal background. If the average amount of change of all pixels is above some threshold, we fire the gun."

featured in #328


Bob Cassette Rewinder: Hacking Detergent DRM for 98% Cost Saving

tl;dr: "Bob is a sleek and compact countertop dishwasher requiring no plumbing and minimal space." One of the features is the Bob Cassette, "an all-in-one detergent cartridge... no need to manually measure and add detergent to each wash." It's very convenient and outrageously priced. The author explains how they engineered these cassettes to preserve convenience at a fraction of the cost.

featured in #321


On Rebooting: The Unreasonable Effectiveness Of Turning Computers Off And On Again

- Keunwoo Lee tl;dr: "I offer the following argument that restarting from the initial state is a deeply principled technique for repairing a stateful system — whether that system is a program, or an entire computer, or a collection of computers."

featured in #320


Algorithms For Modern Hardware

- Sergey Slotin tl;dr: "This is an upcoming high performance computing book. Its intended audience is everyone from performance engineers and practical algorithm researchers to undergraduate computer science students who have just finished an advanced algorithms course and want to learn more practical ways to speed up a program."

featured in #297


My 2022 High-end Linux PC

- Michael Stapelberg tl;dr: "I finally managed to get my hands on some DDR5 RAM to complete my Intel i9-12900 high-end PC build! This article contains the exact component list if you’re interested in doing a similar build."

featured in #283


How To Make A CPU - A Simple Picture Based Explanation

- Robert Elder tl;dr: "The purpose of this article is to explain how to make a CPU out of rocks and sand as fast as possible without using too many words. As the world of proprietary hardware and software crushes in around us, we risk losing the ability to make things for ourselves as individuals."

featured in #268