Articles on Hardware

Last updated: 2022/09/07

Top deep-dives on Hardware

How do Routers Work, Really?

So you might not know, but I have a background in electrical engineering. Therefore, articles that get down and dirty into the details of electronics have a special place in my heart. As the title implies, in this article, Kamila Součková gets the elbow grease on in this deep dive into how routers truly work. From a high level overview that focuses on the life of a packet in the data plane to routing, ARP, and MAC tables, Kamila gives you an informative overview of what that dust covered box with blinking lights does and how.

Always-on Processor magic: How Find My works while iPhone is powered off

With the release of iOS 15, iPhone owners will be able to find their phone even when it's powered off. I don't mean searching for it like a needle in the haystack, only to realize it slipped out of your pocket and fell in between your couch cushions (at least you found some coins though); I mean using the app. In this article, Jiska explains how Apple did it, and some of its security implications.

Hacking Ethernet out of Fibre Channel cards

Following along in the hardware motif, but this time focusing on network cards; the things that basically handle the internet in your computer, server, or laptop. We all use them, but have you ever tried to hack one? In this article. Ben Cox explains how he wrote a virtual device handler in Go, with a brief, but practical introduction to Small Computer Interface Standard protocols.

How to build a Low-Tech website: Software & Hardware

Is it from a while ago? Yup. Is it kind of a marketing stunt? Sure. Is it still cool? Yes. It's pretty much the epitome of a self-hosted website. In this concise article, Roel Roscam Abbing describes the different infrastructure that went into making a website that is completely powered by solar energy, including software, hardware, and energy saving tricks.

The RISC-V experience

Drew DeVault discusses some of the challenges of getting a RISC-V CPU system function like a "regular", useful computer.

Nvidia Ampere vs. AMD RDNA 2: Battle of the Architectures

I can understand that not everyone is a huge hardware nerd, and that's fine. But if you're spending a lot of time on your computer, and especially if you're doing it professionally, you definitely should have more than just a cursory understanding of its components. In this extensive article, Nick Evanson compares the two GPUs from two massive GPU manufacturers, Nvidia and AMD. Nick does a good job of getting down to the facts and cutting out the marketing BS.

PlayStation 3 Architecture

This article is definitely much more hardware oriented. In it, Rodrigo Copetti breaks down a PS3, looking at the CPU, graphics, audio, I/O backwards compatibility, OS, games, and anti-piracy measures. "This writing encompasses ~6 years of research and development carried out by countless engineers", so be prepared for an education marathon.

Xbox 360 Architecture

Rodrigo Copetti presents anything and everything you'd ever want to know about the Xbox 360 (from a technical perspective).

Upgrading a motherboard’s BIOS/UEFI (the hard way)

Fiddling with hardware is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’ve ever considered building your own computer, I’d highly recommend it. In this article, Doug Brown takes it one step further, by setting himself the challenge of upgrading a montherboard’s BIOS without using any of the conventional approaches for his specific motherboard.

The Evolution of the PCI Express Specification: On its Sixth Generation, Third Decade and Still Going Strong

I first came across PCIe when building my computer. Dr. Debendra Das Sharma's article explores its development and evolution since its inception in 2003.

interactive analog LED wave array

Chris Lu demonstrates a wave wall made with mostly active electronic components and hardly any digital hardware.

Building a Panel out of e-ink Electronic Shelf Labels

Raphael repurposes some electronic shelf labels (ESL) to build a cool little panel. <br>Some highlights: <ul> <li>An individual ESL has a similar brain to a fitness tracker</li> <li>They are controlled with a purpose-built device that talks to them via RF or NFC</li> <li>The main trick these chips use is to spend most of the time in a very low-power state, known as deep sleep</li> <li>To wake up the CPU back to life, usual choices are a timer or a change in the logic state on one of its input pins</li> <li>Low-power BLE devices have an extra power usage concern of broadcasting their existence</li> </ul> <br>How do you guys feel about these building-type articles?

Reverse-engineering the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer's sound chip from die photos

"The Yamaha DX7 digital synthesizer was released in 1983" and has been touted as "one of the most important advances in the history of modern popular music". In this informative article, Ken Shirriff literally picks the chip apart, covering what it does and how it does it.

Bringing up a new piece of hardware -- what can go wrong?

Dan Gisselquist takes us through the process of testing out prototype concepts for a SONAR system using a FPGA.

Pine fun - Telephony (Roger, Roger?)

Sebastian Sumpf "describe[s] how [they] enabled basic telephony support on the Pinephone" (the open source smart phone looks pretty cool from what I've seen).

An Open Source Vibrotactile Haptics Platform for On-Body Applications.

I'm guessing how we interface with technology is going to change a lot in the next 50 years. In this article, Artem Dementyev presents a "low-power miniature electronics board" that might be one of the first steps in having extensive tactile sensation with technology (this is how I can imagine it being used). Artem dives into the inner workings of board and describes all of its functionality.

Circuit Scaling for Analog Computing

"A differential equation-solving analog device is a reconfigurable computing platform that leverages the physics of the underlying substrate to implement dynamical system computations". Sara Achour's extensive article goes into the details on behavior of such a device and its functionality.


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