The Basic Optronic Deck

   Second for today, it’s something simple, but pretty fundamental in Shadowrun – the basic structure of an “Optronic Deck”.

   Unlike it’s programs, the physical architecture of an optronic deck is fairly basic; the motherboard contains the power supply (a rechargeable battery, with a socket to connect a charger), a standard plug-n-play bus, clock and support circuitry, a minidisk drive, a minispeaker (capable of producing sounds at low volume and terrible quality), microphone, and an I/O chip running an array of eight standard sockets – permitting the deck to be hooked up to items such as simsense headsets, speakers, offline storage units, vidscreens, microphones, printer/fax systems, datajacks, digital cameras, telephone/matrix sockets, radio or cellular transceivers, HUD Glasses, video pickups, “pocket secretaries”, and various sensor or input devices, without bothering to install a wireless network chip.

   The upper surface mounts twelve chipjacks; the installed chips determine what a `deck does – and are by far the most expensive part part of the entire system. The cover opens to reveal a tiny (6 x 4 CM) vidscreen and a keypad – normally used for adjusting the system settings, running tests, rebooting, and so on. Overall, a standard optronic deck is about 2x8x12 CM, and weighs in at less then half a kilogram.

   An armored case, auxiliary power pack, transmission booster, and “full-sized keyboard” (a package the size of a current keyboard that includes a set of mini-speakers and a microphone, a roll-out vidscreen, transformer/charger circuitry and a retractable cord, a battery pack good for hours to days depending on usage, storage slots for chips and minidisks, and attachment points for a printer/scanner/fax module (which snaps on underneath). It connects to four of the eight standard sockets on the basic optronic deck (which slots into the side), and routes the other four to plugs on the back, allowing for the attachment of additional peripherals.

   Now, depending on what chips you install, an identical-looking deck may serve as a cyberdeck, a GPS system, a radio transceiver, a cellular phone, a bug scanner, a dataline scanner, a signal locator, an orientation system, a mass-storage device, or several of those things at once. The ever-popular CyberDeck must mount ASIST, RAS Override, and MPCP chips. Current (2060’s) MPCP chips have integral persona programs. Older (2050’s) models use independent persona chips. Chips for Active & Storage memory are not technically required, but are highly recommended; they can be purchased in sizes of up to 1250 MP. The remaining slots can be used to install more memory or special-purpose chips.

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