Choosing your Deck is the most important step besides your own knowledge in every hacking attempt.
To make comparison easier, all decks share a common template form.
Click to open sample deck
in separate window.
First there is the name of the deck.
Next you see the market price of a deck. A deck can be purchased at various shops for this amount of money. No negotiating about the price, sorry.
Then there is most important stat of a deck: The Main Processor.
This is the stat that describes the raw CPU power a deck can provide at maximum efficiency. Of course hardware can only be as effective as the user. So this value is directly linked to the Power Level of its user. A computer cannot be more efficient then the person that works with it. And similar a hacker cannot outdo the physical limitations of his deck. Both have to work in a symbiosis.
Under normal circumstances a hacker can do as many hacks as the Main Processor Level of the deck or the Powerlevel of the user - whatever is lower.
So a deck with a CPU of 1 can support one hack only.
The next line(s) describe the coprocessor efficiency of a deck. While the Main Processor is very important it is not the only valuable stat. The Main CPU got so many different tasks it is impossible to compile all procedures in real time as well. This is where the Co-Processors kick in. Just like the main CPU, the Co-Procs form a symbiosis with a hacker's skills. When a hacker cannot use the full power of one it will be limited by his weakness. But again a hacker cannot outperform deck limitations. Even a cybergod has to wait the cycles a compile needs on a given Coprocessor.
So the true efficiency is again the minimum of the deck's and the hacker's powers. This calculated power easens the hacking of a specific system if it has the same basic OS as the coprocessor in use. A Basic Processor gives a bonus of 10, an Advanced of 20 and the Master level a bonus of 30 to all hacking attempts on that systems.
The Instruction Cache is your main memory. Of course your deck got an insane big amount of base memory, but it is too slow for the real thing when speed is of essence. The only part that counts here is the IC. This valuable memory determines (together with your CPU output) how many systems you can pass in attempting a hack.
Each system needs 10 memory slots to store the relavant information about it. So an instruction cache of 30 offers the ability to store 3 system addresses so one can at max do runs 3 hops away.
Next stat... I/O Channels.
All is great and fine when you prepare the procs on your deck, compile them and are ready to release them. Just one problem - the procs have to be uploaded fast
into the target system. Here the I/O Channels come into effect. Each channel enables one hacking attempt per turn. You can however re-use an I/O channel if the first hacking attempt failed.
So with an I/O of 1 you can hack the same system 4 times (if you got a PL of 4), but you cannot hack two different systems.
The remaining stats of a deck are not of importance for hacking. They are only needed in extreme situations. See the section Cyberfights - Decks
Finally there is a description of the deck. Where it comes from. It's history. Manufacturer. Stuff like that. Also special properties of hardware will be noted here.