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Can Corsair Succeed Where Nvidia failed?

Posted on 7th Jan 2011 at 11:10 by Richard Swinburne with 13 comments

Richard Swinburne
Anyone remember ESA? Nvidia's attempt at making the PC platform its own with the 'Enthusiast Systems Architecture' software? The idea was to get other manufacturers to include little chips in their hardware that enabled them to talk to Nvidia's motherboards. Nvidia's ESA software would then report all the readouts: voltages, temperatures, speeds and so in a single, central interface.

The problem? Other companies (mostly motherboard makers) already had their own software, and they were (and still are) key features with which to differentiate and sell their products. They already did most of the same tasks, such as temperature and voltage monitoring, as well as overclocking, even if they lacked the fancy 3D interface.

Despite its noble ideals, ESA was never really accepted and it died as quickly as it arrived.

Roll on three years and Corsair is trying the same trick with its new Corsair Link software. The difference is that Corsair isn't trying to drum up support from other companies, as it already builds many different products. Instead, Corsair Link is the company's selling point for its own hardware range, which has considerably diversified in the last 12 months.

In case you didn't realise quite the scope of Corsair's products, it now makes speakers, headphones, PSUs, PC cases, heatsinks (both air-cooling and closed-loop water-cooling), SSDs, flash drives and memory. In fact, you would only need a Corsair graphics card, sound card and motherboard in order to make an entirely Corsair PC. I bet its Pokemon set was unbeatable in school.

Can Corsair Succeed Where Nvidia failed? *Can Corsair succeed where Nvidia failed?
Click to enlarge

As you would expect, all those components can throw out a lot of useful stats for enthusiasts who like to know (okay, often obsess about) what's going on, so tying all that together under one software roof makes Corsair Link a potentially very powerful tool.

It could well work too, because the technology isn't competing with that of other companies - cases, PSUs and memory don't come with monitoring software, although they can be read remotely by the motherboard through its own software.

However, the ways in which Corsair Link differs from the software included with motherboards remains to be seen: does the company have (or plan to have) ESA-style monitoring chips in its cases, PSUs and memory? We'll have to wait and see.

Corsair is busy making a platform for itself, and given its brand strength I can really see it working. But I'm worried; will this help kill competition by pushing the PC more towards being a closed platform?

It's unfortunate that Nvidia's ESA wasn't taken up, as it potentially offered an open standard across the industry to give a greater level of monitoring and control for customers, no matter what hardware you bought. However, with every company wanting to stamp its own brand, design and influence on everything it makes, it was bound to fail. Corsair trying to entice you to buy other Corsair components via technological treats is a different matter, though.

13 Comments

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wuyanxu 7th January 2011, 12:22 Quote
i don't know about other enthusiastics, i setup my overclocking, and then just forgets about it.

why does a computer need more looking after than a baby? it's a computer, you can set it up so it monitors itself!

with that rant, it's safe to say this is one feature this Corsair sucker won't be buying into.
(another feature is USB headphones, stupid waste of system resource)
B1GBUD 7th January 2011, 12:56 Quote
The only thing I monitor is temps after a new build, to make sure everything is cooled sufficiently. Speedfan does everything I need it to do, but then if you have a OCD then I guess this is right up your alley.
Xir 7th January 2011, 13:18 Quote
Quote:
In fact, you would only need a Corsair graphics card, sound card and motherboard in order to make an entirely Corsair PC.
You forgot the CPU...but who needs that anyway :D
GFC 7th January 2011, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i don't know about other enthusiastics, i setup my overclocking, and then just forgets about it.

why does a computer need more looking after than a baby? it's a computer, you can set it up so it monitors itself!

with that rant, it's safe to say this is one feature this Corsair sucker won't be buying into.
(another feature is USB headphones, stupid waste of system resource)
Totally agree. I do the same. Don't really see a point in constantly monitoring your system if its perfectly stable.
mrbens 7th January 2011, 13:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
if you have a OCD

Actually, it's an OCD :D

I don't think we need to worry that Corsair will kill off the competition just by having a monitoring app.
thehippoz 7th January 2011, 17:43 Quote
yeah I agree with wu in a way.. but cpu usage is one I can't give up- I like seeing it realtime
Rocket_Knight64 8th January 2011, 01:20 Quote
It would be nice to have assuming the software is good and not your typical oem junk. But even then I'm would not go out of my way for it.

What I wish for more then anything else in the pc world is a modern smart control unit for fans/pumps/lights and/or bits like motors or tecs. An evolved tbalancer/aquaero with decent maybe even open source software. /sigh
Fanatic 8th January 2011, 01:31 Quote
Will periodically check everythings okay but am not someone who needs to sit and stare at sensor readings for hours unless physically altering things somewhere.

Kind of enjoy finding utilities to monitor different things - half the fun!
Madness_3d 8th January 2011, 03:59 Quote
Is it bad that as I read this article I have HWMonitor Pro running in the taskbar, just checking that everything is "just so" :-P
Bloody_Pete 8th January 2011, 15:23 Quote
All I monitor is the temps for my CPU/GPU, as I know exactly their loads from the temp :P I can see my Cyclone res, so I know my pumps still working, and I can see my fans so I know they're working...
Nexxo 8th January 2011, 18:18 Quote
All the important stuff (courtesy of Speedfan and Samurize) is on a 5" TFT in the bezel of my PC. I have a flow sensor pretending it's a fan to the mobo so I can see the coolant flow in litres per minute.

Not that I need to. I like my PC setup "run and forget". I want to do things on it, not to it all the time.
DarkLord7854 10th January 2011, 09:34 Quote
I actually have a few ESA certified components, and on the rare occasion that I need to check things, it comes in quite handy.

Otherwise though, it's useless and I don't even have it plugged in unless I need to use it for something, granted, that's only if I remember I have the ESA stuff at the time :p
Black Eyed 10th January 2011, 13:38 Quote
I like the idea of everything integrated but just can't ever be bothered to check. If it doesn't crash, I don't complain these days. I'm not sure why ESA failed, anyone know?

Nexxo - wouldn't that data be more useful on your desktop, or at least in front of you though, rather than down on your PC?
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