Platformisation has been one of those things that not only Intel has talked about in recent times, because both AMD and Nvidia are also talking platforms too. While many will agree that Intel’s Centrino platform is by far and above the most successful platform to date, there have been a number other of fairly successful platforms in the enthusiast’s market, and none of them have come from Intel.
Nvidia’s SLI ecosystem has been a very successful platform for the company, as it was not only the first-to-market with a multi-GPU system, but it was also marketed at gamers and hardware enthusiasts that demand higher performance in games than you could get from a single card in the current generation. It also provides gamers with an upgrade path, whereby they can purchase one card when they first build their system and then a few months later can upgrade their system to give it a performance boost for whatever the latest game releases are.
On a similar front, ATI’s CrossFire ecosystem focused on a similar goal and when the company was bought by AMD, the main reason behind it in our opinion was because AMD was the only company in the big four that didn’t have a true platform. It was something that AMD dearly needed and while we can’t talk about AMD’s next-generation platform today, we can assure you that you’ll be hearing about it on bit-tech in a few weeks.
During the recent Nvidia Editor’s Day at the company’s headquarters in Santa Clara, it talked about more than just graphics cards and chipsets – the company also talked about how it feels the enthusiast’s PC can evolve even further. This is something that we have been hearing from a lot of manufacturers recently, they’re all trying to predict how the next-generation enthusiast’s PC is going to evolve. Many are great ideas, but none have had the industry support that ESA, or Enthusiast’s System Architecture has gathered.
Over the course of this article, we’re going to outline what exactly ESA entails, the big names in the industry that support the technology along with how the technology could be implemented and improved in the future.
The Enthusiast’s System Architecture standard is an open standard that has been designed by Nvidia in collaboration with a number of different companies in the industry, including PC manufacturers, motherboard manufacturers, along with power supply, cooling and chassis manufacturers. Drew Henry, General Manager for nForce at Nvidia, described the standard “as a way to continue to extend the way in which you can manage the PC as a total and complete system.”
Inside the modern PC, there are many components that communicate key information about the state of the device with the end user via software – these include the motherboard, CPU, graphics card and hard drives. However, there are a number of key components, like the power supply, chassis and CPU cooler, that don’t communicate their state with the user.
As I’m sure you can recognise, these components – with the arguable exception of the chassis – are critical to the running of the PC and, if they’re not working correctly, they can cause system instability and reduced performance in your system. What ESA hopes to do is to allow the aforementioned components to communicate their state to the user and to help to improve the user experience.