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New open standard for monitoring PC peripherals

By

November 6, 2007

XPS 700 desktop from Dell, one of the companies involved in the ESA project

XPS 700 desktop from Dell, one of the companies involved in the ESA project

November 7, 2007 More than 15 leading PC OEMs, motherboard, and peripheral manufacturers have joined together to endorse Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA), a new, open and royalty-free standard for the monitoring and controlling of PC power supplies, chassis, and water-cooling systems. Backed by PC industry names including NVIDIA, Dell, HP, Alienware, CoolerMaster and Thermaltake, ESA specifies an information protocol that system components can use to communicate with each other to adjust operating parameters, and relay important system information back to the user.

The proponents of ESA believe that its implementation will allow PC manufacturers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts to build finely-tuned and higher performance PCs than they currently can with existing proprietary solutions. “The industry-standard device communication protocol provided with ESA enables a rich set of tools for tuning PC hardware performance. These tools offer PC enthusiasts more flexible and granular control over primary system support components,” said Kevin Kettler, PhD, and CTO of Dell Inc. “For example, the ESA standard communication method is used in Dell’s unique LightFX architecture, and will help accelerate development of deeply immersive ambient lighting in PC games.”

The new ESA standard is built around the current USB HID class specification and is designed to support new monitoring and control capabilities for PC devices such as chassis, power supplies, and water and air cooling peripherals. Until the introduction of ESA, there was no standard communication protocol allowing such components to report information back to users. Essential data, such as temperature, thermal, voltage, and air flow attributes are made available in real-time and are critical to obtaining maximum PC performance and overclocking. With ESA, component manufacturers can now embed a wide variety of digital and analog sensors into their devices which can communicate real-time data for use in analyzing and optimizing overall PC operating conditions.

In addition, ESA’s logging functionality offers PC manufacturers and system builders an inexpensive and easy way to help identify PC operating abnormalities, and enable them to quickly identify and resolve customer support issues. “ESA is a communication protocol that ties together all the key aspects of a system,” said Rahul Sood, CTO of Global Gaming Business at HP. “Most significant to HP is the fact that we can potentially use ESA-enabled technology to create a unique and immediately noticeable benefit to our customers.”

Cross-device compatibility and compliance with the ESA specification will be handled by IT testing organization, Allion and products that have passed the Allion certification process will incorporate the new ESA logo. The first ESA-compliant systems, motherboards, and components will be available starting in late November from various ESA-development partners.

For further info visit NVIDEA

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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