New architecture targets DIY super-computers

New architecture targets DIY super-computers

Big guns back Enthusiast System Architecture

A handful of hardware manufacturers and component makers have delivered a new architecture allowing PC and gaming enthusiasts to build faster and cooler super-machines.

A coalition of Nvidia, Dell, HP, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, CoolerMaster, Thermaltake and others, announced details of an open and royalty-free standard for the real-time monitoring and control of PC power supplies, chassis, and water-cooling systems.

The Enthusiast System Architecture (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.

PC manufacturers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts can use ESA to build finely-tuned and higher performance PCs than they 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," said Kevin Kettler, chief technology officer at Dell.

"These tools offer PC enthusiasts more flexible and granular control over primary system support components.

"For example, the ESA standard communication method is used in Dell's unique LightFX architecture, and will help accelerate the development of deeply immersive ambient lighting in PC games."

The new 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/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, is made available in real time and is critical to obtaining maximum PC performance and over-clocking.

Component manufacturers can use ESA to embed a wide variety of digital and analogue sensors into devices which can communicate real-time data for use in analysing and optimising 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 to quickly identify and resolve customer support issues.