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Displays Networking Wireless Networking Technology

Wireless PCIe To Enable Remote Graphics Cards 181

Posted by timothy
from the no-cat-involved dept.
J. Dzhugashvili writes "If you read Slashdot, odds are you already know about WiGig and the 7Gbps wireless networking it promises. The people at Atheros and Wilocity are now working on an interesting application for the spec: wireless PCI Express. In a nutshell, wPCIe enables a PCI Express switch with local and remote components linked by a 60GHz connection. The first applications, which will start sampling next year, will let you connect your laptop to a base station with all kinds of storage controllers, networking controllers, and yes, an external graphics processor. wPCIe works transparently to the operating system, which only sees additional devices connected over PCI Express. And as icing on the cake, wPCie controllers will let you connect to standard Wi-Fi networks, too."
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Wireless PCIe To Enable Remote Graphics Cards

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  • "Band"-aid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:46PM (#32907014) Journal

    Nice but what's the range, and is the spectrum licensed or will we end up dealing with a "tragedy of the commons" much like the 2.4 Ghz band?

  • by starslab (60014) <andrew.skyhawk@ca> on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @05:59PM (#32907180) Homepage
    I will admit some incredulity when I read the title. "Wireless <i>what?!</i>"

    Very cool stuff if it materializes.

    Imagine a small lightweight machine with say an ULV i3 or i5 CPU, small-ish screen and weak-ass integrated graphics. Place the machine on it's docking pad (No connectors to get bent or boards to break) and suddenly it's got (wireless?) juice and access to kick-ass graphics, and a big monitor, as well as whatever else is in the base-station.

    A desktop replacement that remains light and portable for road warriors, with none of the fragility associated with docking connectors. With those transmissions speeds I presume this is going to be a point-blank range affair, so snooping shouldn't be (much?) of a problem.
  • Re:I must admit... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @07:00PM (#32907688) Homepage

    Some recent systems have IOMMUs which provide privilege separate between hardware devices much like normal MMUs govern software. However, unless this sort of IOMMU device is active, PCI and PCIe hardware is generally capable of transferring data to or from any other connected device, including any area of system RAM. Sometime this can even extend to external interfaces; for example, people have been known to take advantage of the DMA capabilities of the Firewire protocol to read the contents of RAM on an active system.

    In general, non-hotpluggable hardware has been granted the same level of trust as the OS kernel, so no one worried very much about it. IOMMUs were more about protecting against faulty or corrupted software (device drivers) than malicious hardware. However, more and more hardware is hotpluggable these days. Also, some software interfaces are becoming too complex to really trust—consider, for example, the interface to a modern GPU, which must transfer data to and from RAM, and perhaps other GPUs, under the control of code provided by user-level application software (shaders, GPGPU). Without an IOMMU it is up to the driver software to prove that such code is perfectly safe, which is an inherently hard problem.

  • Re:I must admit... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThreeGigs (239452) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @08:26PM (#32908390)

    What are the possibilities of channel bonding, though? WiFi has 11 channels, is it possible to build a sender/receiver pair that can move data over multiple channels at once? Perhaps soon there will be 7Gbit, then 14Gbit, then 21Gbit, etc implementations. Need more bandwidth? Add more radios.

  • Retro Tech (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @09:52PM (#32908902)
    Wait, so you're saying they'll be able to send a continuous color video stream THROUGH THE AIRWAVES??? Wow, that's so incredible! I bet they wish they'd had this technology back in the middle of the last century...
  • Re:I must admit... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by boyko.at.netqos (1024767) on Wednesday July 14, 2010 @10:16PM (#32909016)

    True, but consider this possibility:

    Right now everyone's looking at the traditional model. That is, a portable CPU connected to a GPU connected to a display, and adding in a wireless form factor to it.

    What if, instead, the base station contained the CPU AND the GPU connected directly together - much like a desktop system now - to do all the hard math and 3D rendering? - which then outputs a wireless PCIe signal, which is then picked up by the portable device, like a netbook, with a basic GPU, a small processor, and little to no HD space? It's only job would be, much like a thin client - would be to provide you access to the computing power in the "main" section of the house.

    It would be like having a docking station for your netbook that turns it into a desktop powerhouse - only you could walk around the house with it. And, when the time comes that you want to take it outside, you still have the basic capabilities of a netbook.

    That might be a product worth selling to, say, a family of four. "You can pay for four notebooks, or four netbooks and this powerful base station".

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