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Graphics Software Hardware

Smart Monitoring PC Hardware Launched By NVIDIA 82

MojoKid writes "NVIDIA has just introduced a new open-industry standard for real-time monitoring and control of PC power supplies, chassis, and water cooling systems. Dubbed ESA, which stands for Enthusiast System Architecture, the company hopes the standard will be adopted across the industry. A new wave of ESA compliant hardware that can be monitored and controlled via a standard interface could ensue, like smart health-monitoring power supplies and other components, that would increase system stability and reliability. 'The ESA standard is built around the USB HID (Human Interface Device) specification and has been submitted to the USB-if HID subcommittee for discussion and approval. ESA is essentially a hardware and software interface that takes data collected by analog sensors and converts it to digital information that can accessed via software. Below are a handful of slides taken from an NVIDIA-produced presentation on ESA.'"
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Smart Monitoring PC Hardware Launched By NVIDIA

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  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @11:30AM (#21254753)

    Nothing like primary source material [], folks.

    I really grow tired of Slashdot linking to another site that describes a web page, instead of just linking to the page itself.

  • Re:IPMI Lite? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @11:54AM (#21255105)
    From my brief look at nVidia's site, it looks like it's more an internal standard than external. IPMI stops at the service processor. The service processor, in turn, used as many arbitrary busses/protocols internally to gather the data and report it back (and while the service processor *might* help you with fan-control versus throttling using OEM commands, the sensor interface strictly speaking only mandates reporting, not controlling). Such a system, for example, would do perfectly fine at reporting on all components explicitly integrated by the manufacturer. However, stick in an arbitrary graphics card, and no sensor value for it's temp/fan will appear as an IPMI-reported device. If a hypothetical standard existed within the case, monitoring may work better without having to buy a single-vendor solution that planned for all that, and you could hypothetically monitor and control arbitrary installed devices. Also, if intelligent about it, more tradeoffs can be made. When you can send instruction to both the GPU and it's cooling device, then for performance you could request that the cooling ramp up whatever it takes, but then go to acoustic and it would throttle the GPU instead of ramping up fans. An IPMI compliant BMC that was also ESA compliant might generate SDRs based on some sort of ESA-discovery.

    nVidia isn't the only game in town talking about internal standards for this, Intel for one definitely has been pushing their own ideas in terms of moving standardization to the interior of the systems.
  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:12PM (#21255329) Homepage
    Yeah, except there's no standard for I2C controllers (making software a nightmare - how many I2C controllers does lm-sensors need to support? How many are not supported?), likewise no standard for certain sensor types with I2C interfaces. (How many different temperature sensor drivers does lm-sensors have?)
  • SMBus is a mess (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <> on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:28PM (#21255509) Homepage
    Today's motherboards use I2C/SMBus for sensor access, and it is a total mess. There are hundreds of models of sensor chips that need drivers, and there's no way to know the mapping from sensor numbers to the real world (which fan is "fan 0"?). Then some vendors add microcontrollers that are not on the SMBus and have totally undocumented interfaces (hello AIGuru). I haven't looked at ESA, but hopefully it solves some of these problems.
  • by ( 843637 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:40PM (#21255667)
    Again, this isn't a troll...I'm just a realist.

    I just hope that the standard requires high-quality components, because I can see this backfiring. I have sold ASUS motherboards since I starting selling computers a few years back, and have had a lot of success (read: very very low RMA rate). Even though I choose to include only high-quality components, I have seen a situation where the motherboard -thought- it was running over temperature and began throttling itself (ASUS P4S800-X I think it was)...and this happened on 90% of those specific boards I sold (10% had celeron chips, which run 10C cooler or so). Mind you, I'd rather have an erroneous overtemp than undertemp. Anyway, ASUS claimed that there is and was nothing wrong with their boards. Meanwhile, many other people suffered the same situation, even after BIOS updates and thermal repasting. Obviously ASUS tried something different (cheaper?) and it sucked.

    Having said that, if this is all going to work, please, for the love of our computer gods, oh please, only use high-quality parts so us techs don't have to suffer so much.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle