Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Nov 2007 21:31 UTC, submitted by null_pointer_us
3D News, GL, DirectX "Today, with the coming introduction of the NVIDIA 780i chipset, NVIDIA is looking to make serious changes to what is possible with enthusiast systems by launching a new technology platform. The name of the new standard is ESA - Enthusiast System Architecture. Its goal is to provide information and control to enthusiasts not just for NVIDIA motherboards and video cards, but to provide that information and control for many other components in an ESA-enabled system. The actual protocol is OS independent. This is very important for the future of ESA, as it will eventually allow ESA to operate with any platform."
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Proof is in the pudding
by tyrione on Tue 6th Nov 2007 00:09 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

What does the Linux Kernel Team foresee, OpenBSD team, FreeBSD, OpenSolaris, etc., all foresee as possibilities?

How does nVidia plan to work with AMD, with Intel, with Apple, etc?

To me it seems the greatest amount of work, outside of their own Windows platform, will be within the FOSS Community.

I see the standard hardware vendors listed, but none of the people who actually have an operating system to access these features, outside of the Windows platform.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Proof is in the pudding
by null_pointer_us on Tue 6th Nov 2007 01:02 UTC in reply to "Proof is in the pudding"
null_pointer_us Member since:
2005-08-19

I am not sure you understand what this is.

ESA is a standard that is being submitted to the USB HID group for formalization as a USB device spec. This is analogous to the spec. for USB drives, sound devices, mice, keyboards, etc. where (in theory) you just plug in one of those devices with a standardized spec. and then use a generic driver on any USB-capable platform. For example, my USB headphones do not require a special Linux driver; the headphones implement the USB audio spec, which the Linux kernel supports, so they just work.

The idea with the ESA standard is that you will plug your fans, PSU, front panel displays, etc. into USB ports, and an ESA-capable program will expose the functionality of those devices through a generic USB-ESA driver.

My understanding, therefore, is that nVidia does not "need" to work with device manufacturers any more than the Firefox team needs to work with extension drivers -- i.e. anyone can write an extension -- although the standard itself could, of course, be improved over time with manufacturer feedback.

Adding ESA support to an OS like Linux would be very straightforward. One person would write a usb-esa kernel module, and some other people will end up writing GTK or whatever applications to expose the generic interface of ESA-capable hardware devices.

I believe ESA would be wonderful if many device manufacturers support it. The current enthusiast "smart fan", case front panel, and temperature probe interfaces are all very proprietary and poorly documented, so it is difficult to buy a case, motherboard, and fans that will work together with all their advertised cooling-related features enabled.

But yes, I am cynical about this...

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Proof is in the pudding
by tyrione on Tue 6th Nov 2007 01:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Proof is in the pudding"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I asked what was the kernel teams stances on adding another level of complexity that will require the component parts to be redesigned to communicate over USB which then will require motherboard manufacturers to redesign this as well.

This sounds great for system design testing.

Sounds overkill and cumbersome to build oversized cases to accommodate cooling systems for the sake of joe sandbox who wants to customize every little setting until they screw it up.

If nVidia wants this to take off I'd suggest they produce some motherboards, power supplies, cooling systems in the idea of cases they want and show how this would work.

Otherwise, it wreaks that nVidia is worried that Intel and AMD with their inroads into graphics scares the piss out of them.

Reply Score: 2

null_pointer_us Member since:
2005-08-19

I asked what was the kernel teams stances on adding another level of complexity that will require the component parts to be redesigned to communicate over USB which then will require motherboard manufacturers to redesign this as well.


As I explained to you earlier, ESA is a USB Human Interface Device specification, on the level of a generic USB keyboard/mouse driver. You can wonder about the kernel teams' viewpoints all you want, but their opinions are peripheral at best (pun intended). Writing a new module for a new USB device class that does little more than cooling system statical reporting-and-configuration in a user-space app hardly requires a kernel redesign. Did you think ESA was supposed to replace something as fundamental as ACPI?

Sounds overkill and cumbersome to build oversized cases to accommodate cooling systems for the sake of joe sandbox who wants to customize every little setting until they screw it up.


So basically you have no idea what ESA is or why it might be useful, yet you decide to form a strong opinion on the subject.

If nVidia wants this to take off I'd suggest they produce some motherboards, power supplies, cooling systems in the idea of cases they want and show how this would work.


nVidia does not produce power supplies or system cooling devices, but some companines who do produce those devices have signed onto the standard.

IMO such proof-of-concept systems are practically meaningless: Intel and many other system component manufacturers have been pushing new system prototypes for years without the technology ever making it to market (even piecemeal).

What nVidia is doing is better: producing an open USB device standard. Anyone who wants to make their peripherals compatible with ESA can do so, and they will work with any other vendors' devices that have been made ESA compatible. Win/win for the industry IMO. The only real shame would be if ESA does not attract enough attention to replace all the half-assed, proprietary junk we currently deal with.

I admit to being slightly mystified as to why you have chosen to impart conventional wisdom to multi-million dollar corporations via OSNews comments. Are you trying to imply that you are smarter than nVidia?

Then again, I believe the article stated that the new 780i chipsets will support ESA. Maybe these manufacturers do not need proof-of-concept systems if they are already building ESA support into the devices they will be selling in the near future?

Otherwise, it wreaks that nVidia is worried that Intel and AMD with their inroads into graphics scares the piss out of them.


You are claiming that nVidia is so worried about their motherboard chipset business competition that they...went ahead and created an open standard over an existing, nearly ubiquitous bus -- both of which Intel and AMD can freely support whenever Intel and AMD deem it in their own best interests?

Sadly, I get the distinct impression you do not care what you write on this subject, so long as it has the intended emotional appeal.

/discussion

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Proof is in the pudding
by tyrione on Tue 6th Nov 2007 22:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Proof is in the pudding"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Grow up. Sorry if I hit a nerve that someone either loves nVidia or works for them.

I asked how the kernel teams from respective operating systems, outside of Windows views this development and you gave me nothing.

We know USB is open. Intel invented it.

With systems being designed to be more conservative on power consumption this architecture shows how one can control this and measure heat transfer conditions inside a case, etc.

This is great for design engineers.

What does this have to do with End Consumers?

Reply Score: 1

Terminology: nVidia ESA vs. IBM VM/ESA
by Doc Pain on Tue 6th Nov 2007 09:47 UTC
Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

IBM introduced the Enterprise System Architecture (ESA) in 1990. As far as I know, VM/ESA is a registered trademark, too. Can this similarity cause any problems to nVidia?

Reply Score: 2

why don't they
by mmu_man on Tue 6th Nov 2007 12:29 UTC
mmu_man
Member since:
2006-09-30

start by openning their own stuff first ???

Using USB to enumerate motherboard items ? crap, why not bluetooth!
Isn't there something for this already (System Managment Bus ??) ? That sounds lame anyway, we all know how well everyone implements the existing USB classes ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: why don't they
by zdzichu on Tue 6th Nov 2007 14:57 UTC in reply to "why don't they"
zdzichu Member since:
2006-11-07

There is. Login to any serious server and you will see all fans, PSU and other stuff statuses, serial numbers and other goodies. It can be accessed from OS via IPMI.
Why nVidia wants to reinvent wheel is beyond me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: why don't they
by twowheels on Tue 6th Nov 2007 20:20 UTC
twowheels
Member since:
2005-07-06

Using USB to enumerate motherboard items ? crap, why not bluetooth!


Bluetooth? Wireless? You've got to be kidding, right? I hope!

Edited 2007-11-06 20:20

Reply Score: 1