Final Words

One of the frustrations of technology launches, as opposed to actual hardware and software launches, is that no matter what you write it ends up sounding something like a commercial for the product. That is why all the writers at AnandTech much prefer the hard reality of testing a product at launch, where we can make comparisons.

Today is the technology launch of ESA, with hardware officially launching shortly. However, ESA is a new standard, driven by hardware and software, more than it is a static product. As such, it is much easier to look at ESA for the potential it could bring to a market with no real standards in system monitoring and control. ESA will try to be that new standard, and we certainly welcome NVIDIA's earnest attempt to bring some standardization and additional tools to enthusiasts and system builders. The result could be the best performing systems we have ever seen - or the quietest systems or the most self-regulating systems. Certainly, the potential is there.

How fast ESA develops into a truly effective set of system tools depends on how widely adopted the standard becomes, and how fast component manufacturers embrace the standard. NVIDIA already has laid some excellent groundwork for the ESA standard as evidenced by the large number of important industry manufacturers who have already signed on to use ESA. The company is confident that ESA will emerge as a building block for Smart PCs - confident enough that they shared their vision of the future of ESA.


This year's ESA launch will see the initial launch of ESA components, with a heavy slant toward devices communicating monitoring information to the software interface. In 2008, NVIDIA believes we will begin to see ESA+PC Control and the development of ESA scripting languages. This could enable some very large steps toward system control and tuning, as utilities that address this segment have been decidedly lacking up until now. Finally, in 2009 NVIDIA expects to see Intelligent Agents and ESA utilities that work before loading of the OS. Removing ESA from the constraints of OS software will certainly speed development of the Smart PC as ESA evolves.

It is often difficult in the PC industry for one company to develop and champion a new PC standard. The business is competitive, and manufacturers are often distrustful of each other's motives. We are very happy NVIDIA decided ESA should be an open standard available to all, that certification for ESA is in the hands of an independent testing laboratory, and that NVIDIA has quickly built an impressive list of well-known launch partners for ESA components. All of these developments point toward a real effort to establish a new standard that will benefit computer enthusiasts and their suppliers; we can even see the potential for ESA support to trickle down into non-enthusiast market segments over time, provided it gains enough traction.

Looking ahead, it is our plan to take a closer look at an ESA system with as many ESA certified components as there are available to see how they work together. There will also be an eye toward how they might work together in the future. When we actually touch and see ESA working with a large array of off-the-shelf components we can be more confident of where ESA may go. The demonstrations at NVIDIA only scratched the surface, and while they looked interesting we want to see more.

ESA may be the winner for the new system standard for monitoring and control, or it may languish in the market place. You and manufacturers will decide if ESA is a winner. We think the idea is a good one, and if not ESA it will likely be something very similar that will take system control to the next level.
ESA Problem Solving
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  • nullpointerus - Tuesday, November 06, 2007 - link

    I know this is off-topic, but off-hand I do not know of any other way to reach AT staff.

    Most people in the Video forum were optimistic and open-minded about DirectX 10 and the performance/IQ claims made by Microsoft, yet most of the new games and demos introduced this year have a huge performance hit with little or no perceived IQ improvements. Hellgate London is the only game I've heard of where the performance benefits are said to be realized. Every other DX10 game/demo has been disappointing.

    Unfortunately, every game seems to have different sets of issues related to DX10, leading to a variety of conflicting theories with no solid evidence.

    It would be great if Anandtech published a realistic DX10 article describing the cause of the performance hit and highlighting any IQ improvements in upcoming/shipping games.
    Reply
  • kobymu - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    quote:

    However, ESA is a proposed new better way to get deeper into your wallet more than a real product.


    Fixed :)
    Reply
  • erwos - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    The return for nVidia is:
    1. Prestige.
    2. Major influence on a new standard.

    It's hard to write negative things about new standards, generally because they're invented to solve problems. Criticizing them for not having the software/hardware stack completely lined-up and out the door is ludicrous - these things take time. Would you prefer to be completely blind-sided by a new stack of things you've never heard of before coming out tomorrow?

    Have you ever been involved with formulating a new standard for anything? There's nothing unusual going on here.
    Reply
  • Regs - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    I don't care about the graphics.

    I do care if the interface is easy to use and the program is written and supported accurately enough that it won't make my system unstable.

    We all have different systems, drivers, software, and Os's. If they still struggle to uniform games to work stable enough on all our systems, then I have major worries about programs that intend to plug-in and control such vital operations such as cooling, voltage control, and others.
    Reply
  • defter - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    Read the article, ESA is an open platform. You are free to write an own small, fast, non-bloated application that utilizes ESA. Reply
  • mlau - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    "open" can mean anything these days -- just look at Microsofts "OpenXML": it's the
    usual binary dump of their office formats with XML tags wrapped around (and the name
    is pure marketing genius: combine two of the most recognizable buzzwords in the IT
    industry and voila!)
    Reply
  • emboss - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    Indeed. PCI is an "open standard" yet you have to pay four figures to (legally) get a copy of it. Not to mention that there are many other "open standards" that have licencing fees.

    Given that NVidia only have a "contact us" link for getting hold of it, and given NVidia's history of secrecy, I wouldn't be at all surprised if one or both of these situations applied here. I've fired off an email but I'm not holding my breath ...
    Reply
  • emboss - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    FWIW, NVidia have still not gotten back to me about it. Seems to indicate that their "open" standard is as open as Windows. What a surprise. Reply

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