A couple of the nicer utilities available with any motherboard chipset are NVIDIA's NV Monitor and nTune. They only work completely on NVIDIA chipsets, and not all manufacturers have implemented all the hooks necessary to support the software utility. However, when it is available and working properly it provides a lot of info about your system and a fair amount of system control. When the NVIDIA 680i was our cooling test motherboard we used NV Monitor to measure CPU temperature, in a large part because we found the utility easy to use and it provided very repeatable results.

nTune also works on any motherboard to control NVIDIA video cards, which it can do automatically or manually. However, on an NVIDIA chipset like the 680i nTune has many additional capabilities. As we saw in the 680i launch, nTune 5.05 had ambitions to become the control center for overclocking your motherboard and video card. Of course, this only worked at launch if your motherboard had an NVIDIA 680i chipset, you used an NVIDIA 8800 video card, and the manufacturer fully implemented the nTune hooks. NVIDIA has expanded nTune with new hardware introductions, but many computer enthusiasts - the primary target of the utility - still seem to either ignore or at best feel ambivalent towards the tool.

One thing was very clear in that introduction, however. NVIDIA had a great interest in providing enthusiasts with all the overclocking tools they could to set NVIDIA apart as being the company for enthusiasts. With each new chipset, the enthusiast tools seem to get a bit more ambitious.

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.

ESA monitoring and control will extend to processors, motherboards, video cards, cooling hardware, and power supplies. This is not necessarily everything ESA can monitor and control, but it is a starting point. In theory, any component could implement ESA and potentially be controlled by ESA.

ESA hardware and the software to monitor/manage it will not be available for a few weeks, but NVIDIA has chosen today to allow editors to start talking about the ESA specification. This means a closer look at what ESA really is, how it works, who has signed on to provide ESA components, and how this will all work in providing the enthusiast unprecedented control of their computer system.
What is ESA?


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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.
  • kobymu - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link


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

    Fixed :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!)
  • 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 ...
  • 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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