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Monday, November 05, 2007
Companies Introduce New Standard For Monitoring And Controlling PC Peripherals

Nvidia, Dell, HP, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, CoolerMaster, Thermaltake and others, today announced details of a new open, and royalty-free standard for the real-time monitoring and control of PC power supplies, chassis, and water-cooling systems.

The Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) specifies an information protocol that system components can use to "communicate" with each other to adjust operating parameters, and relay important system information back to the user.

"The industry-standard device communication protocol provided with ESA enables a rich set of tools for tuning PC hardware performance. These tools offer PC enthusiasts more flexible and granular control over primary system support components," said Kevin Kettler, PhD, and CTO of Dell Inc. "For example, the ESA standard communication method is used in Dell's unique LightFX architecture, and will help accelerate development of deeply immersive ambient lighting in PC games."

The new ESA standard is built around the current USB HID class specification and is designed to support new monitoring and control capabilities for PC devices such as chassis, power supplies, and water and air cooling peripherals. Until the introduction of ESA, there was no standard communication protocol allowing such components to report information back to users. Essential data, such as temperature, thermal, voltage, and air flow attributes are made available in real-time and are critical to obtaining maximum PC performance and overclocking. With ESA, component manufacturers can now embed a wide variety of digital and analog sensors into their devices which can communicate real-time data for use in analyzing and optimizing overall PC operating conditions. In addition, ESA's logging functionality offers PC manufacturers and system builders an inexpensive way to help identify PC operating abnormalities, and enable them to quickly identify and resolve customer support issues.

"ESA is a communication protocol that ties together all the key aspects of a system," said Rahul Sood, CTO of Global Gaming Business at HP. "Most significant to HP is the fact that we can potentially use ESA-enabled technology to create a unique and immediately noticeable benefit to our customers."

Companies who have worked on the development of the ESA specification and deployment of ESA-compliant hardware include:

Major PC OEMs: Dell and HP

Major System Builders: Alienware, Falcon Northwest and Maingear

Global Motherboard Providers: ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, and XFX

Global PSU, Chassis, and Cooling Device Providers: CoolerMaster, CoolIT Systems, PC Power & Cooling, SilverStone, Tagan, Thermaltake, and Ultra

Cross-device compatibility and compliance with the ESA specification will be handled by Allion, an IT testing organization. Products that have passed the Allion certification process will incorporate the new ESA logo.

The first ESA-compliant systems, motherboards, and components will be available starting in late November from various ESA-development partners.

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