The future of computing?

By CMH
Aug 7, 2006
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  1. I'm just posting this here, since I've got no idea where in this forum this belongs.


    I've just read an article on a KillerNIC, supposedly a PCI addon 10/100/1000 ethernet, fast ethernet card. It sports a 400mhz processor and 256mb PC2100 DDR RAM. According to their website, this product is aimed at gamers (read people-with-too-much-money-and-are-willing-to-splurge-on-nonessential-hardware-believeing-it-will-make-them-more-popular) interested in reducing their ping while playing games such as BF2 online. It will also help in increasing gaming FPS, since it offloads network processes on its 400mhz processor.

    Now, this is what I have in mind. Is this the future of computing, where all the CPU is is a glorified calculator, set to calculate Pi to 1m digits? We started off with offloading graphic processing unto video cards, which is, and always will be, the best things in computing for gamers. Lately, we've got Ageia coming out with their PPU (Physics Processing Unit) card, which offloads some processing from the GPU. Network? Do we really need a 400mhz gigabit card?

    Of course alot of people are sceptical about this, especially with the introduction of the PPU. Everything it does can be done by the graphics card, so why not leave it to the graphics card, instead of getting a new card, which costs money? If we had thought that way, we'd still be running 2D games on our CPU.

    So is this the future? A computer where addon cards do all the work, and the CPU just crunch numbers? How about with graphics, will there be addon cards to specifically do the AA and AF? How far will it go?

    Just posting randomly, but I'd love to hear ideas, and review this thread in 20 years time and see what has changed :D
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    um, I hate to break the news, but graphics cards do exactly that!

    back in the day, the motherboard did everything!
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    Needs to define what "computing" is.. If it means "gaming rigs" for you, then yes, a dedicated device can usually do better than a generic integrated solution.

    If you define computing as something wider, then everything is becoming more and more integrated. It is always cheaper and more efficient to do stuff on-chip or on-board instead of communicating with other devices.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,477   +292

    back in the day math co-processors were used to help out the cpu....
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    remember cyrix?
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,572   +9

    Sorry, I really meant gaming/high end rigs. Of course, you don't need much more than a capable CPU to surf the web.

    And also, I'm talking about add on cards, not having more chips on a m/b. It could turn out to be a m/b where you add on aftermarket chips to perfectly configure your rig to your needs.

    Now I wonder, if this becomes reality, what will happen to gaming on a PC? I'm sure most users can't be bothered assembling a gaming PC rig today (I'm talking average gamer here), what more if you can customise PCs as mentioned above?

    Which means it'll probably never happen, and Ageia will probably turn out to be a flop, and the same goes for the KillerNIC. If it does happen, most people will turn to consoles.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu Newcomer, in training Posts: 9,431

    Who says users have to assemble those PCs? Even today only a minority of all the gamers actually build their own machines. Alienware fetish and Dell XPS hype is all over the place.

    If it really goes the ultimate modularity route, then getting yourself a PC will be like ordering a pizza - there are some ready sets available and you can also get your own unique combination if you like. The thing can assembled in front of your eyes in the shop by the salesperson or you order it online, checking boxes in front of the stuff you want.
  8. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,572   +9

    thats an idea.... How far ahead into the future are we talking about here? :p

    I reckon 5 years. See ya in 5.
  9. N3051M

    N3051M Newcomer, in training Posts: 2,800

    If you were refering to Nodsu's Pizza ordering analogy there, then the answer would be right now. Go to the local PC shop and ask for their "Price List" on prebuilt systems and/or parts.. some shops already have system specs on paper with a price ready to be assembled most of the time.. I have a friend of mine that did just that - ordered a pc off the net, with their "gaming rig" options as a backbone and add a few customisation to his final specs.. fully assembled etc.

    The KillerNIC I saw too, and was gonna post here as well (but i forgot about it lol..). Its just plain and simple OVERKILL. Its understandable that if say you're rendering full 30minute 3d animation through a whole computer lab (workstations as numbercrunchers, a server holding the files needed, as well as doing its bit of numbercrunching) then thats probably more like a viable answer (fast access to files to read/write/continue etc) or a server moving large amounts of files over to another machine.. Either way, you will need 2 of the same cards, and some sort of switch/device that is compatible with those speeds/cards to do anything usefull (otherwise it will revert to its lowest common denominator). but most of the time a 1gigabit nic can handle things nicely..

    The physics card i've heard does little improvement to any game...

    I guess to conclude, its realy up to the owner of the rig if he wants that sort of tech in his pc, and if he can afford it or not (cost usualy outwieghs the benifits for some items, but some don't even care..). I mean who wouldn't want a shiny chrome/gold Farscape shaped heatsink cooling his ethernet adaptor (purely for bragging rights and the "cool" factor, although i dont think it would make that much of a difference when he hooks it up to his lanbuddy's pcs). But who knows, if those add-ons are developed enough, then it could one day be standard in the graphics card say, (for the physics card), and thus improve more..

    We may even go VR. :D

    Timeframe... depends how the DX10 cards and new Vista OS and CPUs go.. maybe even at the end of next year we'll see something new and amazing no-ones thought off...
  10. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,572   +9

    I'm still waiting on those DX10 cards. I'm not even sure if they will be worth the money at the moment. I've got a feeling we'll be reading alot of review on how DX10 is very underutilized, and there is no real difference between new DX10 cards and the old DX9 cards.

    Either way, I' waiting for the DX10 cards, some reviews, and a nice price drop :D
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