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 Post subject: Why is ATX STILL Alive?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:27 am 
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So this is little rant about something that makes no sense to me....

Why is the ATX standard still in use? Can nobody come up with a better solution? I bring this up with one primary concern. Graphics cards. Modern GPUs are extremely complex. The most powerful GPUs contain many more transistors than powerful CPUs and therefore are extremely power hungry and hot. The problem comes with cooling these beasts. For some reason, people seem to be ok with cooling 180W+ TDP GPUs on a card!! Ultimately, GPUs need to be taken off of cards. Let me explain.

Why is cooling a CPU easy? Mostly because you can chuck a huge piece of aluminium or copper on it. Well, how can you do that? Simple, there's a secure way to support it. Wouldn't it be logical to apply this thought process to GPUs, which have become hotter than CPUs?

<sarcasm>
But no, that can't make any sense. :roll: Instead, let's keep GPUs on cards. Then, the cooling system can't be very heavy. (Everyone knows lighter and smaller heatsinks perform better) AND because the cards are right next to your other expansion cards, the better (ie larger) cooling solutions block your other slots. (Awesome! Obviously, PCI slots were made to be blocked by GPU heatsinks and fans) Oh, and let's make the cards face down. (Heat definitely doesn't rise)
</sarcasm>

On a serious note, do you see a problem? Cooling extremely hot GPUs, which are located on cards, is inherently difficult. Now I don't mean to bash the ATX standard. I'm sure that at the time it was created, it was logically designed and made sense. But that was over a decade ago! Today, ATX is outdated. Expansion cards should be used for simple expansions to the system's functionality. With the complexity of modern graphics cards, graphics in general is no longer what I consider an expansion. Today, graphics are a major fundamental aspect of a computer system.

My solution is simple. GPUs need to have their own socket. Yes, this is a radical proposal. However, it only makes sense. Utilizing a socket allows users to mount large heatsinks on the GPU. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a GTX 260/4870 with a TRUE on it? Temps would be amazing. And it could be cooled so much more quietly than using the stock blowers. Plus it wouldn't take 3 slots to mount a AC S1 + 120mm fan.

Just to elaborate on my idea a bit more. The GPU itself would come in a package, just like CPUs do. And Graphics-RAM would work just like regular CPU-RAM. I think GDDRx should come in modules and use GPU-ram slots. And GDDRx would be backwards compatible, so GDDR2 could be used in the same slots as GDDR5. Essentially my idea would look very similar to a dual CPU motherboard, but instead of the CPU sockets would be a specially designed GPU socket. And of course, I'd like to get it a little smaller than regular eATX s boards.

Finally, there are lots of technical considerations that would have to be worked out. But I'm sure that with the complexity of today's motherboards, something could be worked out. I know that this is no simple proposal. I'm not proposing a small tweak of the ATX spec. I'm calling for a new motherboard spec. I strongly believe that we are in urgent need of a new spec, because the current one is badly outdated.

Thanks for reading. Comments, criticism, discussion?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:42 am 
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I think it's an interesting idea, one that should be looked at by those who control the standards. While I wont say it's impossible, it will be hard to keep the same size boards, and still offer 5-6 PCI expansion slots.

A couple of things come to mind
-Board complexity for two types of RAM as well as the appropriate power regulation
-Board size with 2 sockets
-PCI x16 slots would become useless? What else uses even x8 besides video cards?
-board cost increases immensely due to complexity.
-compatibility with current ATX cases? Or ATX PSU's for that matter.

those thoughts just popped up while reading. Otherwise, it would be incredibly interesting to see this happen. If the GPU could have access to something like Hyper Transport, maybe we wouldn't need specially designed RAM for the GPU, maybe it could use system ram, assuming DDR4 or ram post-DDR3 is fast enough.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:50 am 
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I don't see how this would really solve any problems, frankly. If anything, compatibility between older motherboards and newer GPU's / GRAM would mean that people would have to upgrade their motherboards more often. The main issue is the effect on "mainstream" users, though... Think of how few people in the world are even comfortable upgrading the CPU, as opposed to the considerably simpler and safer process of switching out a card.

ryboto - the main cards that use PCIe x8 other than video cards are probably fast RAID cards.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:27 am 
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I think it's a great idea. Several problems have been listed but it seems to me that it might be possible to base the design on an extended atx board that has two CPU sockets? Just change one of those to a GPU. I know very little about motherboards so I may be way off here. That way you have existing cases that are compatible and you could have two exhaust fans on the top, one above each processor.

Alternatively how about doing away with all but one of the PCI slots and use the resulting space? After all, these slots are less use these days with so much stuff on the MB.

Feasible or not?

(It would be nicer to have a complete new standard IMHO)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:02 am 
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I don't see it happening...

A much more feasible scenario would be moving the graphics subsystem into its own case, with its own power supply. Alternatively, it could be inside a special thermal zone inside a "normal" case, but still connected to the motherboard through some kind of a special cable.

Other things wouldn't work simply because you'd need to change the entire motherboard if you want to upgrade your graphics.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:10 pm 
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Another thing is that I don't see why graphics cards will need a ridiculous amount of power in the near future. The cards that are becoming popular now are the lower-power ones, and more people (not just SPCR members) are now conscious about power needs and requirements when they're upgrading. The vast majority of people can be more than happy with an HD4670 - a card that does not even need a PCIe power connector - nowadays. And anyway, the desktop PC market has been dying for a while now, with laptops making lots of gains. With the increased popularity of laptops, netbooks, HTPC's, and other small desktop solutions, it's decent onboard video that is gaining more importance now, and it would be impractical to make it upgradeable and whatnot.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:04 pm 
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Like many others I would also like to use a nice tower heatsink on my gpu. Yes, the power circuitry and ram could be placed on the motherboard, that`s all technically feasable. There are a couple of problems however. Motherboards would be come much more complex and expensive. This could complicate things when it comes to budget boards with intergrated graphics. What is a board maker to do? Omit the gpu sucket & supporting components altogether? In that case the user will not be able to upgrade in the future, unless conventional video card continued to exist. In that case there will be two formats for gpus: card and chip based. I don`t know if this is a viable option

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:14 pm 
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I have to say, I'm not convinced having a GPU socket on the motherboard would work. If the GPU had GRAM slots both the slots and chip would need to be compatible with a lot of different memory technologies, and seeing how there are so few DDR2/DDR3 dual memory motherboards out there I have a feeling it would be hard to fit 4+ different controllers. That would be one for each of DDR2/3 and GDDR3/4/5. Unless certain chips only supported certain memories, but then its likely that the slots would have to keyed to avoid incorrect memory types being used.

The other issue would be the uber-gamers with triple/quadruple graphics card set-ups. I know that isn't really a concern for SPCR regulars generally, but it is something that would have to be considered if a new standard were made.

I don't hate the idea of a GPU socket, but I can't really see it being much good above mainstream levels, like for the "enthusiast" people. Then again, most people are happy with reasonable performance so long as it doesn't suck totally when you get round to gaming. Different sockets for different levels of GPU could work, with say low and mainstream boards, so long as ALL GPUs work in that socket. I suspect that wouldn't be the case, as some manufacturers seem to avoid competition where they can *cough* nvidia *cough*. SLI only motherboards spring to mind, but thats a rant for somewhere else.

One thing I have just thought of, don't we already have IGPs? As of the 780/790 and 8300 etc they are good enough for most people.

Apologies if that was overly repetitive or ranty, comments and criticisms are welcome along with valid arguments.

@ntavlas: Damn you for getting my point before I could post :p
Good point with the dual format thing though.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:31 am 
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@angelkiller, i like you sarcasm, reminds me of myself. remember those days, when expansion slot were used to expand the pc's capabilities? well i had 1-2 ethernet nics, a sound card, a video card (just dumped an old Riva TNT 32 a week ago) to fill those slots. nowadays, well there's just one huge videocard, which takes up at least 2 slots and requires even 1 more to get some proper airflow under it. also refering to the upside down card design (your point, heat rises) and that fan has to blow all the way through all components through the card to exit the case, which is IMHO inefficient and loud, too.

why not dump the atx standard to go something into the direction of comfy laptop pcmci slots, instead of having to open the case for expansions, have 3-4 slots in the back to stick expansions slots in from behind, also nice for quick removal. use the gained space for a better gpu/socket/expansion design, gpu cards tend to get longer and bigger anyhow these days.

i just upgraded my gaming rig - 27 centimeters for an gtx260 (major upgrade) i ended up, buying a total new case, so long for that atx standard.

i would take of that cover an put a ninjia or cpu heatsink on it if i had enough skills to manufacture a mounting grill or something alike, to hold the HS on the gpu and the weight somehow. that would certainly improve cooling and air flow.


cheers
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:32 am 
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A GPU socket makes no sense. Suddently you have to make motherboards that are future proof/backwards compatible with GPU's?
That ain't gonna happen.

Instead, keep the graphics cards like they are, and move the location.

I've seen this discussion before, although it was a long time ago.
I tried to find my post from back in 2005 or something like that, but I couldn't find it.

My idea was to move the PCIe x16 slot to above the CPU, and facing away from the CPU, making the graphics card placed text to and above the motherboard in a regular ATX case. The connector would look something like this.
The motherboard could have a size like µATX with four regular slots, which is enough since there's no dual slot graphics card there. The graphics card could even be attached with screws to the case, just like the motherboard.

Pros:


- Secure mounting for the graphics card.

- Ability to use high end CPU coolers for the graphics card.

- The graphics cards doesn't have to change in design at all. In worst case, they have to sell it with a new back plate.

- Motherboards can be made close enough to the ATX/µATX standard so that they still fit in in older cases, without a graphics card.

- No regular slots are obstructed by GPU coolers, and one more slot available since there's no graphics card in the usual place.

- Perfect formfactor for low profile cases, even with regular graphics cards. Total width would be about 36 cm / 14" with a µATX and a high end graphics card.

Cons:

- New cases

- New motherboards, of course.

- Motherboard design may or may not be a problem, routing traces from the NB to the other side of the CPU. I honestly don't know.
It's not really a problem for future CPU's that have integrated PCIe controller.

- No SLI/Crossfire solution for those who need more than a ATI HD 4890 X2. I don't think this is the product for them anyway, they'd probably go for a Lucid Hydra.

This is why I kind of liked BTX, all you needed was a angled PCIe riser and a BTX case, although I never saw it happening.
I could have done it if Intel still produced new BTX motherboards.
Some minor modding of the back of a BTX case wouldn't have been difficult, although I would loose all the other slots.


Last edited by Mats on Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:07 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:43 am 
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Why not invert the ATX standard and then reinforce the videocard mounting mechanism. Then it would be a matter of placing the PCI (or PCI-e) slots below the main card(s) and then creating a mountable tower heatsink for GPU.

Or instead of making a GPU "socket" just re-engineer the slot that is already the standard interface to a new interface that works better for cooling.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:31 am 
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They dont have to change ATX at all. If GPU makers put the componants on the other side of the board (facing up) it would make things much better. I have no idea why they dont already, especially if your cooling passively it would be better. Move the x16 slot down a bit to make sure the big coolers dont smack into the northbridge and that is the only change they'd need.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:03 am 
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FartingBob wrote:
They dont have to change ATX at all. If GPU makers put the componants on the other side of the board (facing up) it would make things much better. I have no idea why they dont already, especially if your cooling passively it would be better. Move the x16 slot down a bit to make sure the big coolers dont smack into the northbridge and that is the only change they'd need.

Maybe because the PCI (and PCIe) standard says that components must be on the other side of the cards. ISA cards have (or had) components on the other side.

Image

There are plenty of ATX cases (like the Cooler Master Centurion 541 pictured above) where the motherboard is flipped if you want your PCI/PCIe components facing up.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:16 am 
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Funny - I opened this thread thinking it would be about mATX taking over as there is little need for full ATX boards these days. I think my assumptions as well as some other responses answer the OP's question. Computing is moving continuously to smaller and more integrated. The vast majority of users will never install a single expansion card. The popularity of netbooks shows that the computer as appliance is becoming a reality, as average users are finally starting to realise that more speed only matters if you have a need for it, which most don't.

Keeping GPU's (other than integrated) on an expansion card means the slim minority of users who demand a powerful GPU aren't making the vast majority waste PCB space on another socket that they will never use. They already waste the PCI lanes that they will never use, but that's why so many OEM boards are mATX with a single 16x slot only. Fewer traces, simpler design. Also - as mentioned, GPU memory interfaces and bus widths are already highly segmented by performance, and GPU sockets would not allow that.

I think that rather than adopting a new standard for an extremely small and shrinking segment of PC enthusiasts, the ATX standard will remain (with minor changes) as the enthusiast standard - supported to a limited degree for that market segment, while the remainder move towards mATX and even smaller fully integrated systems. I'm a moderate gamer, and I've been on mATX exclusively for 3 years now as I see no need for multiple GPU's. I wouldn't be surprised to see notebook standard GPU interfaces be adopted on small desktop systems. Personally, I'm looking forward most to the day soon to come when all motherboards will be able to turn off the expansion slot GPU completely and use the onboard video for less demanding work. It's starting to happen.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:58 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
FartingBob wrote:
They dont have to change ATX at all. If GPU makers put the componants on the other side of the board (facing up) it would make things much better. I have no idea why they dont already, especially if your cooling passively it would be better. Move the x16 slot down a bit to make sure the big coolers dont smack into the northbridge and that is the only change they'd need.

Maybe because the PCI (and PCIe) standard says that components must be on the other side of the cards.

I don't think that's the reason, Asus did it with ReverseCool.
Image

Motherboards with perpendicular graphics cards is not the best solution for what the OP is looking for.
If you want to be able to use tower coolers you need to place the motherboard and the graphics card next to each other, like I suggested.
Otherwise you are limited to a few cooler models and ATX motherboards with the PCIe16 slot placed lower, making even more expansion slots useless than todays dual slot coolers causes. And you'd still have to compromise on the heatsink size, no Thermalright HR-01 or similar can be used.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:20 am 
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Mats wrote:
QuietOC wrote:
Maybe because the PCI (and PCIe) standard says that components must be on the other side of the cards.

I don't think that's the reason,...

So, there happen to be a few passive video cards that violate the standard. I don't think you'll see AMD or nVidia release a reference design that uses that space behind the card. People do have issues fitting those cards in normal systems.

Quote:
If you want to be able to use tower coolers you need to place the motherboard and the graphics card next to each other, like I suggested.


I am big advocate of using CPU coolers on video cards, and there should be plenty of room to use CPU heatsinks on the video card. All you need is:

"Flipped" ATX case
Motherboard with PCIe x16 slot close to CPU

I've done it with microATX, but then you only get 4-slots at the most plus whatever extra room the case has, so you're limited to short heatsinks. I always thought the GlobalWin VOS32 should be used on a video card.

Image
I wonder how much those are used? :)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:25 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
Mats wrote:
QuietOC wrote:
Maybe because the PCI (and PCIe) standard says that components must be on the other side of the cards.

I don't think that's the reason,...

So, there happen to be a few passive video cards that violate the standard. I don't think you'll see AMD or nVidia release a reference design that uses that space behind the card.

It was just an example showing that it is possible even though it doesn't follow the standard. I never said I think it would show up as a reference design.

QuietOC wrote:
People do have issues fitting those cards in normal systems.

The same can be said about graphics cards with the heatsink on the back, so it's not really that much of a problem.
QuietOC wrote:
Mats wrote:
If you want to be able to use tower coolers you need to place the motherboard and the graphics card next to each other, like I suggested.

I am big advocate of using CPU coolers on video cards, and there should be plenty of room to use CPU heatsinks on the video card. All you need is:

"Flipped" ATX case
Motherboard with PCIe x16 slot close to CPU

But that also makes other slots useless, and I still think the OP doesn't want that:
Quote:
Obviously, PCI slots were made to be blocked by GPU heatsinks and fans

There are different ways to improve the cooling for graphics cards, but the point with this thread is that the current standard isn't very good because of the outdated ATX form factor.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:42 am 
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angelkiller: Why do you want a GPU socket? That's not really necessary to improve cooling possibilities?

The only thing you need is a standard graphics card placed parallel with the motherboard, either next to it like I suggest, or on top of it like a MXM card (uses too much space from the motherboard though).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:46 am 
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I think one good solution would be to make graphics cards external.

I also see two major deficiencies in ATX:

1) It's hard for normal people to upgrade. This could be addressed by dafabi's suggestion of using PCMCIA-style cards that can be inserted/removed from outside.

2) Expansion cards interfere with airflow. Air flows from bottom to top in ATX cases, but expansion cards are horizontal, impeding the flow while not being well cooled by it. Other components tend to prevent air from flowing in a neat straight line too. Unfortunately, fixing this would mean big changes to everything.


FartingBob wrote:
...If GPU makers put the componants on the other side of the board (facing up) it would make things much better. I have no idea why they dont already...

PCI cards have components on the underside because it allows one PCI slot and one ISA slot share the same bracket. This is unlikely to be changed because it will risk incompatibility.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:01 pm 
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Mr Evil wrote:
I think one good solution would be to make graphics cards external.

I also see two major deficiencies in ATX:

1) It's hard for normal people to upgrade. This could be addressed by dafabi's suggestion of using PCMCIA-style cards that can be inserted/removed from outside.

2) Expansion cards interfere with airflow. Air flows from bottom to top in ATX cases, but expansion cards are horizontal, impeding the flow while not being well cooled by it. Other components tend to prevent air from flowing in a neat straight line too. Unfortunately, fixing this would mean big changes to everything.


1 - The cards you suggest doesn't really sound like a solution for better cooling than what is used today.

2 - Using a motherboard and graphics card placed in parallel would at least not require new graphics cards.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:43 am 
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interesting brainstorming going on..

all i would be glad of is an pci-e 16x 90 degree angle adpater to mount my vga card pcb 90 degrees turned/bent, don't even mind blockin all other adapters with my full functional atx mainboard. (pcb parallel to mainboard)
with an 3way sli board using the bottom sli slot maybe?

something like "left angle" http://www.orbitmicro.com/global/pciexp ... p-738.html

with that OR the mainboard flipped as with a mentioned case above, cpu heatsink would prob. fit on the gpu card. and your not so limited by height.

cheers
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:26 am 
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Thanks for all the great responses! :D Sorry I haven't responded until now. I've been pretty busy over the last few days. Anyway, I can't respond specifically to each of you, so I'll try to address some general themes I see. (If you want a specific point to be addressed, bring it up again, and I'll get to it)

First, this is still just an idea I was playing with. I obviously haven't thought through it 100%. But I think you guys understand that already.

Seems some people think upgrading would be an issue. The way I saw it, it would be no different from upgrading a CPU. The GPU socket would support multiple generations of chips. So when you want to upgrade, you just get a new chip. If there is a compatibility issue, you need a new board. Just like with old mobos and new CPUs. Any mobo less than 2 years old still supports the C2D family. I don't see how you'd have to upgrade it more often. And I didn't think computers were designed to to easily upgradeable by the masses. (nor should they)

I think newer cards will need more power, or at least as much as they currently do. Yes, low powered chips and IGPs are getting popular, but you still have cards like the GTX 280 and GTX 295. It would make sense that my socket idea only apply in the mainstream and above. So low end computers wouldn't use GPU sockets. They would still use conventional PCI-E cards. Of course that's not an issue because they wouldn't have powerful cards anyway. So let's say cards less powerful than a 8800GT/4830 would stay on cards because they are relatively low powered and cooling is less of an issue. Anything equal to or above those cards use too much power to be on cards imho.

Yes, mobo cost would go up. More than likely, it'd be a noticeable jump. (even after prices settle) I'm still thinking of a solution to that. As for low end PCs and multiple standards, see the paragraph right above. Low end GPUs stay on cards and mainstream and above move to sockets. So no, if you start out with a low end PC with no GPU socket, you are limited as to how far you can upgrade you graphics to. But who pairs a low end mobo with more than a mainstream GPU? I think the number affected by this is small.

I'm not convinced this would work either. :lol: The GPU would not have to be compatible with multiple memory technologies. The GPU-RAM slots support different forms (like GDDR2,3 & 4) But the GPU only supports one. So whatever one the GPU supports, that's the kind you have to use. The slots support multiple technologies, the GPU only one, so no need for multiple memory controllers.

As for SLI/CF setups, this is going to sound ridiculous, what about a second GPU socket. (Yes 3 sockets total) I don't really have another solution. It'd be just like dual CPUs, but with GPUs.

Mats wrote:
angelkiller: Why do you want a GPU socket? That's not really necessary to improve cooling possibilities?

You already pretty much got it. I think the way we're doing things now isn't the best solution. I think having graphics cards that are longer than the motherboard is ridiculous and then in order to cool that GPU you need a heatsink as big as the card, which was already crazy long. I think there's got to be some better way to cool graphics cards than with dual slot blowers. I do admit that my idea is extremely radical. I don't think my idea can be just released into today's market. Instead, it'd have to be something to work to. Like in 5-7 years we'd be using GPU sockets. Not necessarily something we'd do right now.

Also, I wasn't saying that my idea was the only way. Bottom line is that I just want a better way to cool graphics cards. I'm sure there are many other options that don't require a completely new motherboard standard. I didn't want to complain without offering at least a somewhat workable idea, so GPU sockets is what I came up with. At the very least it's an interesting thought, no? But I really think that something has got to change.

Mats wrote:
Instead, keep the graphics cards like they are, and move the location.

I really like your idea. I mean, I really like your idea. Assuming you could screw it down, that would accomplish everything I wanted. If you ever get a patent, PM me. :wink:

Again, thanks for the responses. Really interesting thoughts and ideas here.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:35 am 
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angelkiller wrote:
...And I didn't think computers were designed to to easily upgradeable by the masses. (nor should they)...

Why not? Computers are used by the masses, and the masses need upgrades. One of the best things to happen to PCs is USB, precisely because it is so very easy to use for non-technical people. I've seen the most computer illiterate users successfully add USB peripherals where they would utterly fail to upgrade a PCI card. A USB-style version of PCI would be brilliant. External PCIe could bring this about, for graphics cards at least.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:18 am 
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Mr Evil wrote:
Why not? Computers are used by the masses, and the masses need upgrades. One of the best things to happen to PCs is USB, precisely because it is so very easy to use for non-technical people. I've seen the most computer illiterate users successfully add USB peripherals where they would utterly fail to upgrade a PCI card. A USB-style version of PCI would be brilliant. External PCIe could bring this about, for graphics cards at least.

I don't think we should not use an idea because it complicates things for non-technical people. If it complicated things for us enthusiasts, I don't think the idea is good. But I think function should come before ease of use by non-technical people. Hopefully, that makes sense. I'm not opposed to computers being easy to use, I just don't think think that ease of use for everyone should interfere with function.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:05 pm 
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angelkiller wrote:
I don't think we should not use an idea because it complicates things for non-technical people. If it complicated things for us enthusiasts, I don't think the idea is good. But I think function should come before ease of use by non-technical people. Hopefully, that makes sense. I'm not opposed to computers being easy to use, I just don't think think that ease of use for everyone should interfere with function.

You need to weigh the benefits. If we wanted computers that made no functionality sacrifices, we would be soldering our CPUs and RAM directly to the motherboards as was done in the past, but we don't do that because the usability benefits of sockets far outweigh their disadvantages. Likewise, there is no compelling reason why expansion cards need to be hard to install.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:57 am 
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I haven't seen this thread until today. I had about the same idea ~2.5 years ago, link to old thread and quoting myself:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... 794ffa589f

Considering that the power hunger of graphic cards is growing more than that of CPUs, I believe we can expect a new product:
An (E)ATX sized graphic card including a motherboard, the GPU socket having the same HSF mounting mechanism as the CPU one.
This could also lead to a new kind of case, that has fewer PCI slots and two 120 mm exhausts in the back, aligned and ducted to tower HSFs.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:27 pm 
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I still can't see the reason for having GPU sockets, after all these posts. We're talking about getting better cooling, and you don't need sockets for that. It would just complicate things, just imagine when you suddently want ATI instead of Nvidia.
The way GPU's are produced would have to be changed, and the consumers would have to pay for that in the end.
Instead of making a PCB for a GPU that's made for a certain GPU, the new motherboards must either be able to support the TDP of ALL GPU's (which is very high, and will make the motherboard expensive), or there have to be several motherboard models made. Multiply the model count with 2 for ATI/Nvidia support.
I believe that most people here realize that this standard wouldn't take over the old slot standard, we are most likely a minority, so the the extra effort to make a new standard must be as low as possible.

Keep the graphics cards like they are.

Motherboards on the other hand are already made in a lot of different form factors: ATX, mini-ITX, expansion card PC's, laptop motherboards, proprietary designs for SFF's. All with various IC's, SMD's, Slots, connectors, sockets, and number of layers.
All it takes is ONE new motherboard model to make most of us happy, if it's done the right way. Lets just say Asus makes a µATX with a PCIE on the upper edge of the PCB for a side by side placement for the graphics card. This single product would work with ALL existing PCIe graphics cards, huge or small. It could even be one of their barebones, just to make things easier. The best thing is that this product could enter the market today, it can be done easily.

Now consider the cost and R&D for producing the motherboard mentioned above, compared to:
- Make GPU's with new standard PGA or LGA sockets, which doesn't exist today.
- Make GDDRx RAM sticks in some new standard as well.
- Keep the pin count in the GPU's made for at least two generations.
- Either try to keep the TDP in future GPU's, or design a slightly oversized GPU power supply for future proofness (and hope for the best), or limit the choice of GPU's for sockets (which practically cripples your motherboard if it doesn't have a traditional slot as well).

. . . I can go on with this list but I don't see the point. I see no need to revolutionise the whole motherboard production just to satisfy <0.01 % of the market.

I mean, all this just to be able to cool a GPU properly? Shouldn't we just try to keep things simple?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:06 am 
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If you want to put your graphics cards somewhere other than the expansion slots, go and buy a PCI-E riser adaptor. Some are in cable form so you could theoretically put the card external to the case.

I see no problem with using uATX and a 2 slot passive cooler with a 120mm fan blowing down it from the front. Works very well for me.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:18 am 
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edh wrote:
If you want to put your graphics cards somewhere other than the expansion slots, go and buy a PCI-E riser adaptor. Some are in cable form so you could theoretically put the card external to the case.

Well as I said before, it used to be a good idea for BTX because it put the GPU in the right direction, although with blocked slots.
With ATX you get either a partly blocked area for the CPU cooler/NB, or block the other slots.
edh wrote:
I see no problem with using uATX and a 2 slot passive cooler with a 120mm fan blowing down it from the front. Works very well for me.

Yeah, not really a problem for me either.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:44 am 
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I just vote for 'extension cords' for PCIe 16x. Probably look something like IDE cables. Then you can keep motherboards the same, keep graphics cards the same except adding some places for screws. Then case makers could just add some places for motherboard standoffs so you can screw the graphics card into the case somewhere and mount whatever heatsink you want.

EDIT: you would also need another cable to extend the faceplate to the back of the case.

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