The curtain has dropped, the house lights are back on, and it’s now time to unwind and enjoy while tinkering with your hardware prizes over Christmas. Yes, the tech idea showcase that was the Asus Xtreme General Summit blogging marathon has finally been brought to a close.
That’s no reason to take your eye off the bit-tech
Blogs section though, as we’ve still got the highlights from the final week to be posted here. What’s more, we’ll also reveal the overall winner of the trip to Taiwan, and we’ve got another Xtreme Design competition going on which focuses on graphics cards!
In the meantime, we’re still posting the winning blog from each round in the bit-tech
Blogs section, so without further ado, here’s Andrew Moore’s winning blog from the third week:
Future Features for RoG and Asus
This week, I’m going to try to get some ideas down on paper (metaphorically speaking) about what may be added to future motherboards, or even graphics cards. I was one of the original winners from week one, and this very question for round three is essentially what I had a small think about to earn me a place at the summit:
Winner 3: andrew8200m
One area that was frequently mentioned were the board's power connectors. Reader andrew8200m hit the nail on the head when he said:
"Right angled 24pin and 8pin connectors on the motherboard to aid cable management." He then added another suggestion, which, while complex, sounds very interesting: "6-pin and 8-pin PCI-E connectors embedded into the motherboard so the graphics card runs entirely from the motherboard reducing cable clutter inside the PC. This is similar to having the 24-pin ATX connector on the board."
Tidying Up the ConnectorsAuthor:
Andrew 'andrew8200m' Moore
I figured I would start off with the right-angled connections on the motherboards. This was brought up at the summit, and the main reason why it has been dismissed is because benchers, and those who regularly take out the power cables, prefer to be able to do so with ease, and having right-angled connections would only hinder this.
As a result, this rules out all of the modders and system builders whose main objective is to keep their systems looking tidy and clutter-free. This can’t be achieved as easily when the ATX and 8-pin power connections are positioned as they are on the motherboard.
A suggestion here would be to include a small adaptor in the motherboard box that slips into the ATX and 8-pin connectors to provide a right-angled connector. If you connected this to the PSU, rather than the motherboard, it would mean you could still push in the connections from above, just as if the right angle connection wasn’t even there! This solution is something that could be produced by any manufacturer as a third party unit, though, so it wouldn’t benefit Asus to start producing these; the company would soon start to see a loss.
Another option is to house the ATX and 8-pin power connections on a locking pivot, with flexible cables connecting the block to the motherboard, rather than the directly-soldered rigid pins. You get the best of both worlds with this solution, as it means you can install the cables from above and rotate the sockets when they’re installed to aid with cable management. A small piece of plastic could also be included in the box that clips on to hide any unsightly connections now exposed by the rotated block.
Here’s a small diagram that attempts to show this:
As you can see, it looks as though this is possible. However, as with anything, there’s always going to be the possibility that it isn't possible.
My second plan was to try to come up with a method of getting rid of as much cable-clutter from graphics cards as possible. Having the power cables snake around the place makes everything looks messy. Some cases come with the facility to route the cables behind the motherboard, but what if your case doesn't? Or, what if the cables then are too short to route behind the motherboard and you’re forced to have the full cable on show as a result? It just looks untidy, and this can be very annoying when your PC is otherwise clutter-free.
As such, I proposed a connection just like the 8-pin CPU power connector, but where people plug one of their graphics card power connections directly into the motherboard. This would only really work well with PSUs containing a single heavy Amperage rail, which could prove to be a problem for motherboards that house more than one GPU. Without going into all of the details of how this would fail, I will just go into how it could work, and from there how some sort of development could perhaps be thought out.
The above picture illustrates how having more than one GPU could be addressed. However, adding more to something that’s a universal size results in more clutter, so this probably wouldn't work brilliantly.
This picture illustrates what the daughter cables that power the GPUs from the motherboard could look like. I decided to make the connections so far apart so as accommodate graphics cards such as the HD 4870 X2, where the 6-pin and 8-pin connections are located around 100mm apart. I believe that that this kind of cable management feature could take off when PSU standards form to create a universal singular standard, i.e. either multiple 12V rails or a large single one. It would certainly reduce cable-clutter inside the case, which not only looks looks good, but could also improve the cooling of your computer.