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Oct
27
2013

What to Expect in 2014: Computer Hardware and Technology

What to Expect in 2014: Computer Hardware and Technology

Technology is always advancing and it is interesting to see how far we have come. Just a few years ago, we were playing Crysis on a GTX 280 and were blown away by the graphics. Now, in 2013, we are amazed with how fast storage has become and the advances that have been made in silicon technology. With 2014 approaching fast, we have dived in to see what you can expect in the coming year.

NVIDIA’s Maxwell

With 2013 coming to a close and the last Kepler card about to be released, a successor is being prepped for the next generation. Codenamed Maxwell, the GPU will be one of the first produced on TSMC’s 20nm manufacturing process. With Fermi being built on a 40nm process and Kepler on a 28nm process, each revision has brought more power while being more efficient. If Maxwell follows this trend, it will be both faster and will consume less energy.

Then again, things like this are expected. What makes the new Maxwell architecture different is that it integrates a 64-bit ARM CPU. This has been something that NVIDIA has been working on for ages and will serve as a general-purpose core. Another innovation will be Unified Virtual Memory that will allow both the GPU and CPU to share a pool of memory. Then there is NVIDIA’s Volta architecture that is slated to be released after Maxwell. However, we most likely won’t see it until 2015.

DDR4 Memory

With DDR3 being sever years old, it’s time for an upgrade. No one knows for sure when DDR4 will be supported natively but many are speculating that it will come with Intel’s Broadwell or Haswell-E CPUs. What makes DDR4 special? It allows manufactures to cram more dense memory modules onto the memory sticks that offer higher speeds and operate on lower voltages. With adoption expected to grow slowly, expect CPUs to be backwards compatible with DDR3.

USB 3.1

USB 3.0 has been out for a little while and a new revision has already been spec’d. USB 3.1 essentially doubles the bandwidth of USB 3.0; going from 5Gbp/s to 10Gbp/s. Demos of the new standard show transfer speeds hitting 800MB/s. With more maturity, we can expect speeds to exceed 1GB/s.

SATA Express Storage

Solid-state drives are already hitting the bandwidth cap of SATA 6. Many people are amazed at how fast SSD’s are and think that there is no way it could get faster. Think again, SATA Express is showing promise of 1.4GB/s transfers. Those speeds are only on the PCIe 2.0 interface. SATA Express drives most likely won’t come in the standard 2.5” or 3.5” sizes that we are used to. Instead, they will most likely be in the M.2 form factor that is used in some new laptops. Could mechanical drives finally be approaching their death? Until prices fall and densities rise, I think not. However, the new SATA Express interface may persuade some to drop the slow mechanical drives in favor of the Ultra fast express flash storage.

NVIDIA's G-Sync Monitors

G-Sync is NVIDIA’s new technology that incorporates a GPU into the monitor that reduces monitor tear to practically zero. This makes gaming on mid-range hardware possible on higher settings without the stuttering that many have been accustomed to. ASUS has already announced that their next generation monitors that will be released in 2014 will incorporate G-Sync. The VG248QE will be the first at $399.

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