The Future of Graphics Cards?

Sep 14, 2010

Having recently replaced my graphics card, I was surprised to learn that the latest generation of cards requires not one, but two PCI-E power connections (with recommended power ratings of 20A on the +12V rail). Seeing as graphics cards have gotten larger (they now take up the width of 2 or more PCI slots) and more power hungry, I got thinking about their future. Several questions came to mind:

  • In 5 or 10 years, will graphics cards require their own dedicated power supply?
  • Will computer manufacturers forgo the PCI-E format for some sort of on-board socket, similar to the CPU?
  • If not, how will card size factor in to motherboard and case design?

It seems to me, especially seeing as how some graphics cards have cooling units larger than the card itself, that the PCI-E form factor for GPUs can't last for many more years. Perhaps smaller-scale, multiple cores will prevent them from growing even larger than they are today. It's interesting to think about the various possibilities.

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