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HP, Intel and Nvidia want to pioneer the optical gaming PC

It’s safe to say that most of us take for granted the time and effort that goes into developing and manufacturing the components that make up a gaming PC, down to the last nanometer. However, Ayar Labs envisions a future in which our systems communicate via optical connections rather than semiconductors, and its work is generating interest and lightening the wallets of some industry heavyweights.

Ayar Laboratories has attracted investment from HP, Intel and Nvidia, which goes some way to showing how the startup’s optical technology could transform every corner of the gaming computer market. It appears that chip-to-chip optical connectivity could benefit Intel’s best gaming CPUs, and conversely Nvidia’s best graphics cards by circumventing current technological bottlenecks.

Billy Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research at Nvidia, says “Optical connectivity will be important to meet the growing demands of AI and HPC workloads.” HP’s Paul Glaser echoes that sentiment, but more generally says the technology is “crucial to supporting high-performance computing architectures of the future.”

Switching to optical connections could lead to “a 1,000x improvement in interconnect bandwidth density at ten times less power,” according to Ayar Labs. Needless to say, hardware made with this technology could make our current systems look like something out of the Stone Age by comparison.

Given the technology’s infancy compared to semiconductors, it’s hard to know exactly how this will benefit gaming PCs. However, innovations like this typically applied first to enterprise industries before to eventually end up in consumer-grade components.