The situation in the computer market has always changed rapidly, but these days everything happens so quickly that it looks like we are at some crucial turning-point. The computer world is standing on three foundations: the CPUs, the graphics cards and the mainboards, so any sort of changes will immediately be noticed.
It took Intel some time to realize that frequency is not the most important thing in life. However once they realized it, they launched very successful Core 2 Duo processor family. Of course, they are not going to stop right there and although even the potential of dual-core processors is not yet fully utilized they are very soon going to move everyone to quad-core solutions. AMD is also trying to keep up with their 4x4 platform concept.
The graphics card makers are sticking to the general tendency towards increasing the number of GPUs. At first only Nvidia Company tried to convince us that two graphics cards working in SLI mode are better than one, then their main competitor joined them with ATI CrossFire technology. And some time ago ATI went even further having announced Stream Computing technology that performs all calculations in the graphics chips.
If two graphics cards are working in CrossFire mode then the third one can deal with physics calculations, since even relatively old graphics cards like Radeon X1600 based ones claim to support Havok FX. Three graphics card in a single computer system is an even more doubtful solution these days than quad-core CPUs. From this prospective, Nvidia’s solution seems to be more realistic: they are rumored to be integrating physics calculations support into their top GPUs within the Quantum Effects technology implementation.
The third “foundation” is represented by the mainboard guys is still picking up pace and getting ready for changes to come, although they start to feature some cool innovations such as digital CPU power consumption control, for instance. Although they promised to introduce support of three PCI Express x16 slots (for a pair of graphics cards working together and the third one dealing with physics) only in the next generation chipsets, ASUS is already offering P5W64 WS Professional mainboard equipped with four PCI-E x16 slots.