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AMD's "Torrenza" platform mock up
AMD opens up the Opteron architecture to other microprocessor R&D companies

Today AMD unveiled what it calls the evolution of enterprise level computing, called Torrenza. The new platform, says AMD, will utilize next-generation multi-core 64-bit processor that have the capability to work alongside specialized co-processors. DailyTech previously reported that AMD was considering working with co-processing design firms such as ClearSpeed, to develop and design platforms that would be able to utilize specialized processors for specific duties alongside the general host processor in a traditional Opteron socket.

With Torrenza, AMD has designed what it calls an open architecture, based on the next wave of Opteron processors, which allow what AMD calls "Accelerators." Using the add-in accelerators, a system will be capable of peforming specialized calculations similar in fashion to the way we use GPUs today.

Because of its flexibility, the HyperTransport protocol allows a multitude of co-processor designs that are already compatible with systems on other platforms. For example, with Torrenza, specialized co-processors are able to sit directly into an Opteron socket, and communicate directly with the entire system. During the conference, Cray Inc. noted that it had worked with AMD to design a system where a system can contain even up to three different co-processors, all dedicated to specialized tasks.  All three processors would communicate directly with Opteron processors and the system chipset harmonously. The open-ended nature of Torrenza will allow companies to design specialized processors to plug-in and work with Torrenza-enabled Opteron systems.  Although AMD acknowledges many of these applications can run off PCIe and other connection technologies, Torrenza emphasizes HT-3 and HTX in particular.

AMD representatives said that because of the archicture, Torrenza allows very low latency communication between chipset, main processor and co-processors. According to both Cray and AMD, applications can be written in a way where all the variouis processing architectures are recognized and are fully usable. Torrenza-aware applications are on the way said Cray, but the company did admit that developing them was very much "rocket-science".

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RE: How handy
By Clauzii on 6/1/2006 6:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Who say they can't?

This is a good opportunity for Ageia if they play their cards right (npi).

RE: How handy
By Trisped on 6/1/2006 6:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know very many people that want their $10k+ servers to run a physics co-processor.

If Ageia wanted to run in high bandwidth, low latency setups they should have used PCIe rather then standard PCI.

RE: How handy
By beemercer on 6/1/2006 7:20:15 PM , Rating: 3
Also, i dont think many consumers/gamers will be multi-socket opteron boards.

RE: How handy
By beemercer on 6/1/2006 7:20:51 PM , Rating: 3
Also, i dont think many consumers/gamers will be running multi-socket opteron boards.

RE: How handy
By wingless on 6/1/2006 8:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
Im a consumer and I think it would be a great idea for my home PC. We once all added in a co-processor called a GPU and theyre bandwidth hungry. If all our important "co-processors" had a spot on the board and a hypertransport pipe to the CPU then the processing power would be insane. AMD has thought this technology through and we all know theyre making a pretty decent decision by coming out with this tech.

RE: How handy
By Hare on 6/2/2006 4:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
Latency would improve but is not a real concern when it comes to GPUs. Besides we can't even saturate AGP or PCIe with current GPUs etc so no need to really add another socket to direct hypertransport.

RE: How handy
By Burning Bridges on 6/8/2006 8:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
AGP can and has been saturated :)

and there are reports that corssfire setups are also becoming bandwidth limited :P

RE: How handy
By peternelson on 6/1/2006 8:44:13 PM , Rating: 2

Yeah Ageia should have gone pcie from launch. Or as a minimum both pci and pcie.

I will not buy one unless/until they bring out a pcie edition.

RE: How handy
By kitchme on 6/1/2006 11:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Or, at least they should have offered two versions (like video cards) - PCI and PCIe. But I guess to save money and to cover people that have AGPs (still a great deal), they decided to release only PCI.
I also don't understand why there isn't more stuff for all those empty 1x/4x PCIe slots.

RE: How handy
By cnimativ on 6/2/2006 12:12:40 AM , Rating: 1
probably because most mobo designers are not smart enough to account for the 2x slot space that most gfx cards use.

how many times have you seen a pcie 1x/4x cards being blocked by your grahpics cards' huge heatsink+fan?

RE: How handy
By poohbear on 6/2/2006 5:02:11 AM , Rating: 2
dude ppl still using agp are'nt gonna buy a $300 physics processor. get real. they used pci cause the bandwidth it provides is enough, simple as that.

RE: How handy
By Viditor on 6/2/2006 3:16:00 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know very many people that want their $10k+ servers to run a physics co-processor

What about their $10k+ graphics workstation?

RE: How handy
By xdrol on 6/4/2006 6:17:26 AM , Rating: 2
PCIe is anything but low latency.

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