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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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Xilinx
By peternelson on 6/1/2006 8:37:54 PM , Rating: 2

Good news for Xilinx. Several companies doing this sort of thing with opteron are using Xilinx Virtex series eg Cray, SGI and a couple of others with 940 plug ins.

I would like to see more boards with HTX support.




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