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Intel will open up its server platform

This week at IDF, Intel made an official announcement on its response to AMD's Torrenza technology. AMD made waves earlier this year when it announced that it would open up its Opteron platform to the industry, allowing other manufacturers to create and develop add-in components that communicate directly with the system processor and memory. Going beyond that, AMD also mentioned that Torrenza would allow companies to create accelerators or co-processors that could be used directly in an Opteron socket.

Intel said that like AMD, it also plans to open up its chipset platform technology. The move would be an unprecedented move for Intel, as it has been guarding its platform for the longest time. Intel's primary goal is to introduce an alternative to AMD's HyperTransport. The technology would allow devices to communicate on a much faster pathway than PCI Express alone could muster. Interfacing directly with the front-side bus (FSB), devices will be able to communicate directly to the processor and or other accelerators. Non-Intel chips will be able to plug into a Xeon socket for example, and work parallel to the main processor or processors.

With the introduction of an open FSB platform, Intel will also be making a move towards integrating memory controllers directly onto processors. This is something that AMD has been doing for several years with the original Opteron processor. DailyTech previously reported that a number of large companies were already partnering with AMD to create accelerator and other co-processors. The decision to open up its platform has propelled AMD into the enterprise market in very large way. It will be interesting to see what Intel's move into an open space will do for the industry.

Currently, the technology is expected to be introduced sometime in the next one to one and a half years. Some analysts speculate that Intel will show off an open FSB specification in 2008 on Itanium, and on the Xeon sometime in 2009. Reports say that Intel is currently working with several companies to create co-processors -- they too would be able to plug directly into a Xeon or Itanium socket.

This week, Intel also announced several updates to its product family. The first being that Kentsfield will now be called Core 2 Quad, which it promised to ship one million units before AMD could ship a single one. Other interesting developments from Intel include two new 45nm fab locations as well as a strong push into tera-flop computing research.

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RE: fsb
By Viditor on 9/28/2006 11:48:22 AM , Rating: 2
First Nehalem based processor should ship sometime in 2008 if all goes planned

First CSI for Itanium (Tukwilla) should be the end of 2008, first CSI for Xeon (Nehelam) is slated for early 2009. That said,
1. I don't believe they have worked out the bugs yet, so it's still not a lock...
2. The proposed open platform model is for FSB, not it wouldn't work on CSI platforms.
3. Your point is quite relevant but for the opposite reason...if the new open platform is adopted, then it won't be ready until CSI is near completion (rendering it useless).

My guess is that Intel is wisely not putting all of their eggs in one basket this time. They are adopting this model in case CSI doesn't work...JMHO

RE: fsb
By Phynaz on 9/28/2006 12:39:08 PM , Rating: 2
2. The proposed open platform model is for FSB, not it wouldn't work on CSI platforms.

Nope. The proposed open platform model is based upon PCIe.

RE: fsb
By Viditor on 9/28/2006 7:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
The proposed open platform model is based upon PCIe

From Anand's article:

"In another example of a string of Intel following AMD's lead, Gelsinger announced extending Intel's FSB license to FPGA manufacturers like Xilinx so that companies can produce other chips that can work alongside Intel processors with a direct FSB connection to the MCH"

RE: fsb
By Phynaz on 9/29/2006 9:21:16 AM , Rating: 2
The FSB isn't open. PCIe is open.

From the same article:
Intel and IBM got together and proposed an extension to PCI Express that would offer both higher bandwidth and lower latency. Since PCI Express is already an industry standard embraced by all sorts of manufacturers, the evolutionary move to another PCI Express based interface makes a lot of sense and is more likely to gain traction than requiring vendors to produce HTX compatible solutions.

RE: fsb
By Viditor on 9/29/2006 11:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
Notice the difference there...

"Intel and IBM got together and proposed an extension to PCI Express..."

"Gelsinger announced extending Intel's FSB license to FPGA manufacturers"

Intel is hoping to do both...but the PCIe proposal is not going to directly connect to the cache and would have a much higher latency...

RE: fsb
By Phynaz on 9/29/2006 2:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
Note your original post where you stated the proposed open platform is FSB.

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