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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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By JeffDM on 9/28/2006 11:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
Wait, are you saying that I can buy a 4x4 (or Torrenza) system today?


By Viditor on 9/28/2006 8:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wait, are you saying that I can buy a 4x4 (or Torrenza) system today?


Two different things...Torrenza is AMD's open license for the cHT (coherent HT) connections which allows third parties to connect coprocessers directly to their own system ram and directly access the cache of any CPU.
4x4 is the dual socket for AM2 which also allows for multi-GPU slots.
It is possible that 4x4 will allow Torrenza chips (i.e. one X2 CPU and one physics coprocesser on a single consumer board with 8 Ram slots).


By peternelson on 9/28/2006 8:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
You can buy accelerators using the same technology in opteron 940 sockets already eg from DRC using Xilinx.

Such companies are likely migrating products to AM2 and/or socket F now as well as incorporating latest Xilinx Virtex 5.

AMD often make announcements during Intel's IDF so maybe we will hear more about 4x4 this week.



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