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"Torrenza" systems will accept both multi-core, accelerators, or "Fusion" processors
AMD sheds more light on accelerated processing projects

This week at CeBIT 2007, AMD revealed more details about its "accelerated computing" platform, codenamed Torrenza. AMD's goal behind Torrenza is to create a platform where application-specific processors can interact cost effectively and offer better performance than a general purpose CPU, while remaining compatible with off the shelf platforms.

AMD guidance revealed this week that future processors will also have integrated "accelerators" embedded into them. A Torrenza system will have at least two sockets, and both will accept accelerators and accelerated CPUs.

One accelerated-processor project on AMD plate, slated for 2008 under the codename Fusion, and combines a dedicated GPU or GPU accelerator onto the same package or even the same silicon die as the main CPU. AMD has already set the ground-work for Fusion processing with its Stream Computing initiative -- utilizing ATI-based graphics adaptors for heavy number crunching. 

Other Torrenza ready projects are also coming to light.  Clearspeed announced its CSX600 math-coprocessor plug-in last year, with the stated intention of creating a socket plugin version for Torrenza.  Los Alamos National Labs is currently building the world's fastest supercomputer, Roadrunner, with Opteron and Cell processors on the Torrenza platform.

Torrenza is not just locked within the compounds of the CPU sockets. According to AMD, Torrenza systems will accept accelerators in a PCI-Express interface too, allow for multiple application specific accelerators to access system memory and processor functions directly.  Mercury systems announced a PCIe plug-in accelerator late last year.

While Torrenza is well on its way to seeing daylight, Intel is also working on its own open architecture platform. Notorious for keeping its CPU platform a closely guarded technology, Intel indicated that it was working on a competitive technology to AMD's HyperTransport, dubbed CSI, allowing direct CPU and memory access.

Intel guidance suggests the company will announce its Torrenza competitor sometime in mid-2008.

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By ZmaxDP on 3/20/2007 2:49:57 PM , Rating: 3
I think we're undervaluing the Torrenza part of the equation here. I thing that Fusion has a lot of possibilities, but I doubt that AMD or Intel would be interested in having more than one or two versions of a given processor grade. It is likely that the Fusion strategy will be used on things where there is a predictable high demand. One likely candidate is system on a chip. Another is a processor with a major FP boost. But I don't think they'll make a list of every conceivable possibility for a processing core and then try to produce every possible combination thereof.

That is what Torenza is for. You can premier a new core variation as a single die that connects vie Torrenza. If that particular core sees high enough market demand to justify it then AMD can transition it to the Fusion strategy. Otherwise, they can keep making money of niche markets for the remainder of the options.

In other words at worst you'd see:

AMD 6400 General Purpose
AMD 6400 FX Gamer Edition (physics, AI co-proc)
AMD 6400 SC Scientific Calculations (FP co-proc)
AMD 6400 CR Cryptography (who knows)

Point being, it is more likely that they would identify target markets and create a fusion CPU for the market. The particulars (2 physics co-processors, two AI co-processors, and 4 AMD K10 6400 Cores) would be covered in the specifications. Still a lot of choices, but more self-evident. Even then, it is likely the cryptography variant would just be Torenza based. Same goes with anything that might need upgrading separate from the general purpose CPU.

I just doubt that Torrenza is going to vanish into the mists and that Fusion will rule all...

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