HyperTransport of the future!
AMD usurp PCI with a ground-breaking new technology
Although AMD will always be best known in gaming circles for their processor business, they also research and develop other forms of synthesized silicon silliness, including motherboard chipsets. However, their latest non-Athlon bit of news actually centres around another area of everyone's motherboard, the PCI bus, and at a more fundamental level, the way data is transferred by the bus. The company's new technology is being dubbed "HyperTransport," and it differs to current methodology twofold: firstly it aims to provide a singular input and output stream for each device, rather than sharing one for all, as current technology does. Think of it like a restaurant. You can cook a set menu for every customer and most of them will be pleased with it, but by catering to everyone's individual needs there won't be a problem unless it originates with the customer. If a PCI card is the customer and AMD is the chef, that pretty much hammers it on the head. The other part of the idea is increased speed. AMD want not only to cater to each peripheral's needs, but also to give each of them more leeway. The technology will theoretically (a dirty word when it comes to this sort of technology) allow for 6.4Gb per second peak data rate. So under perfect conditions, data should sail through very quickly. Current PCI buses operate some 24 or so times slower according to Yahoo. AMD's plans for HyperTransport don't just stop with the replacement of the PCI bus though. That's their ultimate dream, of course, but they are also offering the technology (for free!) to companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and others, for use in completely different devices, like networking equipment, set-top boxes and the like. By being so open about the technology, the chances are AMD can improve its standing in the enterprise business sector too, something the company is very keen to pick up the pace on. Companies like ATI and NVIDIA, the two graphics card giants, have also been signed up. The first applied use of HyperTransport the average punter is likely to hear about is in AMD's "Hammer" line of 64-bit processors, which are due to face off against Intel's "Itanium" line sometime this year. If AMD really want the technology to become an industry standard though, it's going to be an uphill battle.