Thursday, September 21, 2006

AMD clarifies what it’s NOT doing

Despite published reports based on a vague press release, Advanced Micro Devices is not making its Opteron socket open source and is not changing the licensing terms of its cache coherent version of HyperTransport.

Here’s what’s really happening, according to Doug O’Flaherty who manages the Torrenza project at AMD: AMD is close to finalizing the specification for its next-generation Opteron socket, expected to be used for chips that ship in the second half of 2007. The company has been collaborating with OEMs and partners under non-disclosure agreement on the socket design more early than usual in the design cycle, AMD claims.

The socket spec will be available when it is completed, just as AMD makes its existing socket data available for motherboard and other companies who need to design products for it. However AMD’s cache coherent version of HyperTransport will still remain proprietary, available to partners via licensing and financial terms the company has not disclosed. Between five to 20 companies have licensed the protocol so far, O’Flaherty said.

At this point, AMD is not willing to disclose any more information about what’s new in its 2007 Opteron socket or who is doing what with its cache coherent protocol. As usual in the business media, AMD has tried to generate excitement without providing much detail. --rbm


Anonymous said...

Torenza allows any device or acceleration vendor who licenses it to operate as a coherency peer. That is a very powerful message to the industry.

- Superior performance and latency

- Simplified software development, debug, etc.

- Simplified and lower cost validation

- Low cost mechanism to integrate I/O without impacting the processor (compare this to Niagara 2). Processor designers can evaluate what to integrate or enhance their ISA as silicon processes evolve and provide the necessary gates.

AMD's business model aside, Torenza opens up opportunities that either do not or will not exist for years to come.

interconnect Guy said...

Once again a marketing attempt at making something look OPEN, but it is far from so! HyperTransport has always had a OPEN STANDARDS EFFORT, but a major portion of the Spec. has been kept proprietary. OPEN means open: RAND terms, open for industry input, changes, collaboration, competitors and partners. Too many of these OPEN 'looking' efforts!, they will fail to create the markets and opportunity they promise, simply because we can all see thru the almost open FUD.
Don't get me wrong there is a opportunity here for 'partners and licensees', but nothing like it would be if it was really OPEN!
Cache Coherent processor interfaces are very important, even in a world of multi-core processors, so while the PC and Server industry is still sorting this out, maybe we all need to look over at the embedded space for the answers to multi-processing? They figure it out long ago!

Anonymous said...

There are multiple problems with everything being completely open:

- Takes too much damn time to get anything defined and often it is too late by the time it is specified

- Too many chefs spoil the potential due to unending compromising. Nothing truly dramatic comes from mass consensus driven by compromise and competing agendas.

- The days of monolithic systems are over. Yes, take a look at the embedded space for guidance but just as all sorts of marketers have discovered, products must be tailored to their particular purpose not mass produced. Hence, OPEN can provide some advantages but only at defined points. Too much OPEN can lead to tremendous market fragmentation in the core technologies causing unnecessary cost increases.