Thursday, September 21, 2006

AMD hints at big plans for HyperTransport

This morning’s release from Advanced Micro Devices about licensing its cache coherent version of HyperTransport—now called Torrenza --is full of wishy-washy marketing blather and raises more questions than it answers. It appears AMD will “open source” the spec for a future version of the Opteron CPU socket as one step to licensing Torrenza.

In my Sept. 9 post below I read between the lines of IBM’s Roadrunner announcement to see Big Blue must be licensing Torrenza. AMD has been working on the technical and business details of how to do that since it announced in June its intention to open up the interconnect for third-party accelerators that plug directly into its CPU.

Today’s AMD press release sheds little light on that effort. It says Cray, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, HP, IBM, Dell and Sun Microsystems “intend to design products” for, or at least “plan to evaluate” Torrenza. Comments from CTOs of those companies followed but they were all non-specific.

The release was bursting with marketing blather about the Torrenza Innovation Socket and the Open Innovation Program. The release implied OEMs will actually be able to contribute to defining a Torrenza socket, but provided no hard details on who can get what when on what terms. I’m seeking an interview to find out exactly what is happening so I can report it in specific English. Stay tuned.

Adding to the fog, a Wall Streeter’s report in my email box says “AMD's CEO Hector Ruiz [said] yesterday at a dinner in San Francisco…Apple may eventually use AMD processors in its products ‘at some point in the future’…Hector did not suggest that there were any talks currently between the companies.” Thanks for clearing that up! --rbm

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