Monday, March 05, 2007

The x86 sword fight


The hardware.info site did a good job laying out the basics of the Intel versus AMD battle over CPU interconnects in a tutorial on the Geneseo, CSI and Torrenza programs.

There were just a couple points they neglected to hammer home. This is a battle for mindshare, trying to get the most innovative accelerator cores to commit resources to an Intel or AMD ecosystem. Both parties not only want those chips plugging into their motherboards, they want the companies behind them to become partners, delivering silicon blocks to future multi-core CPUs.

The online tutorial correctly concluded that AMD has a time to market advantage in that it already has its cache coherent HyperTransport bus up and running and just needs to iron out licensing terms. Anyone know if that is that done yet?

However, the article fialed to credit Intel with leveraging the PCI Express juggernaut with Geneseo. Express has an order of magnitude more industry development resources behind it. See my earlier post here. What remains to be seen is just how Geneseo and Intel's future processor bus, CSI, split the pie in CPU interconnects.

Roll it all together and one ting is clear: the future of the x86 is all around interconnects and a growing number of companies plugging onto them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Geneseo is anti-Torrenza marketing not real technology. Intel proposed a modest set of extensions PCI Express and proclaim it as the answer to all the accelerator world's problems. The extensions are modest as shown at last year's IDF:

- Atomic operations
- Active state power management
- Minor cache and pre-fetch hints
- Some techniques from HT to compensate for poor PCI Express protocol efficiency

Does this sound like anything earth shattering? It is pure marketing because they don't have an answer.

Torrenza isn't free either. It uses coherent HT and that isn't cheap or easy to execute. Opening up CSI is stated a challenge and something Intel wants to avoid but given they have licensed FSB, CSI can't be that far behind.

Please don't fall prey to reinforcing the marketing messages from Intel or AMD. Both are doing some fun song and dance routines but their real goal remains to suck this all into processors.

 
interconnects