RealTime IT News

HyperTransport 2.0 Makes Gains

New batches of products hitting store shelves today promise some of the fastest chip-to-chip interconnect technology around.

The new products conform to HyperTransport Specification 2.0, which supports up to 22.4 gigabytes/second aggregate bandwidth and includes 64-bit processors, I/O chipsets, silicon IP and development tools. Companies like AMD, Agilent, Dolphin, FuturePlus, GDA, SiS, ULi and VIA are introducing the first wave of products.

The addition of technology based on the new specification should help support predictions by the HyperTransport Technology Consortium and analysts at IDC that HyperTransport port shipments will grow from more than 30 million ports in 2003 to more than 200 million ports in 2006.

Already, the original HyperTransport specification powers such devices as Microsoft's Xbox, Apple's Power Mac G5, Cisco's high-end routers, IBM's and Sun Microsystems's servers, notebooks, Tablet PCs based on Transmeta's Efficeon-processor, and AMD's Athlon64- and Opteron-based PCs, servers and supercomputers.

"The industry's rapid adoption of our latest specification is a strong endorsement of the technical advancements embodied in HyperTransport technology," Mario Cavalli, general manager of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium, said in a statement. "It also greatly adds to the comprehensive set of HyperTransport-based building blocks that the industry is leveraging in high-performance designs."

The technology is sharply contrasted with Intel's traditional "Northbridge/Southbridge" designs, which Mark Stahlman, former AmTech research analyst, characterized as "aging."

"Memory standards are very long-term evolutions (e.g. three to five years). And the benefits in memory latency and increased bandwidth from adding multiple processors with integrated controllers would seem to far outweigh the added design complexity issues," Stahlman wrote in a December briefing to investors.

HyperTransport is actually the new name for Lightning Data Transport, which was jointly developed by AMD. The technology can be used to improve performance in PCs, servers and embedded systems.

Release 2.0 introduces three more powerful bus speeds and mapping to PCI Express . HyperTransport's speed capability ranges from the 1.6 Giga Transfers/second (GT/s) of Release 1.1 Specification to 2.0, 2.4, and 2.8 GT/s using dual-data rate clocks at 1.0, 1.2, and 1.4 GHz. The electrical protocols supporting the new clock rates are also backward compatible, the consortium said.