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HyperTransport Gains More Marquee Members

A technology group whose goal is to standardize the way computer chips talk to each other said it has added seven big name companies and two academic institutions to its ranks.

The HyperTransport Technology Consortium Monday welcomed storage vendor EMC , IBM , chipmaker LTX , Media Fusion, National Semiconductor , Network Appliance and Texas Instruments .

HyperTransport is actually the new name for LDT, or Lightning Data Transport jointly developed by AMD , and API the universal chip-to-chip I/O connectivity technology replacement to the aging Peripheral Component Interconnect -- or PCI bus . The technology can be used to improve performance in PCs, servers and embedded systems.

The Consortium says the technology provides extremely high bandwidth, frequency scalability, low-cost implementation and full software compatibility with the legacy PCI and PCI-X I/O technologies. HyperTransport delivers a maximum 12.8 GB/second aggregate bandwidth using easy to manufacture dual, unidirectional point-to-point links. Enhanced 1.2V low-power LVDS signaling and dual-data rate data transfers deliver increased data throughput while minimizing signal crosstalk and EMI. HyperTransport interconnect technology employs a packet-based data protocol to eliminate many sideband signals (control and command signals) and supports asymmetric, variable width data paths.

The group says the addition of even more industry members will certainly help support analysts' predictions that HyperTransport port shipments will grow from over 30 million ports in 2003 to over 200 million ports in 2006.

"HyperTransport technology is now firmly entrenched in the electronics industry and we look forward to their participation in shaping the evolution of HyperTransport technology to meet the bandwidth and performance requirements of next generation systems," HyperTransport Technology Consortium president Gabriele Sartori said in a statement.

The Consortium has been working with some of the biggest names in semiconductor and computer manufacturing to continue to license the technology on a royalty-free basis.

IBM and the others now join the Consortium's established base of partners including Alliance Semiconductor , Apple Computer , Broadcom Corporation , Cisco Systems , NVIDIA , PMC-Sierra , Sun Microsystems and Transmeta .

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Consortium said it has also created two new membership classes to let more companies and organizations participate in the process. In addition to its current Promoter, Contributor and Adopter classes, the Consortium added Advisor and Academic classes. The Advisor membership lets firms participate in the HyperTransport Consortium without exchanging IP rights and patents while the Academic membership is free and is open to any accredited educational institution. Academic membership provides access to the HyperTransport technology and IP for educational purposes.

Already more than 45 HyperTransport technology-based products and services have been announced with the technology establishing itself in a number of key market segments.

For example, the HyperTransport product portfolio includes tunnel, bridge, graphic and switch chips from AMD, ALi, Alliance Semiconductor, NVIDIA, PLX Technology and VIA Technologies; programmable-logic devices from Altera and Xilinx; processors and security processors from AMD, Broadcom, Cavium, Hifn, PMC-Sierra and Transmeta; IP cores from Altera, GDA Technologies, Nurlogic and Xilinx; BIOS software from AMI and Phoenix Technologies; verification and test tools from 0-In Design Automation, Agilent, FuturePlus, GDA Technologies, Schlumberger, Teradyne and TransEDA; and training courses and an architecture reference manual from Mindshare.

"HyperTransport is one of many I/O technologies that is rapidly becoming a standard chip-to-chip communications technology for high-performance processors and subsystems," said Lisa Su, director of Power PC and emerging products at IBM Microelectronics. "We are pleased to provide HyperTransport along with other leading I/O technologies to our customers requiring low latency and high bandwidth."