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HyperTransport signs up further support

Eleven companies have joined the HyperTransport Technology Consortium, bringing the total of participating companies to 51. It is just under a year since Advanced Micro Devices formed the group to promote its HyperTransport interconnect technology.

HyperTransport technology enables point-to-point high-speed data exchange between integrated circuits on chips. Data-transmission speeds of up to 12.8Gbps in a 32-bit HyperTransport I/O link can be reached using the technology, compared with 266Mbps using older technologies. HyperTransport allows for simultaneous and bi-directional exchange of data, whereas older technologies only allowed data to flow in one direction at a time.

The latest companies to joint the consortium are Actel, American Megatrends, ATI Technologies, Cavium Networks, Dolphin Technology, Multinode Microsystems, PLX Technology, Primarion, Silicon Integrated Systems, Tektronix and Via Technologies.

AMD announced the HyperTransport technology in February 2001, and formed the HyperTransport Technology Consortium in July 2001 with charter members Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, Transmeta, Nvidia, API NetWorks and PMC-Sierra.

The consortium's goal is to promote the technology as the best way to provide the bandwidth required to support the forthcoming Infiniband standard, according to the consortium's Web site. Infiniband is a technology for linking servers with high-speed data connections across longer distances than HyperTransport can support.

Three technologies are competing to become the standard for data exchange among chips, peripherals, and other internal hardware: HyperTransport, PCI-X (peripheral component interconnect - extended), and RapidIO, Nathan Brookwood, a principal analyst for market research company Insight 64, said. HyperTransport has the advantage right now, since products are shipping with the technology incorporated directly on to the processor, he said.

PCI-X was developed jointly by IBM, Hewlett-Packard and the former Compaq and is supported by AMD rival Intel. Products containing PCI-X technology will not ship until the end of 2003 or beginning of 2004, Brookwood said. RapidIO is focused on the networking industry and vendors are just beginning to ship products containing the technology, he said.

AMD is using HyperTransport technology as the basis for its next-generation chips, code named "Hammer," which are due out around the end of 2002 or the beginning of 2003, Brookwood said. Because AMD has put HyperTransport directly on to the chip, it will have a speed advantage when communicating with other HyperTransport-equipped chips on networking and graphics hardware, although it's too soon to tell exactly how much of an advantage AMD will enjoy, he said.

Four companies have announced products today (15 July) that support the HyperTransport technology, bringing the total number of products to over 30. Cavium announced an update to its roster of multiservices security processors for cryptography and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and IPsec (Internet Protocol security) protocol processing, Nitrox Plus. Graphics hardware maker Nvidia unveiled the nForce2 processing platform architecture, an update to its nForce chipset introduced last year.

SiPackets, a maker of integrated circuits interconnect technology, has released the SP1011 HyperTransport to PCI Bridge, which connects the HyperTransport bus with older PCI buses. Xilinx has released the 800Mbps Single-Ended Slave Intellectual Property core for the Virtex-II Platform FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays).

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