This week at CeBIT 2007, AMD revealed more details about its “accelerated computing” platform, codenamed Torrenza. AMD’s goal behind Torrenza is to create a platform where application-specific processors can interact cost effectively and offer better performance than a general purpose CPU, while remaining compatible with off the shelf platforms.
AMD guidance revealed this week that future processors will also have integrated “accelerators” embedded into them. A Torrenza system will have at least two sockets, and both will accept accelerators and accelerated CPUs.
One accelerated-processor project on AMD plate, slated for 2008 under the codename Fusion, and combines a dedicated GPU or GPU accelerator onto the same package or even the same silicon die as the main CPU. AMD has already set the ground-work for Fusion processing with its Stream Computing initiative — utilizing ATI-based graphics adaptors for heavy number crunching.
Other Torrenza ready projects are also coming to light. Clearspeed announced its CSX600 math-coprocessor plug-in last year, with the stated intention of creating a socket plugin version for Torrenza. Los Alamos National Labs is currently building the world’s fastest supercomputer, Roadrunner, with Opteron and Cell processors on the Torrenza platform.
Torrenza is not just locked within the compounds of the CPU sockets. According to AMD, Torrenza systems will accept accelerators in a PCI-Express interface too, allow for multiple application specific accelerators to access system memory and processor functions directly. Mercury systems announced a PCIe plug-in accelerator late last year.
While Torrenza is well on its way to seeing daylight, Intel is also working on its own open architecture platform. Notorious for keeping its CPU platform a closely guarded technology, Intel indicated that it was working on a competitive technology to AMD’s HyperTransport, dubbed CSI, allowing direct CPU and memory access.
Intel guidance suggests the company will announce its Torrenza competitor sometime in mid-2008.
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