August 23rd, 2014

HT v3.0 released, Chipzilla not amused

The Hypertransport v3.0 specification was released today, so we all get to add “HTX connector” to our vocabularies. The fat lady hasn’t started singing for Chipzilla‘s quad-pumped GTL+ bus, but she’s in the balcony warming up…
Let’s review, shall we?
Average Intel processor: 200 MHz quad-pumped = 800 MHz effective, 64-bit, 6,400 GB/sec, memory accesses use FSB.
Average AMD processor: 2000 MHz dual-pumped = 4000 MHz effective, 16-bit, 8,000 GB/sec, memory accesses bypass the system bus.
One interesting thing that external hypertransport connectors (HTX) may enable is wide availability of hot-swap CPUs. For cooling reasons, it may even begin to make sense to decouple the CPU and graphics card from the system board and put them in separate modules. I can easily imagine a little box with a x16 PCI-e connector for the video card and a HTX connector on the outside, as well as a little CPU module with a Athlon socket and a HTX. Then, you can save cost by sharing a heat pump between the CPU and GPU because they’re physically adjacent.

Something else you may not be aware of is that HyperTransport is used as the northbridge to southbridge link on nForce4 SLI for Intel chipsets, which you’re probably using if you’re using NVidia SLI on an Intel processor.

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