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Intel Businesses Hardware

Intel Opens Its Front-Side Bus 185

Posted by kdawson
from the engineers-rampant-on-a-field-azure dept.
vivin writes "The Inquirer is reporting that Intel has opened up its FSB. Intel did this during IDF 07. What this means is that you can plug non-Intel things into the Intel CPU socket. The article says 'This shows that Intel is willing to take AMD seriously as a competitive threat, and is prepared to act upon it. In addition to this breaking one of the most sacred taboos at Intel, it also hints that engineering now has the upper hand over bureaucracy.'"
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Intel Opens Its Front-Side Bus

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  • by pzs (857406) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @07:59AM (#18852949)
    I hope so. Every time I have to upgrade my machine I have to spend an hour on the web working out the 700 different kinds of processor I can buy and what type of socket I need to support them.

    I had an AMD Duron 800MHz that I tried to replace with an Athlon 1300MHz which should have been supported, but created a nifty column of smoke when I plugged it in. Anything that reduces that likelihood is good in my book.

    Peter
  • by Bwian_of_Nazareth (827437) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:05AM (#18853023) Homepage
    There are no AMD chips that you could plug into it. It is not that Intel created a socket/bus that can take AMD chips. The news is that they opened it so that their competitors can develop chips for their socket/bus if they would desire to do so. So in the future we may see AMD chips that will fit into Intel FSB, but I doubt that will happen in the near future.
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:24AM (#18853185) Homepage
    Example: Intel opens up FSB. Motherboard manufacturers tell AMD: making boards for multiple socket types is a pain and decreases profits. Why don't you make a CPU for the Intel socket instead? Intel of course will make sure to design it so that it's great for an Intel CPU and suboptimal for an AMD one.

    The other companies probably don't worry Intel much. VIA might make something, but I highly doubt they could manage to make anything that'd take any significant market from Intel, given what they've been releasing.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:29AM (#18853223)
    Way back when, there used to be a real benefit to upgrading your 133MHz PC to 200MHz and it was easy to do so just by changing the CPU.

    TBH, these days, for general desktop use I don't think that benefit's there any more. If you want to see a real benefit, you're best off replacing the CPU with something drastically faster. This may well involve a new motherboard and possibly new memory.

    Alternatively, you upgrade the more sensible way - look at your computer needs, look to see what's causing a bottleneck currently and upgrade that. Much more cost-effective than just replacing a CPU and hoping you see a benefit.
  • by Disoculated (534967) <rob@ s c y l l a . o rg> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:30AM (#18853241) Homepage Journal
    If Intel had a chipset that both AMD and Intel could use, and AMD used it, they would gain a great deal. Like selling more chipsets to motherboard manufacturers and getting a piece of even AMD systems, dictating the future of the bus, memory, and form factors. Plus, even if there wasn't an actual performance benefit (and there probably would be since Intel would have made the design, and have that intelligence in-house), they could easily give the impression that running Intel chips on Intel hardware was 'better'.

    But will AMD bite? Is working with Intel chipsets cheap enough that it makes it worth it to lose maintaining it's own sockets and bus?

    And, if it bites, will Intel turn around in six years and lock them out of the next bus, forcing them to recreate (an re-capitalize) the means to start over?

    Seems like a good move for Intel even if it just gets them the Via chips. A bad move for AMD if they fall for it.
  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:32AM (#18853261)

    so why would anybody want to plug in an AMD processor there unless it was hugely cheaper or more powerful?

    For starters, intel's frontside bus is just that, a good old-fashioned FSB that hasn't changed much in years.

    AMD's processors have something completely different. Not only is it physically incompatible, it's actually "Hypertransport" which is marketing speak for a chip-to-chip interconnect [wikipedia.org]. Look at all the big iron manufacturers supporting it. Note no intel. AMD has been shipping these processors since 2003. Intel's (incompatible) equivalent isn't due out until 2008. Other manufacturers have been shipping CPUs with similar interconnects since the mid 1990s (UltraSPARC, MIPS).

    AMD processors implement NUMA [wikipedia.org] via this interconnect. Each CPU can have its own local memory. On an intel system, all processors compete for bandwidth over the shared FSB

    This is why Opteron/Athlon 64 systems scale well past 2 processors. This is also why it will be easier to make e.g. graphics processors that fit in AMD motherboards.

    intel processors may currently do better on selected synthetic benchmarks and niche applications. AMD, however, has a far more sophisticated, modern and scalable platform. Intel set sail on the itanic.

  • by tttonyyy (726776) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @08:48AM (#18853391) Homepage Journal

    Way back when, there used to be a real benefit to upgrading your 133MHz PC to 200MHz and it was easy to do so just by changing the CPU.
    Quite - though as a percentage that was a significant upgrade.

    In the days when every MHz counted, we all clawed to be at the cutting edge because upgrading really made a noticeable difference (not just to games, but the speed of everyday activities). Now the effect is less noticeable except in games as a FPS increase or the ability to turn on extra effects.

    I remember a lecturer at Uni asking us if we thought that the 200MHz CPU speeds of the time would increase, citing Moore's Law and questioning whether parallelism was the way forward. At the time it would've astonished all of us to even think of a processor with a core running at 2.4GHz. Give it ten years and what will we have? 256-core processors running with core clock speeds of 100GHz? I'm pretty sure it won't help my word processor live spell-check any quicker, but the Quake 3 framerates will be through the roof! (Not that that benchmark will be relevant when we've all got direct immersive links to our brain's perception centers).

    But you can bet we'll go through a massive number of socket changes en-route and few of them will be compatible between competitive chipsets. :)
  • by berwiki (989827) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @09:29AM (#18853955)
    Not to be a troll or anything, but the article you referenced is 6 years old.
    I hope Intel moves a little quicker than that.
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @09:49AM (#18854277)
    "This shows that Intel is willing to take AMD seriously as a competitive threat, and is prepared to act upon it. In addition to this breaking one of the most sacred taboos at Intel, it also hints that engineering now has the upper hand over bureaucracy."

    When they have to spell it out for you what their actions supposedly "hint" at, you know you're reading quite a silly PR spin on the matter.
  • Re:wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by init100 (915886) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @11:19AM (#18855575)

    intel processors may currently do better on selected synthetic benchmarks and niche applications.

    This looks like an AMD fanboy if I ever saw one.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @12:13PM (#18856493) Homepage Journal
    I don't think Intel would be forced to use HyperTransport. They are easily big enough that they can make their own point-to-point interconnect and not worry about the rest of the industry. Intel is or was working one, I think it was supposed to be introduced with the Penryn chips.

    I really don't think it would necessarily be heads-and-shoulders better than Hypertransport though.

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