Intel has an answer for AMD's Hypertransport and thinks its technology stacks up pretty well. In fact, Intel is telling customers that it has AMD beat, starting in 2008.
Intel's CSI high-speed serial interconnect was first meant to appear in a Xeon chip code-named Whitefield. That processor, however, met an untimely death as Intel India mucked up the CSI implementation and forced Intel to rework its plans. As of last check, Intel will now introduce CSI in the Tukwila version of Itanium due out in 2008.
Our sources indicate that an inexperienced Indian staff and not the technology itself was to blame for the Whitefield CSI miss. Intel has been telling customers that CSI will deliver all of the benefits of Hypertransport. And it will be found on chips with integrated memory controllers, putting Intel back on par with AMD.
But Intel isn't shooting for par. It's looking to reclaim the performance lead from AMD and has told one of its largest customers that CSI "has a lot lower latency" than Hypertransport. Still, the customer expects Xeon versus Opteron performance to end up pretty even come 2008.
One of the biggest perks about CSI for Itanium and Xeon backers is that it will allow them to slot either processor in the same server. This should save the brave few Itanic backers on system development costs and finally bring Itanium prices down.
Intel won't publicly say for sure, but it now looks like it will have a CSI-ready Xeon by 2008 that will complement Tukwila. At least that's what its telling customers on the down low. ®