AMD’s Torrenza evolves into first real world applications

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Sunnyvale (CA) – It has been about eleven months since AMD has revealed its Torrenza initiative, an effort to open up its hardware and encourage third parties to build secondary components, such as accelerators, around the firm’s processors.  We haven’t heard much in the past months, but AMD says that Torrenza isn’t just a vision anymore.

Instead, we were told by company representatives, numerous “market ready” designs have become available. The fact that you may not have heard of them is that they are very young products and mostly target a high-end market with little mass market appeal. For example, these applications include applications for Wall Street traders (from Activ Financial) or the XTX accelerator card from Tarari, which specifically offloads antivirus search and management from the processor.

AMD representatives said that AMD itself is working on several  products, but the company isn’t quite ready to reveal details. Interestingly, however, we were told that while all initial announcements about Torrenza are still “true”, “certain things have changed.” AMD declined to discuss what exactly has changed, but indicated that the former ATI staff is responsible for an adjusted  direction. “We have received some really good input from ATI and have now a much crisper understanding of what Torrenza can be,” a representative told TG Daily. That understanding apparently referred to the use of graphics processors, which have become the classic example of system acceleration.

The fact that Torrenza has become available in some applications does not quite solve the problem that the technology remains somewhat confusing to the majority of the market. AMD still has work to do to showcase and explain its approach and even admits that there is still a “chicken and egg issue.” Without hardware, it is difficult to convince software developers to create applications around Torrenza systems; without software, there is little incentive for hardware designers to create new solutions.

Torrenza should become easier to understand for more people once AMD has Torrenza hardware out in the market: “Most designs” will be taking advantage of discrete third party hardware and the “majority” of AMD Torrenza products will be aimed at the business market, we were told.