Apple has joined a consortium to support a HyperTransport I/O (input/output) Link specification, an emerging standard developed by AMD (Advanced Micro Devices).

Apple has joined forces with seven companies - AMD, API Networks, Cisco, Nvidia, PMC-Sierra, Sun Microsystems and Trasmeta - to form the HyperTransport Technology Consortium.

HyperTransport technology is a high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits. It provides a universal connection designed to reduce the number of buses within the system, provide a high-performance link for embedded applications, and enable highly scalable multiprocessing-systems.

Quick communication It was designed to enable the chips inside PCs and networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with existing technologies. In June, AMD announced Nvidia's adoption of the standard in its new nForce processing architecture.

The implications are that processors will be able to transfer data between graphics chips or additional processors much faster than ever before. This should make multiprocessor systems much more efficient and improve the data transfer to other parts of the computer, such as graphics cards or DSPs (Digital Signal Processors).

Bandwidth boost Motherboard designs employing the standard could generate significant performance gains, as data processes would benefit from the faster bandwidth.

HyperTransport is daisy-chainable, giving the opportunity to connect multiple HyperTransport input/output bridges to a single channel. It's designed to support up to 32 devices per channel, and can mix and match components with different bus widths and speeds.

AMD claims its standard offers a bandwidth of 12.8GB per second - a 48-fold increase in data throughput in comparison to existing systems that provide up to 266MB per second bandwidth.

Jon Rubinstein, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, said: "Apple is delighted to participate as one of the leaders in the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. HyperTransport represents a great technology with exciting future potential."