The HyperTransport Consortium has released a new high-speed version 2.0 specification of its technology that now also includes mapping support for alternative bus technology PCI Express.

This version offers a 75 per cent performance boost over the previous specification – from 12.8GB per second to 22.4GBps. HyperTransport 1.1 supported 1.6 Giga Transfers/second; this new version supports three speeds - 2.0, 2.4 and 2.8 Giga Transfers/second.

HyperTransport chip-to-chip interconnect technology is a universal CPU to I/O connection technology that replaces existing multi-level buses in systems such as personal computers.

Because it supplies an extremely large interconnect bandwidth, users benefit from faster data throughput. The specification is robust – seeing off stray electrical signals while remaining flexible to implement.

Effectively the technology was developed to fix a problem that had been found: new generations of high-speed devices had grown to a point that the speed at which they threw information at the processor exceeded that of the system interconnects, creating a bottleneck and offering below-optimum performance.

Apple currently uses the technology in its Power Mac G5s. In these, it handles communication between the processors, FireWire bridges, hard-drive controllers and Ethernet, for example.

The technology is also used in Microsoft's Xbox, Cisco's high-end routers, IBM's and Sun Microsystems's servers, notebooks and Tablet PCs based on Transmeta's Efficeon-processor, and all AMD's Athlon64- and Opteron-based PCs, servers and supercomputers, according to Consortium president Gabriele Sartori.

The facility to map to PCI Express host bus adaptors means Intel-supported PCI Express devices will work with the standard, which some believe will simplify software development for new hardware using the specification.

HyperTransport Technology Consortium general manager Mario Cavalli said: "This delivers the top performance expected by the industry for its next generation computing, communications and embedded platforms. This release's substantial speed and bandwidth extensions combined with PCI Express bus extensibility reaffirm and consolidate HyperTransport's long term chip-to-chip I/O technology leadership."

Apple, AMD, Cisco, Nvidia, Sun and Transmeta all promote the technology, which is available royalty-free for use by other manufacturers for a "minimal yearly fee".

Eweek expects the first products using the specification could begin shipping in the second half of 2004.