The Instant Brie Factor (7/26/01)

By now you've probably heard about Apple's status as a founding member of the HyperTransport Consortium; indeed, a press release issued by the ragtag band of industry bigwigs even quotes Apple hardware guru (and Megahertz Myth lecturer) Jon Rubinstein as stating that "Apple is delighted to participate as one of the leaders in the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. HyperTransport represents a great technology with exciting future potential." So what exactly is it, and why is Apple so gung-ho about it?

Well, you know us-- our eyes glaze over when people start talking about hardware specs and stuff like that. As far as we could make out before being distracted by a mote of dust in a sunbeam, HyperTransport is a proposed bus architecture just like the one in current computers but a zillion times faster... or at least 48 times faster, which is still nothing to sneeze at. Basically it's just a much, much faster way for chips to swap data; whereas transfer rates today apparently top out at about 266 MB per second, HyperTransport promises to boost that upper limit to the 12.8 GB per second level. As James Brown was never heard to remark, "That's a whole lotta throughput. Hah!!"

As for what Apple plans to do with this technology once it actually matures, the obvious move would be to stick it in future Macs to boost data transfer speeds and overall performance. But some conspiracy theorists are looking at some of the other members of the consortium and wondering if something more significant-- or even sinister-- is afoot. After all, HyperTransport is an AMD technology, which has some people wondering if Apple is thinking about getting AMD to build future Apple-designed PowerPCs, or maybe even just switching to AMD chips altogether. As faithful viewer The M@d H@tter notes, Mac OS Rumors takes a different tack; as far as we can tell (again, it's that dust-mote-in-sunbeam thing), MOSR seems to think that Apple may be looking at HyperTransport as a way to enable Macs to use system chipsets created by nVIDIA, who has recently supplanted ATI as Apple's graphics company of choice-- and who recently entered the system chipset market with the nFORCE series.

Whatever. Actually, what we're hearing is that Apple just accidentally joined the wrong consortium altogether. Apparently Steve misunderstood the whole "HyperTransport" thing, and thought he was signing up for a think tank on cracking the age-old puzzle of teleportation. Longtime Apple watchers already know that the company has been researching teleportation technology in top secret underground bunkers for decades, now, and is actually pretty close to finishing up its work on a safe and economically viable matter transporter. The big remaining bug is that anything teleported using Apple's implementation is transformed into any of a number of various soft cheeses in the process-- except for Jeff Goldblum, who volunteered for the first human test-flight and instead turned into some big slimy fly kinda thing. In any case, Steve's mistake may have been a happy accident, because HyperTransport-enhanced Macs still sound like a pretty good idea to us. As for matter transference, well, we have no doubt that Apple's scientists will eventually decode the Cheese Matrix on their own.

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The above scene was taken from the 7/26/01 episode:

July 26, 2001: Do you live in Boston? How about Chicago? We may have Apple retail store opening dates for you. Meanwhile, Apple's founding membership in the HyperTransport Consortium raises a few eyebrows among the naturally suspicious, and Radiohead chooses QuickTime as the online delivery method for its latest video-- which was created entirely on a PowerBook...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3200: And The Rest Of August (7/26/01)   Attention fellow Bostonians/Chicagoans: we have semi-credible opening dates for the remaining two newly announced Apple retail stores. Yesterday we mentioned that MacMinute had pegged the Plano, TX store for an August 3rd launch, with the Minneapolis one following on the 11th...

  • 3202: OK Computer, Kick-Ass Mac (7/26/01)   Despite the AtAT staff's eclectic musical tastes, we admit we never really got into Radiohead-- at least, not enough to go out and actually buy any of their stuff. At the same time, we don't exactly go lunging for the dial to change the station when a Radiohead song comes on the air, either.....

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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