Intel kills InfiniBand chip program

In a move that some experts say is a blow to the emerging InfiniBand market, Intel Corp. yesterday announced to partners that it has killed plans to produce silicon chips that would allow for high-speed server clustering and communication with other devices, such as storage arrays.

InfiniBand is a point-to-point channel architecture that allows I/O devices to communicate on a dedicated channel, which gives it tremendous scalability, reliability and performance. It is expected to someday replace today's server Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) bus.

While there was no formal announcement by Intel, a spokeswoman for Intel acknowledged that the company no longer plans to produce the chips that would have gone into host controller adapters (HCA), which extend the I/O connectivity normally provided by the bus.

"It's an image blow. There's no question about that," said Jamie Gruener, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston.

Intel was one of the original developers of the InfiniBand server I/O specification and is a founding member of the InfiniBand Trade Association.

Intel said it still plans to support InfiniBand, putting more of its engineering resources into developing PCI Express, formerly known as 3GIO, a serial high-speed, interchip connection for inside the server box.

"The interface to our chip set is a proprietary interface right now. PCI Express allows access via a standards-based architecture," said Intel spokeswoman Diana Wilson, who expects the chip to ship sometime in 2004.

Gruener and others, who are still bullish on InfiniBand's potential to speed-up the I/O stream, said that Intel's pullout from HCA chips was strictly a business decision based on competition from a number of other better-funded InfiniBand product vendors and had nothing to do with the potential for the InfiniBand market.

Intel had been backing a single wire or 1x version of InfiniBand, but industry players such as IBM and Santa Clara, Calif.-based Mellanox Technologies Inc., which are better funded, are coming out with chips that support a 4x speed.

"They bet wrong on the 1x or 4x debate, and IBM and Mellanox bet correctly. Even the giants can't do all things, and Intel finds itself vying against two very well-funded competitors that are far ahead of them technology-wise," said Chuck Foley, CEO of Infinicon Systems in King of Prussia, Pa. Infinicon is one of dozens of companies that are planning to begin shipping InfiniBand products in the next year.

The InfiniBand I/O specification promises to widen the pipeline between clustered servers by replacing current 1Gbps. PCI-X and Gigabit Ethernet technologies with an external, switched serial I/O fabric that supports data rates of 2.5Gbps. (1x) to 10Gbps. (4X) and eventually 30Gbps. in each direction.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Lucas Mearian

Lucas Mearian

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?