Intel details future 'Larrabee' graphics chip

Logo IntelIntel has disclosed details on a chip that will compete directly with Nvidia and ATI and may take it into unchartered technological and market-segment waters.

Larrabee will be a stand-alone chip, meaning it will be very different than the low-end--but widely used--integrated graphics that Intel now offers as part of the silicon that accompanies its processors. And Larrabee will be based on the universal Intel x86 architecture.

The first Larrabee product will be "targeted at the personal computer market," according to Intel. This means the PC gaming market--putting Nvidia and AMD-ATI directly into Intel's sights. Nvidia and AMD-ATI currently dominate the market for "discrete" or stand-alone graphics processing units.

As Intel sees it, Larrabee combines the best attributes of a central processing unit (CPU) with a graphics processor. "The thing we need is an architecture that combines the full programmability of the CPU with the kinds of parallelism and other special capabilities of graphics processors. And that architecture is Larrabee," Larry Seiler, a senior principal engineer in Intel's Visual Computing Group, said at a briefing on Larrabee in San Francisco last week.

"It is not a GPU as many have mistakenly described it, but it can do most graphics functions," Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in an article he posted Friday about Larrabee.

"It looks like a GPU and acts like a GPU but actually what it's doing is introducing a large number of x86 cores into your PC," said Intel spokesperson Nick Knupffer, alluding to the myriad ways Larrabee could be used beyond just graphics processing. In addition to the PC, high-performance computing and workstations are two potential markets that were also mentioned.

Intel describes it in a statement as "the industry's first many-core x86 Intel architecture." The chipmaker currently offers quad-core processors and will offer eight-core processors based on its Nehalem architecture, but Larrabee is expected to have dozens of cores and, later, possibly hundreds.

The number of cores in each Larrabee chip may vary, according to market segment. Intel showed a slide with core counts ranging from 8 to 48, claiming performance scales almost linearly as more cores are added: that is, 16 cores will offer twice the performance of eight cores.

The individual cores in Larrabee are derived from the Intel Pentium processor and "then we added 64-bit instructions and multi-threading," Seiler said. Each core has 256 kilobytes of level-2 cache allowing the size of the cache to scale with the total number of cores, according to Seiler. And application programming interfaces (APIs) such as Microsoft's DirectX and Apple's Open CL can be tapped. "Larrabee does not require a special API. Larrabee will excel on standard graphics APIs," he said. "So existing games will be able to run on Larrabee products."

So, what is Larrabee's market potential? Today, the graphics chip market is approaching 400 million units a year and has consolidated into a handful of suppliers. "And of that population, two suppliers, ATI and Nvidia, own 98 percent of the discrete GPU business." according to Peddie.

"And the trend line indicates a flattening to decline in the business...However, Intel is no light-weight start up, and to enter the market today a company has to have a major infrastructure, deep IP (intellectual property), and marketing prowess--Intel has all that and more," Peddie said.

Source: CNET

Tags: GPU, Intel

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Intel was the number 1 ranked supplier with a 9.2% share of the worldwide semiconductor market
Improved software will power more accurate facial rec
The iMac Pro may have an A10 Fusion processor running it's own iOS
Galaxy X already got some certifications
The smart speaker is based on an AI virtual assistant
You won't have to leave what you're doing to respond to a chat
Apple is working with Intel on 5G hardware for future iPhones
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 /
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (4)