Intel officials say they are delaying the "Larrabee" graphics processor that the company had hoped would compete with AMD and Nvidia GPU products. The decision comes less than three months after Intel demonstrated the chip at its IDF, and a month after Intel showed off an over-clocked Larrabee hitting the 1-teraflop mark at the Supercomputing 2009 show.
At the Intel Developer Forum in September, Intel officials demonstrated
its planned "Larrabee" graphics chip, running a scene from a 3D video game
called Quake Wars on the processor.
Now Intel officials are shelving the project, saying the development of the
processor hadn't advanced far enough to offer it as a product. Larrabee was
scheduled for release in 2010.
The decision to delay the development will hinder Intel's plans to expand
its architecture deeper into the videogame arena and to compete more directly
in the area of parallel computing, where Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices are
pushing their graphics technologies.
Both AMD and Nvidia are aggressively
pushing their products into more mainstream computing arenas, particularly in
the HPC (high-performance computing) space. AMD
officials see their ATI GPU business as a
key differentiator in their competition with Intel.
AMD offers a development framework based
on the OpenCL
, which lets businesses applications run in both GPU and CPU
environments. Nvidia is using its CUDA technology to drive its graphics
technology into mainstream computing environments.
At the Supercomputing 2009 show in November, Nvidia officials unveiled new
Tesla GPUs based on its new "Fermi" architecture, which officials said will
offer the performance of traditional CPUs at a fraction of the cost and power.
Also at the Supercomputing show, Intel demonstrated an over-clocked Larrabee
chip topping the 1-teraflop (trillion floating point calculations per second)
However, even after that performance, Intel officials said they didn't see a
strong demand for graphics processors in mainstream computing. In an interview,
Boyd Davis, general manager of Intel's server platforms group marketing, said
the company's upcoming eight-core "Nehalem EX" processor-due for release in the
first quarter of 2010-will be able to handle the bulk of the highly parallel
Demand for GPU-CPU co-processing is limited, Davis
Intel officials are now saying that Larrabee will be available as a platform
for developers to design applications for parallel computing workloads.