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Intel Preparing Graphics Invasion With Larrabee Architecture

Intel has revealed more details about its next generation graphics chip codenamed Larrabee, which is set to be its first hybrid CPU/GPU silicon, at the opening of the Visual Computing Institute in Saarland University.

Larrabee will be Intel's answer to the growing threat posed by ATI/AMD and Nvidia, both of which have already unveiled plans to bring the battle of Graphics Processing Units to the microprocessor grounds.

Journalists present at the event were able to get confirmation that the silicon is actually working in Intel's Labs and that the products based around Larrabee will actually be released in 2010, rather than 2009.

TGDaily understands that the first device will be based on the second-generation Pentium processor, which is the P54C and was launched back in 1994. Effectively, Intel has recycled an existing architecture which is not necessarily bad, given that the Core family is derived from the Pentium 3 architecture.

Intel's graphics candidate will come with at least 8 cores at the lower end of the spectrum, scaling all the way to 64-cores. The current versions run at 1GHz but by the time it is launched, Larrabee is likely to reach 2GHz, potentially giving it a peak throughput of around 2 Teraflops.

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Our Comments

Larrabee is a radical departure from the idea of having monolithic architectures. The 32-core model that was shown at the launch of the Visual Computing Institute is only the beginning and as Intel has already demoed a chip with more than 1000 cores, there are chances that the semiconductor giant will aim to reach that number in the next decade or so.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.