Intel: Larrabee is still alive and kicking

Intel’s x86-based graphics project, Larrabee, is still very much alive according to Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini.

Speaking at a Q&A session at Intel’s investors’ conference in Santa Clara yesterday, Otellini categorically stated that “in terms of Larrabee, we did not stop the project.” However, he did acknowledge that Intel had perhaps hyped up the project beyond its capabilities in the early stages.

“If we made any mistake with Larrabee’s evolution,” Otellini told the audience of investors, “we probably shouldn’t have talked about something that was high-risk and long-term.”

According to Otellini, the risk factor is what led to Larrabee being removed from Intel’s roadmaps for the next few years, after previously being a focal point of Intel’s graphics plans.

However, Intel’s CEO states that this doesn’t mean that Intel isn’t working on the project; rather, it’s waiting for the right opportunity to bring it out. “We’ve taken the risk essentially associated with the new architecture, Larrabee, out of our roadmap over the next few years,” explained Otellini, “so we have the flexibility to stay competitive while still working on it.”

Back in December 2009, Intel revealed that the first Larrabee standalone graphics card would be canned, and would instead be used as a software development platform. However, Otellini was keen to point out that Intel still plans to release Larrabee hardware in the future.

“We have shipped SDVs [software development vehicles] out,” said Otellini, “and we’re looking at how and when to bring it to market. It still has very high promise in areas of throughput-computing, and in terms of a general reprogrammable graphics engine using small IA cores, we still like the idea.”