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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Intel's Graphic Processing Unit (called Larrabee)

If you want to read more about this effort, then go to the following page:
From this page:
Larrabee is the codename for a graphics processing unit (GPU) chip that Intel is developing separately from its current line of integrated graphics accelerators. The video card containing Larrabee is expected to compete with GeForce and Radeon products from NVIDIA and ATI respectively. Larrabee will also compete in the GPGPU and high-performance computing markets. Intel plans to have engineering samples of Larrabee ready by the end of 2008, with a video card hitting shelves in late 2009 or 2010.

Comparison with competing products:

Larrabee can be considered a hybrid between a multi-core CPU and a GPU, and has similarities to both. Its coherent cache hierarchy and x86 architecture compatibility are CPU-like, while its wide SIMD vector units and texture sampling hardware are GPU-like.

As a GPU, Larrabee will support traditional rasterized 3D graphics (DirectX/OpenGL) for games. However, Larrabee's hybrid of CPU and GPU features should be suitable for general purpose GPU (GPGPU) or stream processing tasks.[2] For example, Larrabee might perform ray tracing or physics processing,[3] in real time for games or offline for scientific research as a component of a supercomputer.[4] In the high-performance computing market Intel's CPUs are in some cases being displaced by GPGPU products like NVIDIA Tesla and AMD FireStream (for example in the #2 supercomputer on the TOP500 list[5]); Larrabee is Intel's answer to GPGPU.[6]

Larrabee's early presentation has drawn some criticism from GPU competitors. At NVISION 08, several NVIDIA employees called the Siggraph paper "marketing puff" and told the press that the Larrabee architecture was "like a GPU from 2006".

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