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Intel's next GPU to be Pentium MMX-based?

post #1 of 20
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Quote:
Last night, I was sitting around thinking about Intel's forthcoming discrete GPU, codenamed "Larrabee." Specifically, I was thinking about how Larrabee will have lots of simple, in-order cores with a short pipeline, and it occurred to me that they might look something like Pentium cores. And lo and behold, I awakened this morning to a rumor that Intel is reviving the Pentium MMX microarchitecture for Larrabee.

The story told by Tech.co.uk is that, "the late 90s processor core will be resurrected in a highly modified form... Precisely how closely related Larrabee's execution cores will be to the original Pentium MMX isn't known."

Well, let's see. If you take the Pentium MMX microarchitecture, which fits the bill of short, simple, and in order, you enlarge the front end to support four-way SMT, you massively expand the floating-point/vector datapaths from 80 bits to 512 bits, and you put Vec16 hardware in the back end, then you have... something bears about as much resemblance to the Pentium MMX as Core 2 Duo does to the Pentium Pro.

In other words, a high-level block diagram will show you a rough family resemblance, but calling it the "Pentium MMX" redivivus is a stretch.

What the rumor makes me wonder about is, how many instructions will Larrabee's cores be able to issue per clock? The "Pentium MMX" rumor suggests that the answer is two, but that seems like a low number for a core that can do four-way SMT. Still, the SMT is there for latency hiding, and issuing more than two instructions per-clock (without some kind of bundling, like micro-ops fusion) is probably infeasible for a statically scheduled machine. The idea that it could reach something like four or more instructions per clock using some kind of Pentium M-style macro- or micro-ops fusion mechanism is interesting, but such tricks may add too much complexity to the front end's predecode hardware to be worth it.
[Source: Ars Technica]
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post #2 of 20
I'm not sure what any of this means, so i'm SUPER FRIGGIN EXCITED!
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post #3 of 20
I though GPU's were suppose to be a lot powerful than any cpu available to the consumer. The R480 would fold better than a C2D because it's more powerful.
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post #4 of 20
Current GPUs perform 1 op per clock per shader. This means that an Intel GPU could potentially be 2-4x more efficient.

However, I doubt Intel will manage to create a 1.5ghz 128-shader GPU right away, so nVidia/ATI don't have much to worry about.
     
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post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by highwhey View Post
I though GPU's were suppose to be a lot powerful than any cpu available to the consumer. The R480 would fold better than a C2D because it's more powerful.
As a whole, yes, but the reason why graphics cards are that fast is because they are the kings of parallel operations. You can think of every shader as a very specialized processor. So while your 8800GTX's individual shader may be less powerful than a Core 2 Duo, what about 128 of them?

That's the idea here. Intel will be putting a lot of these Pentium MMX cousins together to make something that is far more powerful than one alone.
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post #6 of 20
An nVidia Geforce 8800GTX is more power powerful than most desktop processors.
    
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post #7 of 20
then why don't we use it as our proc then?
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by B-80 View Post
then why don't we use it as our proc then?
It's all about specialization. Just as CPUs are pretty crappy at graphics rendering, the same is true for GPUs and x86 compatability.
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post #9 of 20
GPU's are more powerful at floating point. CPU's are interger and floating point
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post #10 of 20
And, correct me if I'm wrong, but the design of CPUs has to be able to process hardware interrupts. When your HD informs the CPU the write cache is empty, it has to move data from RAM to the HD. When your mouse interrupts it to provide some new data, your CPU has to process a function in the driver, to send that data to the OS. CPUs are bombarded by thousands of different tasks per second, and a GPU just wouldn't hold up to that.
     
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