TG Daily Exclusive â€“ Intelâ€™s performance graphics strategy is running at full speed: According to documents seen by TG Daily, desktop and notebook versions of the technology will follow on the heels of the high-end debut device, including up to 24 IA cores.
We are getting a glimpse on internal Intel documents once in a while and this one certainly was a treat. The information we gathered provided a better look at what we can expect from Larrabee, one of Intelâ€™s most secretive product developments today that is expected to put the company head-to-head with Nvidia/AMD in the graphics arena.
Larrabee is currently scheduled to debut in the second half of 2009 at IDF Fall in San Francisco, which means that we should expect this card in the August/September time frame. Intel will launch a high-end part, possibly targeting server acceleration, first. Six months after the introduction of Larrabee, Intel plans to launch mainstream Larrabee products for both desktop and notebook computers. This should be in line with the launch of 6-Series of chipsets, the 2010 successor of the 2009 Calpela platform (which is the successor of the launch-ready Montevina).
Intel has not provided information about how many IA cores Larrabee will actually include, other than saying that it will have â€œlots of coresâ€. According to our information â€œlotsâ€ will really be a matter of perception, as internal documents seen by us currently indicate between four and 24 IA cores. On the high-end, this should be well enough to put the performance of Larrabee above into 1 TFlop mark. A big mystery remains a huge pink placeholder block in Larrabee drawings that is simply described as â€œcacheâ€ at this time.
We expect GDDR5 memory and the 1024-bit bus as key factors for Intel to achieve hundreds of gigabytes of bandwidth. The internal path is targeting 1 TB/s. We have seen a similar concept with ATI's failed R600 design (1024-bit internal, 512-bit external) and Intel expects a lot from GDDR5, most notably to keep the tracing lengths as short as possible.
What we havenâ€™t heard a lot about is driver development. Even if Intel believes that developers will jump on Larrabee as it is IA-based and familiar territory to program for, drivers will be essential: If the drivers do not deliver and break compatibility, developers and market almost certainly will walk away from the part.
Recently, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang gave interview to CNet and stated that "every product looks good in a power point presentation." But so far, Larrabee is shaping up well and begins to look like an interesting technology