Larrabee: Samples in Late 08, Products in 2H09/1H10

Wednesday 16th January 2008, 12:42:00 PM, written by Arun

When Doug Freedman asked Paul Otellini about Larrabee during yesterday's conference call, we didn't think much would come out of it. But boy were we wrong: Otellini gave an incredibly to-the-point update on the project's timeframe. So rather than try to summarize, we'll just quote what Otellini had to say here.

Larrabee first silicon should be late this year in terms of samples and we’ll start playing with it and sampling it to developers and I still think we are on track for a product in late ’09, 2010 timeframe.

And yes, the transcript says 'Laramie' and we have no idea how anyone could spell it that way given the pronunciation, but whatever. The first interesting point is that Otellini said 'first silicon', as if it wasn't their intention to ship it in non-negligible quantities.

So it'd be little more than a prototype, which makes sense: it'll likely take quite some time for both game and GPGPU developers to get used to the architecture and programming model. At least this proves Intel isn't being ridiculously overly confident in terms of software adoption if we're interpreting that right, and that they're willing to make this a long-term investment.

On the other hand, if their first real product is expected to come out in 'late 2009', an important point becomes what process Intel will manufacture it on. If it's 45nm, they'll actually be at a density and power disadvantage against GPUs produced at TSMC, based on our understanding of both companies ' processes and roadmaps.

But if Intel is really aggressive and that chip is actually on 32nm, then they would be at a real process advantage. That seems less likely to us since it'd imply it would tape-out and release at about the same time as Intel's CPUs on a new process. Either way, it is a very important question.

The next point to consider is that in the 2H09/1H10 timeframe, Larrabee will compete against NVIDIA and AMD's all-new DX11 architectures. This makes architectural and programming flexibility questions especially hard to answer at this point. It should be obvious that NVIDIA and AMD must want to improve those aspects to fight against Larrabee though, so it could be a very interesting fight in the GPGPU market and beyond.

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intel ± larrabee, dx11

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