05 August 2008

Nvidia, ATI... and now Intel?! Enter Larrabee.

BBC - Intel unveils graphics chip line

For a long time, when one puts "Intel" and "graphics" together, you usually come up with some integrated piece-of-crap graphics setup and decide to get a Nvidia or ATI addon GPU instead. Now Intel's leaping into the addon GPU field. Details have been unveiled on Intel's Larrabee chipset for addon GPUs. Larrabee is expected to be multi-core, but a specific number's not known yet.

Although Intel will be releasing the chip into the PC graphics card market, they also expect greater things from it, such as aiding oil exploration, financial services and medical imaging in the future. The recent trend for scientists is to use coupled GPUs in place of a standalone supercomputer, and this trend seems to be what Intel's aiming for.

More details about Larrabee are slated to be revealed sometime during the Siggraph conference from August 12th to the 15th.

I'll say this much, it's a promising development, and one for open-source advocates to keep an eye on. Intel's had decent support for Linux for a while, and if these GPUs work as well with it as some of their other chipsets, it could prove to be a win for more than Intel.

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