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Intel 'Larrabee' GPU: 16 Cores - 2GHz - 150W - Nvidia Partnership(?)

 
 
AirRaid
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      4th Jun 2007
http://www.beyond3d.com/content/news/242

Larrabee: 16 Cores, 2GHz, 150W, and more...
Friday 01st June 2007, 06:08:45 PM, written by Arun


It is amazing how much information is out there in the wild, when you
know where to look. TG Daily has just published an article partially
based on a presentation they were tipped off about, and which was
uploaded on the 26th of April. It reveals a substantial amount of new
information, which we will not focus on analysing right now, so we do
encourage you to read it for yourself.

Page 1 discusses the possibility that Larrabee is a joint effort
between NVIDIA and Intel, which we find unlikely, and is possibly just
a misinterpretation of the recently announced patent licensing
agreement between the two companies. Page 2 is much more interesting
however, as they link to the presentation above and also uncover the
hidden Larrabee PCB diagram on slide 16.

We would tend not to agree with most of the analysis and speculation
provided by TG Daily, but it's still worth a good read along with the
presentation, which we are very glad they uncovered. Especially
interesting are slides 16, 17, 19, 24 and 31. That last one includes
some very interesting and previously unknown information on Intel's
upcoming Gesher CPU architecture (aka Sandy Bridge), which is aimed at
the 32nm node in the 2010 timeframe. Larrabee, on the other hand, will
presumably be manufactured on Intel's 45nm process but sport a larger
die size.



____________


http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/32282/137/

Intel set to announce graphics partnership with Nvidia?

By Wolfgang Gruener, Darren Polkowski
Friday, June 01, 2007 01:26

Intel set to announce graphics partnership with Nvidia?

Chicago (IL) - Intel may soon be announcing a close relationship with
Nvidia, which apparently will be contributing to the company's
Larrabee project, TG Daily has learned. Larrabee is expected to roll
out in 2009 and debut as a floating point accelerator product with a
performance of more than 1 TFlops as well as a high-end graphics card
with dual-graphics capabilities.

Rumors about Intel's Larrabee processor have been floating around for
more than a year. Especially since the product's official announcement
at this year's spring IDF and an accelerating interest in floating
point accelerators, the topic itself and surrounding rumors are
gaining traction every day.

Industry sources told TG Daily that Intel is preparing a "big"
announcement involving technologies that will be key to develop
Larrabee. And at least some of those technologies may actually be
coming from Nvidia, we hear: Our sources described Larrabee as a
"joint effort" between the two companies, which may expand over time.
A scenario in which Intel may work with Nvidia to develop Intel-
tailored discrete graphics solutions is speculation but is considered
to be a likely relationship between the two companies down the road.
Clearly, Intel and Nvidia are thinking well beyond their cross-
licensing agreements that are in place today.

It is unclear when the collaboration will be announced; however,
details could surface as early as June 26, when the International
Supercomputing Conference 2007 will open its doors in Dresden,
Germany.

Asked about a possible announcement with Intel, Nvidia spokesperson
Ken Brown provided us with a brief statement: "We enjoy a good working
relationship with Intel and have agreements and ongoing engineering
activities as a result. This said, we cannot comment further about
items that are covered by confidentiality agreements between Intel and
Nvidia."

Intel replied to our inquiry by saying that the company does "not
comment on rumors and speculation."



The AMD-ATI and Intel-Nvidia thingy

In the light of the AMD-ATI merger, it is only to be expected that the
relationship between Intel and Nvidia is examined on an ongoing basis.
So, what does a closer relationship between Intel and Nvidia mean?

The combination with ATI enabled AMD to grow into a different class of
company. It evolved from being CPU-focused into a platform company
that not only can match some key technologies of Intel, but at least
for now has an edge in areas such as visualization capabilities. At a
recent press briefing, the company showed off some of its ideas and it
was clear to us that especially the area of general purpose GPUs will
pave the way to a whole new world of enterprise and desktop
computing.

Nvidia is taking a similar approach with its CUDA software interface,
which allows developers to take advantage of the (general purpose)
floating point horsepower of Geforce 8 graphics processors - more than
500 GFlops per chip. Intel's Larrabee processor is also aimed at
applications that benefit from floating point acceleration - such as
physics, enhanced AI and ray tracing.

While it has been speculated that Intel may be creating Larrabee with
an IA CPU architecture, we were told there may be more GPU elements in
this processor than we previously had thought. A Larrabee card with a
(general purpose) graphics processing unit will support CPUs in
applications that at least partially benefit from massively parallel
processing (as opposed to the traditional sequential processing); in
gaming, the Larrabee processor can be used for physics processing, for
example.

An imminent collaboration announcement between Intel and Nvidia, which
reminds us of a recent Digitimes story that claimed Nvidia was trading
technologies with Intel, of course, raises the question how close the
relationship between Intel and Nvidia might be. It also raises the
question, once again, if Intel may actually be interested in buying
Nvidia - which could make a whole lot of sense for Intel, but appears
to be rather unlikely at this time. Nvidia could cost Intel more than
$15 billion, given the firm's current market cap of $12.6 billion, and
the talk in Silicon Valley indicates that Nvidia co-founder and CEO
Jen-Hsun Huang isn't really interested in selling the company.

But a deal with Intel, involving the licensing of technologies or even
supply of GPUs could have a huge impact on Nvidia's bottom line and
catapult the company into a new phase of growth. However, a closer
collaboration could be important for Intel as well: AMD's acquisition
of ATI was not a measure to raise the stakes in the graphics market or
to battle Nvidia; it was a move to compete in the future CPU market -
with Intel. Having Nvidia on board provides Intel with a graphics
advantage, at least from today's point of view, and could allow the
company to more easily access advanced graphics technology down the
road.



What we know about Larrabee

Intel has recently shared more information with the public about its
intents in the realm of general purpose GPU (GPGPU). In a presentation
from March 7 of this year, Intel discussed its data parallelism
programming implementation called Ct. The presentation discusses the
use of flat vectors and very large instruction words (VLIW as utilized
in ATI/AMD's R600). In essence, the Ct application programming
language (API) bridges the gap of allowing it to work with existing
legacy APIs and libraries as well as co-exist with current
multiprocessing APIs (Pthreads and OpenMP), yet provides "extended
functionality to address irregular algorithms."

http://www.tgdaily.com/images/storie...abee_board.gif


There are several things to point out from the image above, which is a
block diagram of a board utilizing Larrabee. First is the PCIe 2.0
interface with the system. Intel is currently testing PCIe 2.0 as part
of the Bearlake-X (Beachwood) chipset (commercial name: X38), which
could be coming out as part of the Wolfdale 45 nm processor rollout
late this year or early in 2008. Larrabee won't arrive until 2009, but
our sources indicate that if you buy an X38-based board, you will be
able to run a Larrabee board in such a system.

In the upper right hand corner the power connections indicate 150
watts and 75 watts. These correspond to 8-pin and 6-pin power
connections that we have seen on the recent ATI HD2900XT. Intel
expects the power consumption of such a board to be higher than 150
watts. There are video outputs to the far left and as well as video
in. Larrabee appears to have VIVO functionality as well as HDMI output
based on the audio-in block seen at the top left.
A set of BSI connections are next to the audio in connection. We are
not positive on what the abbreviation stands for but we speculate that
these are connections for using these cards in parallel like ATI's
Crossfire or Nvidia's SLI technologies. Finally, there is the size of
the processor (package). That is over twice the size of current GPUs
as ATI's R600 is roughly 21 mm by 20 mm (420 mm). Intel describes the
chip as a "discrete high end GPU" on a general purpose platform, using
at least 16 cores and providing a "fully programmable performance of 1
TFlops."

http://www.tgdaily.com/images/storie.../larrabee1.gif



Moving on we can see that Larrabee will be based on a multi-SIMD
configuration. From other discussions about the chip across the net,
it would seem that each is scalar that works using Vec16 instructions.
That would mean that, for graphics applications, it could work on
blocks of 2x2 pixels at a time. These "in-Order" execution SIMDs will
have floating point 16 (FP16) precision as outlined by IEEE754. Also
to note is the use of a ring memory architecture. From a presentation
by Intel Chief Architect Ed Davis called "tera Tera Tera", Davis
outlines that the internal bandwidth on the bus will be 256 B/cycle
and the external memory will have a bandwidth of 128 GB/s. This is
extremely fast and achievable based on the 1.7-2.5 GHz projections for
the core frequency. Attached to each core will be some form of
texturing unit as well as a dynamically partitioned cache and ring
stop on the memory ring.

In the final image below you will notice that each device will have a
17 GB/s of bandwidth per link. These links tie into a next generation
Southbridge titled "ICH-n" as this is yet to be determined. From
discussions with those in the industry, it would appear that the
external memory might not be soldered into the board but in fact be
plug in modules. The slide denotes DDR3, GDDR, as well as FBD or fully
buffered DIMMs. It will be interesting to see what form this will
actually be implemented as but that is the fun of speculation.

http://www.tgdaily.com/images/storie.../larrabee3.jpg






The current layout of project Larrabee is a deviation of previous
Intel roadmap targets. In a 2005 whitepaper entitled "Platform 2015:
Intel Processor and Platform Evolution for the Next Decade", the
company outlines a series of Xscale processors based on Explicitly
Parallel Instruction Computing or EPIC. Intel has deviated slightly
from its initial roadmap since the release of this paper: Intel sold
Xscale to Marvell last year, which makes it a rather unlikely product
for Larrabee - and could have opened up the discussion for other
processing units.

What is interesting is that rumors that Intel was looking for talent
for an upcoming "project" involving graphics started passing around
already more than a year and a half ago. In August of last year, you
could apply for positions on Career Builder and Intel's own website. A
current generic job description exists on Intel's website.



Concluding note

While this is an interesting approach to graphics, physics, and
general purpose processing, we will be seeing the meat in the final
product as well as the success of acceptance with independent software
vendors (ISVs). In our opinion, the concept of the GPGPU is the most
significant development in the computer environment in at least 15
years. The topic has been gaining ground lately and this new
implementation from Intel could take things to a whole new level. As
for the graphics performance, only time will tell.

It will be interesting to see which role Nvidia will play in Intel's
strategy. Keep a close eye on this one.

 
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AirRaid
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      5th Jun 2007


Will Intel be teaming up with Nvidia over Larrabee?


Intel and Nvidia: grand graphics alliance?
More details of the mysterious Larrabee project emerge
Dan Grabham
05 Jun 2007 17:03

Could Intel and Nvidia be preparing to unveil a grand PC graphics
technology alliance? That's the latest rumour following the release of
further details of Intel's in-house graphics project, known as
Larrabee. But is it true?

As we reported back in April, Larrabee is an all-new processor design
from Intel that is due out in 2009 and majors on floating point power.
Larrabee processors are expected to come in several forms including a
dedicated graphics processing chip.

However, according to website TGDaily , Intel will actually be teaming
up with Californian graphics company Nvidia to produce the new chip.
Engineering work for the new processor will be shared between the two
companies.

Intel's engineers will design the floating point units used for shader
calculations while Nvidia will supply the circuitry required to
rasterise and output graphics.

Intel and Nvidia already have an existing patent cross-licensing
agreement, so closer co-operation between the two companies is
certainly plausible. Especially in the context of the recent
acquisition of Canadians graphics outfit by Intel's main rival AMD .

In any case, TGDaily has certainly stumbled upon some interesting new
facts regarding Larrabee. In a document recently released but not
widely publicised, Intel confirms the Larrabee project will initially
give birth to two chips.

The first is the aforementioned graphics chip composed of 16 Larrabee
cores and a slew of dedicated 3D output hardware and video memory.
This flavour of the Larrabee processor will reside on an add-in board
just like existing graphics cards. In other words, it will go head to
head against high performance video boards from Nvidia and ATI.

The second design is a so-called general purpose chip that will be
capable of running the full x86 instruction set. However, with a total
of 24 cores, it will deliver truly mind-bending floating point power -
as much as one trillion floating point operations per second.

Incredibly, that's approximately 40 times the floating point power of
an existing Intel Core 2 dual-core processor. This version of Larrabee
probably isn't suited to all-round desktop processing. Intel has
another, completely separate road map of Core 2-based chips to cater
for that market.

But for specialist applications such medical calculations, for example
protein folding la Folding at Home, and perhaps even high-end gaming
with sophisticated physics simulations, Larrabee will be a very
interesting indeed.

http://tinyurl.com/2hxmct

 
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AirRaid
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      7th Jun 2007
another interesting, though speculative Larrabee article:
___________________

Intel's Larrabee: A killer blow for AMD

Could Larrabee mean another tortuous time for AMD?

tech.co.uk staff
Thursday 07 June 2007 16:19

It's a silly sounding name, Larrabee. But it must fill AMD 's heart
with terror. It's the codename, of course, for a whole family of new
processors being cooked up by Intel . And it promises to add graphics
insult to AMD's existing CPU injuries.

Frankly, things are bad enough for AMD already. Since launch last
summer, the Core 2 processor has been pistol whipping AMD's Athlon
CPUs into burger meat. Meanwhile, AMD's upcoming quad-core competitor,
broadly known as Barcelona, looks like a pretty unambitious effort. It
will certainly have to be some chip to take on Intel's upcoming 45nm
die shrink of the Core 2 chip. Factor in recent reports of a launch
delay for Barcelona and I'm beginning to get the fear about AMD's
ability to compete.

Then there's the spectacular fashion in which the wheels have come off
AMD's recently acquired ATI graphics subsidiary. ATI's all new
flagship graphics DX10 board, the Radeon HD 2900 XT was very late,
extremely underwhelming on arrival and possibly a bit broken. The
midrange variants of the Radeon HD range don't look much healthier:
they've been sent back to the fab for a respin. Not a good sign.

In that context, the emergence of the Larrabee project from Intel is
just further proof of how far ahead of the game Intel appears to be at
moment. For the uninitiated, Larrabee is an all new multi-core
processor design that majors on floating point power.
The full feature set hasn't been revealed as yet, but an official
Intel document turned up on a university website recently that reveals
several fascinating new details.

Try these specs for size. Larrabee will be available in configurations
ranging from 16 to 24 with clock speeds as high as 2GHz and raw
performance in the 1TFlop range. The latter figure is approximately 40
times more than an existing Intel Core 2 Duo chip. Yup, you read it
right. 40 times. And the first Larrabee chips are pencilled in for as
soon as 2009.

Of course, floating point power is just one part of the overall PC
processing equation - Intel will be retaining a conventional CPU
roadmap for general purpose duties based on the existing Core 2
family.

But Larrabee will take Intel into brand new markets. Significantly,
the document confirmed that a variant with full 3D video rendering
capability is on the cards. As we reported earlier this week, the
rumblings on the rumour mill suggest the chip could be a joint effort
with Nvidia.

Either way, the most fascinating aspect of the Larrabee GPU is the
expectation that it could be the first graphics processor to combine
both traditional raster graphics with more advanced ray-tracing
techniques.

Without getting bogged down in the details, suffice to understand that
raster graphics are a bit of a kludge when it comes to simulating
lighting. Ray-tracing is the real deal. Ask any 3D graphics
professional what they think about ray tracing on GPUs and they'll
tell it's a matter of when rather than if.

Of course, AMD and ATI will know perfectly well that ray tracing is
the future. But what must be really worrying is that it presents Intel
with the perfect inflection point to enter the graphics market. ATI
and Nvidia have refined raster graphics to the point where other
companies, including Intel, simply can't compete. But a new age of ray-
traced graphics will level the playing field and might just hand Intel
a chance for the total domination of the PC platform it so dearly
desires.

Jeremy Laird
________________

http://tinyurl.com/2znr39

 
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BillL
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Posts: n/a
 
      8th Jun 2007

"AirRaid" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> another interesting, though speculative Larrabee article:
> ___________________
>
> Intel's Larrabee: A killer blow for AMD
>
> Could Larrabee mean another tortuous time for AMD?
>
> tech.co.uk staff
> Thursday 07 June 2007 16:19
>
> It's a silly sounding name, Larrabee. But it must fill AMD 's heart
> with terror. It's the codename, of course, for a whole family of new
> processors being cooked up by Intel . And it promises to add graphics
> insult to AMD's existing CPU injuries.
>
> Frankly, things are bad enough for AMD already. Since launch last
> summer, the Core 2 processor has been pistol whipping AMD's Athlon
> CPUs into burger meat. Meanwhile, AMD's upcoming quad-core competitor,
> broadly known as Barcelona, looks like a pretty unambitious effort. It
> will certainly have to be some chip to take on Intel's upcoming 45nm
> die shrink of the Core 2 chip. Factor in recent reports of a launch
> delay for Barcelona and I'm beginning to get the fear about AMD's
> ability to compete.
>
> Then there's the spectacular fashion in which the wheels have come off
> AMD's recently acquired ATI graphics subsidiary. ATI's all new
> flagship graphics DX10 board, the Radeon HD 2900 XT was very late,
> extremely underwhelming on arrival and possibly a bit broken. The
> midrange variants of the Radeon HD range don't look much healthier:
> they've been sent back to the fab for a respin. Not a good sign.
>
> In that context, the emergence of the Larrabee project from Intel is
> just further proof of how far ahead of the game Intel appears to be at
> moment. For the uninitiated, Larrabee is an all new multi-core
> processor design that majors on floating point power.
> The full feature set hasn't been revealed as yet, but an official
> Intel document turned up on a university website recently that reveals
> several fascinating new details.
>
> Try these specs for size. Larrabee will be available in configurations
> ranging from 16 to 24 with clock speeds as high as 2GHz and raw
> performance in the 1TFlop range. The latter figure is approximately 40
> times more than an existing Intel Core 2 Duo chip. Yup, you read it
> right. 40 times. And the first Larrabee chips are pencilled in for as
> soon as 2009.
>
> Of course, floating point power is just one part of the overall PC
> processing equation - Intel will be retaining a conventional CPU
> roadmap for general purpose duties based on the existing Core 2
> family.
>
> But Larrabee will take Intel into brand new markets. Significantly,
> the document confirmed that a variant with full 3D video rendering
> capability is on the cards. As we reported earlier this week, the
> rumblings on the rumour mill suggest the chip could be a joint effort
> with Nvidia.
>
> Either way, the most fascinating aspect of the Larrabee GPU is the
> expectation that it could be the first graphics processor to combine
> both traditional raster graphics with more advanced ray-tracing
> techniques.
>
> Without getting bogged down in the details, suffice to understand that
> raster graphics are a bit of a kludge when it comes to simulating
> lighting. Ray-tracing is the real deal. Ask any 3D graphics
> professional what they think about ray tracing on GPUs and they'll
> tell it's a matter of when rather than if.
>
> Of course, AMD and ATI will know perfectly well that ray tracing is
> the future. But what must be really worrying is that it presents Intel
> with the perfect inflection point to enter the graphics market. ATI
> and Nvidia have refined raster graphics to the point where other
> companies, including Intel, simply can't compete. But a new age of ray-
> traced graphics will level the playing field and might just hand Intel
> a chance for the total domination of the PC platform it so dearly
> desires.
>
> Jeremy Laird
> ________________
>
> http://tinyurl.com/2znr39
>


What would worry me is how much Intel could charge for CPU's if they did
'kill' of AMD (

BillL


 
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A Guy Called Tyketto
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      8th Jun 2007
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Hash: SHA1

In alt.comp.hardware.amd.x86-64 BillL <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> What would worry me is how much Intel could charge for CPU's if they did
> 'kill' of AMD (
>
> BillL


Picture the days before AMD and Cyrix came out with their 486
and 586-compatible CPUs, and how much they cost back then (with
relation to cost of living, etc.). Could be headed back that way.

BL.
- --
Brad Littlejohn | Email: (E-Mail Removed)
Unix Systems Administrator, | (E-Mail Removed)
Web + NewsMaster, BOFH.. Smeghead! | http://www.wizard.com/~tyketto
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Larry Roberts
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      8th Jun 2007
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 17:35:01 GMT, "BillL" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>


>>

>
>What would worry me is how much Intel could charge for CPU's if they did
>'kill' of AMD (
>
>BillL
>


I remember the prices on computers before AMD, and Cyrix where
competitors, and there is no way I'd be able to afford a system if
prices where still that high.
 
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Nate Edel
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      10th Jun 2007
In comp.sys.intel A Guy Called Tyketto <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> In alt.comp.hardware.amd.x86-64 BillL <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > What would worry me is how much Intel could charge for CPU's if they did
> > 'kill' of AMD (

>
> Picture the days before AMD and Cyrix came out with their 486
> and 586-compatible CPUs, and how much they cost back then (with
> relation to cost of living, etc.). Could be headed back that way.


There's always Via; for that matter, there'd be whomever bought up the
remains of AMD's IP - I wouldn't expect a whole lot of new processors to
take on Intel's latest, but if you look at how old you can get and still
have a pretty useable system, current A64 X2 designs if pushed cheaply out
of Asian high-volume fabs could probably take Intel on in the low end for
long enough for a new competitor to emerge.

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"What's the use of yearning for Elysian Fields when you know you can't get
'em, and would only let 'em out on building leases if you had 'em?" (WSG)
 
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Bill Davidsen
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      15th Jun 2007
AirRaid wrote:
> another interesting, though speculative Larrabee article:
> ___________________
>
> Intel's Larrabee: A killer blow for AMD
>
> Could Larrabee mean another tortuous time for AMD?
>

Just how much AMD stock did you sell short?

--
Bill Davidsen
He was a full-time professional cat, not some moonlighting
ferret or weasel. He knew about these things.
 
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AirRaid
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      18th Jun 2007
http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,...331777b,00.htm

Intel Larrabee roadmap -- who says there ain't no Santa Cores?
Posted by Rupert Goodwins

More news is leaking out about Larrabee, Intel's many-core x86
project. According to what Google translates as Hiroshige's Goto
Weekly from Japan, there'll be 24 and 32 core variants out in 2009 and
a 48 core chip in 2010. The 24 core variant may even be the 32 core
version in disguise, as a way to ship useful parts when one or more
cores don't work.

Picking my way carefully through the Googleised Japanese, it appears
that the first product Larrabee may appear in is a PCI Express 2
accelerator card - mostly for graphics, but with plenty of other
options for tasks that like lots of high speed floating point. That's
where most of the x86 instruction set enhancements will come too,
together with specialised parallel control instructions. That makes
for interesting comparisons with IBM's Cell, which has a conventional
Power PC core doing control and housekeeping and entirely incompatible
processor units managing the heavy lifting.

Oh, and please not to be confusing the Larrabee with the Polaris,
Intel's other public many-core chip. Polaris is not x86, it's not
going to be a product, it's a testbed and, aside from having lots of
cores (80, as opposed to Larrabee's 24-48) there's not much
similarity. Polaris uses a cross-switch matrix for core
interconnection, Larrabee a 256-byte-per-cycle ring; Polaris has
stacked memory, Larrabee multiple on-chip DRAM controllers (as far as
I can tell)...


 
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mr deo
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      19th Jun 2007

"AirRaid" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>

http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,...331777b,00.htm
>
> Intel Larrabee roadmap -- who says there ain't no Santa Cores?
> Posted by Rupert Goodwins
>
> More news is leaking out about Larrabee, Intel's many-core x86
> project. According to what Google translates as Hiroshige's Goto
> Weekly from Japan, there'll be 24 and 32 core variants out in 2009 and
> a 48 core chip in 2010. The 24 core variant may even be the 32 core
> version in disguise, as a way to ship useful parts when one or more
> cores don't work.
>


When intel leaks something it's more like a cov-ops press release ...

32 cores, 24 cores....

Our software will use 1 core, possibly 2 ..... still, once we start
getting shedloads of cores then it might be possible to completly flush a
(standard) pc without having to reboot the whole box.......
anyhow.... I'd rather have some 5w core2duo's than some 250w core2^32o's



 
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