Earlier in the week, we posted about Intel's Larrabee GPU and its future-looking performance.
This information comparing Larrabee to Nvidia's GTX 285 was preliminary, and given to us by a company close to Intel and Nvidia. After posting, we received more information on what Larrabee could shape up to be from one of Intel's very close and large partners. The following information should be taken as "current-known" information, and may very well change when Intel ships Larrabee.
According to current known information, our source indicated that Larrabee may end up being quite a big chip--literally. In fact,we were informed that Larrabee may be close to 650mm square die, and to be produced at 45nm. "If those measurements are normalized to match Nvidia's GT200 core, then Larrabee would be roughly 971mm squared," said our source--hefty indeed. This is of course, an assumption that Intel will be producing Larrabee on a 45nm core.
Our source also indicated that Intel is looking to ship Larrabee two years later, putting us in summer of 2011. Of course, by that time, we will have GPUs that are 2 to 4 times faster than current GPUs from both AMD/ATI and Nvidia. However, at that time Larrabee may not be what it is today either.
One critical point we were told was that 1st and 2nd generation Larrabee GPUs will not be compatible with 3rd generation Larrabee. This is of course, highly speculative and very far out. According to the data, Intel's 3rd generation part will have an emulation mode for backwards compatibility. If this is true, then developers would have a hard time programming for Larrabee.
We contacted Intel for comment in regards to the above information. Intel denied that any of the above is true.
Despite the above red-flag, there's an assumption that Larrabee will have to be compliant with Microsoft's DirectX, which will make it compatible with any existing technology on the application level. Games and application would be programmed for DirectX and not coded at the GPU level. However, in a recent Intel Larrabee slide, Larrabee's rendering architecture was suggested to be a successor to DirectX, possibly replacing the DirectX standard.
Image: courtesy of www.pcgh.de