Introduction

Oooh this is dangerous.

It started with Intel quietly (but not too quietly) informing many in the industry of its plans to enter the graphics market with something called Larrabee.

NVIDIA responded by quietly (but not too quietly) criticizing the nonexistant Larrabee.

What we've seen for the past several months has been little more than jabs thrown back and forth, admittedly with NVIDIA being a little more public with its swings. Today is a big day, without discussing competing architectures, Intel is publicly unveiling, for the first time, the basis of its Larrabee GPU architecture.

Well, it is important to keep in mind that this is first and foremost NOT a GPU. It's a CPU. A many-core CPU that is optimized for data-parallel processing. What's the difference? Well, there is very little fixed function hardware, and the hardware is targeted to run general purpose code as easily as possible. The bottom lines is that Intel can make this very wide many-core CPU look like a GPU by implementing software libraries to handle DirectX and OpenGL.

It's not quite emulating a GPU as it is directly implementing functionality on a data-parallel CPU that would normally be done on dedicated hardware. And developers will not be limited to just DirectX and OpenGL: this hardware can take pure software renderers and run them as if the hardware was designed specifically for that code.

There is quite a bit here, so let's just jump right in.

The Design Experiment: Could Intel Build a GPU?
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  • erikespo - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_%28geometry%29">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_%28geometry%29

    helpful page to take you back to first grade

    and excuse my decimal point.. it is 204.49mm total per core or 14.3mm^2
    Reply
  • erikespo - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    Explain.

    lets use smaller numbers for you 2mm^2 is 2mm by 2 mm or 4 total mm

    double that and it is 4mm^2 or 4 mm by 4 mm or 16mm total..

    we are talking about area or 2 dimensions not 1 dimension.

    Same math applies to the article
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    No, you're way off. 2mm² is TWO square millimeters. (a rectangle 1x2 for example). Double that would be 4mm², which could either be 1x4 or 2x2.

    NUMBERmm² doesn't mean NUMBERxNUMBER mm, it means exactly what it says: NUMBER mm².

    Using your smaller numbers: 2mm² is not "4 total mm"; it is TWO mm². Saying it is 4 total mm doesn't even make sense. You _can't_ measure area in millimeters. You measure it in square millimeters, and there are two of them (_2_mm²).

    Here's an mspaint visual (if links work: http://img105.imageshack.us/my.php?image=squaremma...">http://img105.imageshack.us/my.php?image=squaremma...

    You're so sure you're right on this, it's really depressing :(
    Reply
  • darkequitus - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    I did not appriciate the writer creaming over every digital page they wrote. especially when Larrabee's performance is mainl at the moment based on INtel hype and nothing real. Reply
  • ZootyGray - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    THANK YOU.

    Somebody finally said it.

    The others prefer Eutopian illusion - aka the curse aka ntel antitrust. ntel has no grafx and the fools in the public buy "inside' and nvid and ati aren't exactly friends of the curse.

    welcome to the matrix. wakey wakey
    Reply
  • ZootyGray - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    and a 16 pager on maybe might could be should be = wannabe "employ-boy"
    - payday ? hooyeh. This is so disappointing for me. Credibility sags to a new low.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - link

    Someone whose two posts contain about 10 complete words and no complete thoughts says Anandtech's credibility has sagged to a new low? Reply
  • ZootyGray - Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - link

    haha yeh - lots of room for thinking.
    or - if no thinkeez - ya gots der 16 pg inundation (that's a big word like marmalade) all based on nothing-is-real - you like that kind of brainwash? we don't know anything; but here's the tekspex?
    btw - did u get it? the matrix idea? watch the movie. cos here it is. pardon my loaded cryptic literacy.
    thx
    if you don't get it - well, that's what they want - a world of sleeping mob. never mind, that's just my concern.

    Reply
  • The Preacher - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    I don't really care about how good it will be executing some software renderer but I feel it is going to kick ass in scientific calculations. Matrix operations, FFT/convolution, tremendous bandwidth, double precission... I may write C++/x86 assembly code directly for it and I may put this into a rack of servers and use it through MPI. Give me a compiler with vector intrinsic functions for it and my dreams just came true! :) Reply
  • elerick - Monday, August 04, 2008 - link

    I have been a daily reader of another hardware review site for years. I ready nearly every articles that headlines and find many of them quite lacking. Today I got wind of your review for the Larabee. It was very well written and produced an amazing amount of tech knowledge not really commonly reviewed. I'm glad to have found you this site, and I never create an account but today I felt obligated to. Great work.

    PS: any news on that AMD / Fusion? or is that just them being intimidated by Intel's Larrabee?
    Reply

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