Intel shelves Larrabee until next year

Abdullah Saad
Posted Dec 5, 2009
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Well, Well, Well – What do we have here? Up until the day before yesterday, everything was hunky dory with Larrabee hitting 1TFlop of computing speed at the SC09 – Super Computing show. And today Intel spokesperson comes out with the news that Intel is shelving the initial batch of Larrabee graphic processors, and that it will appear as a Software Development platform only.

“Larrabee silicon and software development are behind where we hoped to be at this point in the project,” Intel spokesperson Nick Knupffer said Friday. “As a result, our first Larrabee product will not be launched as a standalone discrete graphics product,” he said. He did not provide a more detailed reason for the delay.

Intel remains coy about the future of Larrabee GPUs, and did not give out definite dates about their future release. Their spokesperson further suggested that Intel remains committed to delivering the graphics chip and will discuss further plans next year. It will launch samples of Larrabee for developers next year, along with tools to let them write and test applications for it, he said.

As per experts, reasons for this action might also include the fact that Larrabee is not exactly hitting the performance figures, that Intel would like it to. While it did perform up to 1 teraflop i.e. 1 trillion floating point operations per second at the SC09 – ATi’s already out with a card (the 5800 series) – which can do 5 teraflops.

Larrabee was earlier slated to be released in 2008, but has since been chronically delayed for a variety of reasons. This however does not change Intel’s plans to come out with its first chip with a GPU integrated onto the CPU – the “Pine View” (platform – Pine Trail) Atom Processor, meant to be used on future netbooks.

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