Intel details future 'Larrabee' graphics chip

From CNET Intel has disclosed details on a chip that will compete directly with Nvidia and ATI and may take it into unchartered technological and market-segment waters.

Larrabee will be a stand-alone chip, meaning it will be very different than the low-end--but widely used--integrated graphics that Intel now offers as part of the silicon that accompanies its processors. And Larrabee will be based on the universal Intel x86 architecture.

The first Larrabee product will be "targeted at the personal computer market," according to Intel. This means the PC gaming market--putting Nvidia and AMD-ATI directly into Intel's sights. Nvidia and AMD-ATI currently dominate the market for "discrete" or stand-alone graphics processing units.

As Intel sees it, Larrabee combines the best attributes of a central processing unit (CPU) with a graphics processor. "The thing we need is an architecture that combines the full programmability of the CPU with the kinds of parallelism and other special capabilities of graphics processors. And that architecture is Larrabee," Larry Seiler, a senior principal engineer in Intel's Visual Computing Group, said at a briefing on Larrabee in San Francisco last week.

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