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Intel pulls plug on Larrabee chip

Posted: 09 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel Larrabee? graphics processor? software?

Intel Corp. has dropped its first discrete graphics processor, dubbed Larrabee, according to reports.

The chip giant will kill the part but will offer Larrabee as a software platform instead.

The device was rolled out last year. Larrabee featured a new approach to the software rendering 3D pipeline while harkening back to an earlier custom pipeline scheme, according to company researchers.

The first product based on Larrabee was supposed to target the PC graphics market, and was expected to hit the market as early as 2009.

Larrabee was based on an array of multiple x86 core processors and was a direct competitor to Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices' ATI graphics processors.

Intel is down but not out in the market. "Larrabee, originally expected to appear in 2008, has experienced some significant delays and was expected to eventually launch sometime in 2010," said Timothy Luke, an analyst with Barclays Capital, in a report.

"While we believe the setback may negatively impact sentiment, Intel sees Larrabee as a strategic opportunity to position it as Intel's integrated graphics product for its future generation CPU + GPU core," Luke said. "We believe Intel is likely to continue investments in graphics and multi core parallel processing. Our checks suggests Intel's first chip with graphics integrated onto the CPU remain on track to be released in Q4 09 with Arrandale in notebooks and Clarkdale in desktops."

Meanwhile, AMD and Nvidia continue to battle in the graphics chip market. "With respect to market share, after gaining 7 percent points in Q2, AMD-ATI gained another 3.2 percent points in the discrete graphics market from 40.6 percent to 43.8 percent in Q3 09," Luke said.

"While both AMD and Nvidia saw healthy unit growth in discrete graphics in Q3, AMD's growth of 27 percent outpaced Nvidia's 12 percent q-on-q unit growth," he said.

"AMD appears well positioned with its first mover advantage in DX11 and 40nm and announced the launch of its 'Evergreen' 40nm offering in September 2009 ahead of the Win 7 launch while Nvidia announced 'Fermi' in early October with products out sometime in 1H 10," he said.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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