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Intel’s Larrabee – The Future GPU and CPU

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Well it’s technically not a “GPU”. It’s actually something like this:

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.

So it’s not really a GPU by default, but this upcoming Intel processor can run GPU code. Great, isn’t? This is a small step towards what could be Intel’s official move into the GPU market. It isn’t happening for another year or so, but it’s worth checking out if you’re interested.

AnandTech has a technical writeup explaining what and how Larabee will work. This could be the beginning of something spectacular.

What I found most interesting is how Intel is re-using re-tooled Intel Pentium processors for this new CPU design. They’ve managed to squeeze in about 10 of these original Pentium cores into the same die space of a Core 2 Duo.

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