Intel reveals first Larrabee details

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Intel reveals first Larrabee details

Chipmaker provides glimpse of next-generation multi-core architecture.

Intel has disclosed more details of its forthcoming Larrabee chip architecture that will use multiple processing cores to boost processing speeds in applications such as 3D graphics and scientific and engineering simulations.

Due to ship in 2009 or 2010, the first Larrabee chip will target the personal computer graphics market, Intel said. The firm will present a paper on the architecture at the SIGGRAPH 2008 computer graphics conference in Los Angeles next week.

Larrabee is based on processor cores with the same x86 architecture used in PC chips, but with enhancements such as vector processing and dedicated hardware for functions such as processing graphics textures.

It is designed to be more flexible and programmable than the graphics processor unit (GPU) chips that power today's graphics adapters, according to Intel, while keeping the familiarity and ease of programming of the Intel architecture.

Although each Larrabee core is said to be based on technology from the Pentium, it has been enhanced with features such as multi-threading and 64bit extensions. Intel said that Larrabee's native programming model supports highly parallel applications, and will enable development of graphics APIs and new graphics algorithms as well as general purpose computation.
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