Intel unveils Larrabee architecture

Intel unveils Larrabee architecture

By Matt Grainger

August 4th 2008 at 3:10PM

Chip giant gives technical details of forthcoming many-core project

Intel has broken radio silence over the much-anticipated Larrabee graphic processing unit, which it says will revolutionise the role of the GPU.

The product will be released in late 2009 and is due to be the industry’s first many-core chip architecture. It will be powered using Intel’s x86 processor and will support four execution threads per core.

This multi-thread approach combines with a wide vector processing unit, 64-bit extensions and sophisticated pre-fetching, which will enable a massive boost in computational power.

Additionally, Larrabee’s native software will perform dynamic task scheduling and support a variety of parallel programs, including those that use irregular data structures.

Intel expects this architecture to kick-start an industry-wide effort to create and optimise software for a new generation of multi and many-core processed hardware. The firm has initiated a number of projects to speed the transition and has partnered with more than 400 universities and companies such as HP and Microsoft to move the industry in this direction.

This move represents the single largest investment in Intel’s technological research and it is clear that the firm intends for Larrabee to be the benchmark of the future.