Intel Shelves Larrabee Discrete GPU Plans

Intel Shelves Larrabee Discrete GPU Plans

We suppose even the best laid plans can fall apart, and it seems that one of Intel's most promising endeavors is no longer active as of today. In a new post by the company's own Bill Kircos, he addresses Intel's stance on graphics-related programs, giving vague updates to a broad variety of topics.

But one area wasn't vague at all. When speaking about Larrabee, which the company has been talking about and showcasing for many years now, he noted that Intel is "executing on a business opportunity derived from the Larrabee program and Intel research in many-core chips." He follows by saying that this "server product line expansion is optimized for a broader range of highly parallel workloads in segments such as high performance computing," but continues on with the real kick-in-the-pants: "We will not bring a discrete graphics product to market, at least in the short-term."


That's a pretty major statement for Intel to make. With NVIDIA forging ahead on Ion and AMD forging ahead with a number of integrated/discrete ATI Radeon options, Intel is seemingly taking a back seat and reserving their efforts solely for IGPs. He also admits that Intel "missed some key product milestones," and after looking at things again, the company has decided to focus on "processor graphics," as they believe that "media/HD video and mobile computing are the most important areas to focus on moving forward."

So, no discrete GPU from Intel. Wow. Here's a look at the full post below, though the rest just feels unimportant compared to that whopper.

At Intel, there are two undeniable trends or tenets that are driving us in these areas: the explosive rise of media - specifically HD video, and the rapid shift to wireless mobile computers that consume less power.

Our current 2010 Intel® Core™ processors integrate what we call Intel HD Graphics, and offer a best-in-class solution for the vast majority of how we all use our computers. If you choose our processors, you get a great visual experience for the bulk of what you do. We’ve even added entirely new features, such as Wireless Display right to your TV. Intel’s processor graphics will continue to be enhanced - with more surprises - in our 2011 Intel Core processor family, code-named Sandy Bridge.

In a nutshell, Intel has three visual computing efforts. The first is the aforementioned processor graphics. Since we began integrating graphics inside our chipsets back in 1999 (and now integrate graphics inside our processor products), the majority of PC users are now using integrated solutions. Second, for our smaller Intel® Atom™ processor and System on Chip efforts, and third, a many-core, programmable Intel architecture and first product both of which we referred to as Larrabee for graphics and other workloads. Here’s the latest:

  1. Our top priority continues to be around delivering an outstanding processor that addresses every day, general purpose computer needs and provides leadership visual computing experiences via processor graphics. We are further boosting funding and employee expertise here, and continue to champion the rapid shift to mobile wireless computing and HD video - we are laser-focused on these areas.
  2. We are also executing on a business opportunity derived from the Larrabee program and Intel research in many-core chips. This server product line expansion is optimized for a broader range of highly parallel workloads in segments such as high performance computing. Intel VP Kirk Skaugen will provide an update on this next week at ISC 2010 in Germany.
  3. We will not bring a discrete graphics product to market, at least in the short-term. As we said in December, we missed some key product milestones. Upon further assessment, and as mentioned above, we are focused on processor graphics, and we believe media/HD video and mobile computing are the most important areas to focus on moving forward.
  4. We will also continue with ongoing Intel architecture-based graphics and HPC-related R&D and proof of concepts.

As important is our factory network and manufacturing lead. Simply, our process technology advantages constantly deliver higher performing chips at lower power, smaller sizes and reduced costs. We will apply this strength to bring consumers the most visually rich computing experience you can get.

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Didn't they make this announcement a few months ago... an then like a couple weeks later came out and said "Ok, we're gonna work on Larrabee again guys!" And now they're taking it back again? lol It'd be nice if they would make up their mind...

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I'd be more excited about a CPU-GPU-in-one if it came from a company that's actually shown that they can make top-tier GPUs. Of course, it's also true that the Intel solution would have probably been more than acceptable - given where this type of processor is most likely to be used.

Guess we'll just have to see what the AMD solution looks like.

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3vi1:

I'd be more excited about a CPU-GPU-in-one if it came from a company that's actually shown that they can make top-tier GPUs. Of course, it's also true that the Intel solution would have probably been more than acceptable - given where this type of processor is most likely to be used.

Guess we'll just have to see what the AMD solution looks like.

I'm with you here. I think Intel has done a fantastic job at really hurting the PC gaming industry with the worthless GPUs they have pushed into PCs over the last decade.

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No surprise here as Intel is has no answer to Fusion or Nvidia's Ion. The best they can do is put on a pretty face the fact remains IMO they are going to have to buy out Nvidia to become a formidable player in the discrete graphics space. Again AMD has the complete solution with a solid CPU and a solid GPU they hold all the cards. Now they just need to continue to execute as they have been. "The Future is Fusion".

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True, it will be incredibly hard to compete with Nvidia and other market competitions. I mean, this late in the game I can see why Intel is scrapping this already, I guess their mathematicians did some discrete probability problems and realized that the possibility of having an adequate share in this market just wasn't sustainable enough to follow suit with the plan.

Stick to making the world's best processors, at least now since you've gotten that spot. AMD is creeping up....

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Intel already holds a HUGE chunk of the graphics market. And Larrabee, if released would sell like wild fire.

Non technical people know the Intel name. Drop a name like Nvida or ATI, and they will ask "Who?"

If they released a discrete card and sold it in computers at Best Buy, people would buy it just because of the name.

I think it would be great for PC gaming to. Because more people will have powerful enough graphics cards to play PC games because they trust the company. People don't trust what they don't know. That's why when I worked at Circuit City it was hard to sell AMD based Systems. No one knew who they were. You say "Intel" and "Oh yea, I know who they are, they make good stuff!" True or not.

Only the enthusiasts like us would know how awesome of products Nvidia and ATI make. Intel wouldn't even have to have the best card. Just a decent one. People would buy it up like crazy.

Just like they're buying that crap iPad because it has the Apple name behind it :-x

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"Non technical people know the Intel name. Drop a name like Nvida or ATI, and they will ask 'Who?' "

Tested that one out on my GF just now lol

"Ever heard of Nvidia?"

She thought about it for a couple minutes "hmmm, no, who is that?"

"Have you ever heard of ATI"

She didn't even think about it lol "No...why?"

"Ever heard of Intel?"

"Don't they make computers?"

Not exactly lol... Intel was the only name she recognized... and because of that, they would be the only name she would trust. We are the minority... They are the Majority... and Intel is well known across the board.

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Intel has name recognition because of their massive advertising budget that they have been using throughout the years. They are the Big Frog on the lily pad and can, if they want to, throw money at anything they want to. They're not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Intel has always lagged behind discrete graphics card makers in terms of performance like Nvidia and ATI. Even though this is the case, they still hold over 50% of the market share thanks to their integrated graphics in cheapo systems.

In light of this, I do hope AMD can go through with their Fusion. The only problem I can see with fusion is...if it's all in one package (both the cpu and GPU on the same die) it will be hard to upgrade the graphics card or processor.

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That's going to take amount of Engineering and Researching time.

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