Will Intel's Larrabee be competitive enough?

Posted on Saturday, Aug 09 2008 @ 00:00 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
CNET had a critical look at the paper Intel published about Larrabee and concludes the first Larrabee cards will very likely be too slow, too expensive and too hot to be commercially competitive:
The paper gives some performance numbers, but they're hard to interpret. For example, game benchmarks were constructed by running a scene through a game, then taking only widely separated frames for testing on the Intel design. In the F.E.A.R. game, for example, only every 100th frame was used in the tests. This creates an unusually difficult situation for Larrabee; there's likely to be much less reuse of information from one frame to the next.

But given that limitation of the test procedure, the results don't look very good. To render F.E.A.R. at 60 frames per second--a common definition of good-enough gaming performance--required from 7 to 25 cores, assuming each was running at 1GHz. Although there's a range here depending on the complexity of each frame, good gameplay requires maintaining a high frame rate--so it's possible that F.E.A.R. would, in practice, require at least a 16-core Larrabee processor.

And that's about the performance of a 2006-vintage Nvidia or Advanced Micro Devices/ATI graphics chip. This year's chips are three to four times as fast.

In other words, unless Intel is prepared to make big, hot Larrabee chips, I don't think it's going to be competitive with today's best graphics chips on games.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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Re: Will Intel's Larrabee be competitive enough?
by Anonymous on Saturday, Aug 09 2008 @ 04:13 CEST
It has to accelerate physics as well as graphics, which is possible but it 'must' be operational at launch.

DRIVERS must be regularly released and solid pieces of work. Intel can't be "as good" as the rest, they have to execute perfectly and that is more than the first 90 days of release, it has to be constant all the years to come.

Sure they can fail, even the might Intel. But they also know what they have to do. And they "can" do it. And ZERO product delays. Do it right. Do it on time. Do it perfectly and with regular solid updates.

It can be done, or it could fail.