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.
Will Intel's Larrabee be competitive enough?
Posted on Saturday, Aug 09 2008 @ 00:00 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck