Intel Larrabee: massive chip with 1.7 billion transistors

Posted on Monday, Apr 13 2009 @ 22:55 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Theo Valich from Bright Side of News reports the Larrabee wafer that Pat Gelsinger showed off at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing last week contains 64 Larrabee dies, each measuring around 600 square millimeters. Intel's parallel computing chip is massive, and the production costs of these chips must be pretty high.

Valich guesstimates Larrabee has between 1.65 billion and 1.75 billion transistors, if correct that's about 300 million more than NVIDIA's GT200 GPU. He believes such a part will cost at least $350-450.
According to our sources, first Larrabee chips will be built using 45nm High-K Hafnium-loving process with a move to 32nm a year after. Now, if Bloomfield die [Core i7] is 263mm2 in size and is consisted out of 731 million transistors, that means that Larrabee's 600mm2 die would end somewhere in the 1.65-1.75B transistor range.

If you're not impressed at the specs of this chip, with its 12 P55C-based cores + Vector units, think again. ATI is testing 40nm manufacturing with RV740, a $99 chip featuring 826 million transistors. Intel's "test" has more than double that. However, the entrance into the world of cGPU or GPGPU won't be that easy. From the hardware side, ATI is currently shipping 959M parts [4890] and 1.92B with their dual-GPU cards [4850X2/4870X2], nVidia ships 1.4B part for almost a year now [GTX260/275/280/285], or 2.8 billion transistor part if you count their dual-GPU part - GeForce GTX295.

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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