Intel revealed its Larrabee-based Many Integrated Core (MIC) products for the high-performance computing (HPC) market will have a longer development cycle than the company's desktop CPUs. The firm's first MIC product will be Knights Corner, a 50-core 22nm model that is expected to hit the market in 2012.
With traditional microprocessors, Intel has followed a tick-tock development approach that alternates between deploying new architectures and adopting finer fabrication technology. This strategy appears to be successful one. The latest tock is coming next month with Sandy Bridge, which will debut a new architecture on the 32-nano fabrication process introduced by this year's Core 2010 CPUs. However, Intel won't pursue a similar approach with its MIC chips, which the company says won't need to be updated as frequently as its desktop CPUs.
In an interview with HPCwire, Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Intel's HPC group, says he expects MIC products to be refreshed every 18-24 months. That cycle tracks more closely with the typical release schedule of new graphics architectures produced by AMD and Nvidia. According to Hazra, each new generation of MIC products could "encapsulate more significant architectural changes," as well.