Intel ‘s Larrabee GPU Piles on the Cores

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Ailing graphics giant ATI may not be giving Nvidia much competition in the GPU market these days, but another big chip maker is stepping up to the plate in a bid for gamer dollars. Intel, which already produces modest integrated graphics chips for many budget machines, announced Monday that a multi-core graphics chip is on the way, and it’s quite different from anything the industry has ever seen.

The Larrabee processor will borrow the same multiple-core approach that Intel has used in its CPUs for years, but take it to a new extreme with a least ten cores packed onto a single chip. The end result, they say, will be a gaming experience unrivalled by anything on the market today.

Although the advantages of this approach have been known for some time, the complications of programming for multiple cores have held many chipmakers at bay. Intel hopes that its significant investment in transitioning to a multi-core architecture and the consulting it has done with major game companies will help ease potential woes.

Despite some details of the chipset trickling out today, Larrabee remains, for the time being, on the horizon. Intel doesn’t expect consumer-level products based on it to be available until 2009 or 2010.