Intel has announced a new chip that it calls by its code name of Larabee which has been described as a new GPU. But some are now questioning if this is all that the new chip will offer. It seems that since Intel was somewhat vague as to what the new chip will be and what it will actually do, some are speculating that Larabee may be a better processor than previous models. In a recent article it states:

Many call Larrabee a GPU because that’s the market that Intel plans to first address. And in one sense, it shouldn’t be remarkable; the chip uses a bunch of cores and permits parallel processing, which isn’t new in the graphics world. It’s been clear for some time that there’s only so fast you can clock a chip and not have it burn out under the tremendous amount of heat it has to dissipate. But what is different about this chip is how it controls the processing.

That to me sounds like something capable of reconfiguring itself on the fly, like a set of building blocks that get reassembled into whatever sort of structure you need at that time.

Again, I might be barking up the wrong tree, but if you could shift around the cores, each of which understands the broadly-used x86 instruction set, you could have the general computing equivalent of a digital signal processor, with software restructuring how the chip behaves and what it appears to be. Suddenly you have a competitively scary beast – make the same basic set of chips, using IP you already have, and because it’s only the software that makes the essential difference between uses, you get huge economies of scale.

No matter what the attributes of the new cpu, one thing is for sure. This could be the biggest chip change since the Pentium Pro was first introduced.

Comments welcome.