The people at Intel must be a bit upset by the many stories about the upcoming Intel graphics project, calling it vaporware (which, technically, it is) and making comparisons to the last outing for Intel in graphics, the indescribably bad i740.
Now more information and rumor comes from a follow up by the guys at Bright Side of News, as they continue on the story which has been a long one, after many delays over years.
After we posted now infamous story about Larrabee, something interesting happened. Instead of closing down, we received a lot of contacts from people involved in the project and actually have an even better look inside the project than before. It looks like old saying “the truth will set you free” is true after all. Following our story about EVGA and XFX, we got contacted by companies that weren’t selected and they opened up about Intel’s selection process and the situation got quite interesting.
For starters, we learned that recently, Intel’s again changed its attitude towards Larrabee. In the past, individuals inside the company were bullish and claimed that they’ll demolish AMD and nVidia. Few quarters passed and it looked to us that the company is taking a piss at their own roadmaps; delaying each and every ASIC into the future, followed by departure of people involved with the matter. But one of high qualities that Paul Otellini has is clearing up the matter at hand. After paying the price for his predecessors and cleaning up senior management, instituting his replacement [Sean Maloney i.e. “No Baloney”, as one source told us], few quarters ago Paul ordered to clean up all the projects at hand. This decision also brought up project LRB. Transistor-heavy, humongous-die, underperforming ASIC was taken apart and each and every segment was analyzed in a bid to see why the real world part didn’t deliver what simulations promised. Again, if we would count out co-funded developments such as Intel’s Itanic – Itanium architecture [since it was co-funded by HP], this is single largest project investment in Intel’s history.
A little later we find the claim that Intel still believes that the part will surprise AMD and nVidia with its initial performance. At this point, I don’t think anyone believes that Intel can’t do it, they merely question if they wish to put forth the effort. This story shows that it appears to be a point of pride, and so Intel will make the parts, no matter the cost, and no matter the time involved. The company can afford to throw around a few hundred million dollars, after all, there will be huge gains, and bragging rights, if Intel can deliver “from end to end”.
The article also says that the partners already chosen, eVGA and XFX, were made part of the project because of their scope of distribution (worldwide) and the ability to take care of customer concerns (warranty issues). Anyone who has been building computers for awhile knows that eVGA and XFX both have exemplary customer service.
During regular quarterly meetings with large OEMs, Larrabee was recently brought out and Intel’s representatives stated that the part will surprise the competition with performance. Among other things, Intel re-iterated that the part is on track for introduction in very late first half of 2010, which would pitch the part in time for 30th anniversary of Computex Taipei 2010 [June 1-5]. After checking with our own sources, we were told that these dates might work for professional parts and accelerator cards but that mainstream application compatibility is still a long way out.
If Larrabee indeed comes to market in time for commercial cycle, AMD FireStream and Tesla C2070 are easy targets; AMD’s passive attitude as far as FireStream line-up is considered is exactly the opposite of what Intel allegedly offers, while nVidia’s long-delayed Tesla C2050 won’t arrive to market before 2Q 2010 and C2070 is delayed until third quarter 2010.
If Intel does bring out Larrabee, certainly AMD and nVidia will be able to drop prices, much as AMD is doing with CPUs right now. How long they can survive in that mode will be interesting to see, and will no doubt be the subject of many debates over the next year.
|The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.|