How Fast Will It Be?
Obviously it’s far too early to tell, we probably won’t see a Larrabee based card until next year. But some of the guesses and rumours we’ve seen aren’t all that inspiring. The software rendering is one concern, but another problem is if all of the CPU bits, which are great for GPGPU stuff, will make a Larrabee for traditional GPU use too large, hot, expensive, and power hungry.
A popular number floating around as to how many cores the Larrabee card will have is 32, which would make it competitive with high-end cards currently available, at least in terms of performance. And, assuming a 45nm manufacturing process, it will be large, hot, expensive, and power hungry.
300 watts has been both suggested by observers and mentioned in rumours. And though we haven’t seen them mentioned in conjunction with Larrabee, there are other rumours that PCI-E 3.0 will include support for heavier cards that are three slots wide.
Further rumours have indicated that Larrabee will have to use a 12 layer circuit board. That’s more layers than any graphics card to date, and it won’t come cheap. One should never count out Intel, but it looks like the Larrabee graphics card won’t have buyers lining up for it.
It obviously has a lot of potential as an HPC GPGPU, a market Nvidia currently enjoys with its Tesla line of products running CUDA. It’s a tiny market compared to the consumer graphics market, but Larrabee could turn into a real winner there. As a consumer graphics card, it might be more of a flamboyant gesture towards Nvidia’s core business than something Intel really hopes will dominate.