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Intel details future 'Larrabee' graphics chip

 
 
NV55
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      08-04-2008, 10:46 PM
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10005391-64.html


Intel has disclosed details on a chip that will compete directly with
Nvidia and ATI and may take it into unchartered technological and
market-segment waters.

Larrabee will be a stand-alone chip, meaning it will be very different
than the low-end--but widely used--integrated graphics that Intel now
offers as part of the silicon that accompanies its processors. And
Larrabee will be based on the universal Intel x86 architecture.

The first Larrabee product will be "targeted at the personal computer
market," according to Intel. This means the PC gaming market--putting
Nvidia and AMD-ATI directly into Intel's sights. Nvidia and AMD-ATI
currently dominate the market for "discrete" or stand-alone graphics
processing units.

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/200...ee-2-small.jpg

Larry Seiler (standing, middle), a senior Intel engineer, and Stephen
Junkins (sitting, right), an Intel graphics software architect, speak
at a briefing on Larrabee chip, due in 2009-2010.
(Credit: Brooke Crothers)

As Intel sees it, Larrabee combines the best attributes of a central
processing unit (CPU) with a graphics processor. "The thing we need is
an architecture that combines the full programmability of the CPU with
the kinds of parallelism and other special capabilities of graphics
processors. And that architecture is Larrabee," Larry Seiler, a senior
principal engineer in Intel's Visual Computing Group, said at a
briefing on Larrabee in San Francisco last week.

"It is not a GPU as many have mistakenly described it, but it can do
most graphics functions," Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in
an article he posted Friday about Larrabee.

"It looks like a GPU and acts like a GPU but actually what it's doing
is introducing a large number of x86 cores into your PC," said Intel
spokesperson Nick Knupffer, alluding to the myriad ways Larrabee could
be used beyond just graphics processing. In addition to the PC, high-
performance computing and workstations are two potential markets that
were also mentioned.

Intel describes it in a statement as "the industry's first many-core
x86 Intel architecture." The chipmaker currently offers quad-core
processors and will offer eight-core processors based on its Nehalem
architecture, but Larrabee is expected to have dozens of cores and,
later, possibly hundreds.

The number of cores in each Larrabee chip may vary, according to
market segment. Intel showed a slide with core counts ranging from 8
to 48, claiming performance scales almost linearly as more cores are
added: that is, 16 cores will offer twice the performance of eight
cores.

The individual cores in Larrabee are derived from the Intel Pentium
processor and "then we added 64-bit instructions and multi-threading,"
Seiler said. Each core has 256 kilobytes of level-2 cache allowing the
size of the cache to scale with the total number of cores, according
to Seiler. And application programming interfaces (APIs) such as
Microsoft's DirectX and Apple's Open CL can be tapped. "Larrabee does
not require a special API. Larrabee will excel on standard graphics
APIs," he said. "So existing games will be able to run on Larrabee
products."

So, what is Larrabee's market potential? Today, the graphics chip
market is approaching 400 million units a year and has consolidated
into a handful of suppliers. "And of that population, two suppliers,
ATI and Nvidia, own 98 percent of the discrete GPU business."
according to Peddie.

"And the trend line indicates a flattening to decline in the
business...However, Intel is no light-weight start up, and to enter
the market today a company has to have a major infrastructure, deep IP
(intellectual property), and marketing prowess--Intel has all that and
more," Peddie said.


http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/200...lide-small.jpg

Larrabee combines aspects of a CPU and GPU
(Credit: Intel)

Though more details will be provided at Siggraph 2008, some key
Larrabee features:

Larrabee programming model: supports a variety of highly parallel
applications, including those that use irregular data structures. This
enables development of graphics APIs, rapid innovation of new graphics
algorithms, and true general purpose computation on the graphics
processor with established PC software development tools.

Software-based scheduling: Larrabee features task scheduling which is
performed entirely with software, rather than in fixed function logic.
Therefore rendering pipelines and other complex software systems can
adjust their resource scheduling based each workload's unique
computing demand.

Execution threads: Larrabee architecture supports four execution
threads per core with separate register sets per thread. This allows
the use of a simple efficient in-order pipeline, but retains many of
the latency-hiding benefits of more complex out-of-order pipelines
when running highly parallel applications.

Ring network: Larrabee uses a 1024 bits-wide, bi-directional ring
network (i.e., 512 bits in each direction) to allow agents to
communicate with each other in low latency manner resulting in super
fast communication between cores.

"A key characteristic of this vector processor is a property we call
being vector complete...You can run 16 pixels in parallel, 16 vertices
in parallel, or 16 more general program indications in parallel,"
Seiler said.
 
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NV55
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Miles Bader
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      08-04-2008, 11:59 PM
An interesting project, but man, now the hype machine starts up... :-(

-Miles

--
Saa, shall we dance? (from a dance-class advertisement)
 
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NV55
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      08-10-2008, 09:08 PM
A very pessimistic Larrabee article by Peter Glaskowsky....I recall
him also being negative about CELL during its development.



http://news.cnet.com/8301-13512_3-10006184-23.html


Intel's Larrabee--more and less than meets the eye
Posted by Peter Glaskowsky

Intel announced on Monday that it will be presenting a paper at
Siggraph 2008 about its "many-core" Larrabee architecture, which will
be the basis of future Intel graphics processors.

The paper itself, however, has already been published, and I was able
to get a copy of it. (Unfortunately, as you'll see at that link, the
paper is normally available only to members of the Association for
Computing Machinery.)

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/200...-1_540x406.jpg

Intel's Larrabee includes "many" cores, on-chip memory controllers, a
wide ring bus for on-chip communications, and a small amount of
graphics-specific logic.
(Credit: Intel)

The paper is a pretty thorough summary of Intel's motives for
developing Larrabee and the major features of the new architecture.
Basically, Larrabee is about using many simple x86 cores--more than
you'd see in the central processor (CPU) of the system--to implement a
graphics processor (GPU). This concept has received a lot of attention
since Intel first started talking about it last year.

The paper also answers perhaps the biggest unanswered question about
Larrabee--what are the cores, and how can Intel put "many" of them on
a chip when desktop CPUs are still moving from two to four cores?

Intel describes the Larrabee cores as "derived from the Pentium
processor," but I think perhaps this is an oversimplification. The
design shown in the paper is only vaguely Pentium-like, with one
execution unit for scalar (single-operation) instructions and one for
vector (multiple-operation) instructions.


http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/200...-2_540x357.jpg

The Larrabee core contains only two execution units: one for scalar
operations, one for vector operations.
(Credit: Intel)

That's the basic answer: Larrabee cores just have less going on. A
quad-core desktop processor might have six or more execution units,
and a lot of special logic to let it reorder instructions and execute
code past conditional branches just in case it can guess the direction
of the branch correctly. This complexity is necessary to maximize
performance in a lot of desktop software, but it's not needed for
linear, predictable code--which is what we usually find in 3D-
rendering software.

But the vector unit in Larrabee is much more powerful than anything in
older Intel processors--or even in the current Core 2 chips--because
3D rendering needs to do a lot of vector processing. The vector unit
can perform 16 single-precision floating-point operations in parallel
from a single instruction, which works out to 512 bits wide--great for
graphics, though it would be overkill for a general-purpose processor,
which is why the vector units in mainstream CPUs are 128 or 256 bits
wide at most.

The new vector unit also supports three-operand instructions, probably
including the classic "A * B + C" operation that is so common in many
applications, including graphics. With three operands and two
calculations per instruction, the peak throughput of a single Larrabee
core should be 32 operations per cycle, and that's just what the paper
claims.

I say "probably" because the Siggraph paper doesn't describe exactly
what operations will be implemented in the vector unit, but I suspect
this part of the Larrabee design is related to Intel's Advanced Vector
Extensions, announced last April. The first implementations of AVX for
desktop CPUs will apparently begin with a 256-bit design, another
indication of how unusual it is for Larrabee to have a 512-bit vector
unit.

The multithreading factor
Intel also built four-way multithreading into the Larrabee cores. Each
Larrabee core can save all the register data from four separate
threads in hardware, so that most thread-switch operations can be
performed almost instantly rather than having to save one set of
registers to main memory and load another. This approach is a
reasonable compromise for reducing thread-switching overhead, although
it probably consumes a significant amount of silicon.

Note that this kind of multithreading in Larrabee is very different
from the Hyper-Threading technology Intel uses on Pentium 4, Atom, and
future Nehalem processors. Hyper-Threading (aka simultaneous multi-
threading) allows multiple threads to execute simultaneously on a
single core, but this only makes sense when there are many execution
units in the core. Larrabee's two execution units are not enough to
share this way.

All of these differences prove rather conclusively that Larrabee's
cores are not the same as the cores in Intel's Atom processors (also
known as Silverthorne). That surprised me; the Atom core seemed fairly
appropriate for the Larrabee project. All that really should have been
necessary was to graft a wider vector unit onto the Atom design. But
now I suppose the Atom and Larrabee projects have been completely
independent from one another all along.

Intel won't say how many cores are in the first chip. The paper
describes an on-chip ring network that connects the cores. The network
is 512 bits wide. Interestingly, the paper mentions that there are two
different ring designs--one for Larrabee chips with up to 16 cores,
and one for larger chips. That suggests Intel has chips planned with
relatively small numbers of cores, possibly as few as four or eight.
Such small implementations might be appropriate for Intel's future
integrated-graphics chip sets, but as such they will be very slow by
comparison with contemporary discrete GPUs, just as Intel's current
products are.

Larrabee provides some graphics-specific logic in addition to the CPU
cores, but not much. The paper says that many tasks traditionally
performed by fixed-function circuits, such as rasterization and
blending, are performed in software on Larrabee. This is likely to be
a disadvantage for Larrabee, since a software solution will inevitably
consume more power than optimized logic--and consume computing
resources that could have been used for other purposes. I suspect this
was a time-to-market decision: tape out first, write software later.

The paper says Larrabee does provide fixed-function logic for texture
filtering because filtering requires steps that don't fit as well into
a CPU core. I presume there's other fixed-function logic in Larrabee,
but the paper doesn't say.

Larrabee's rendering code uses binning, a technique that has been used
in many software and hardware 3D solutions over the years, sometimes
under names such as "tiling" and "chunking." Binning divides the
screen into regions and identifies which polygons will appear in each
region, then renders each region separately. It's a sensible choice
for Larrabee, since each region can be assigned to a separate core.

Binning also reduces memory bandwidth, since it's easier for each core
to keep track of the lower number of polygons assigned to it. The
cores are less likely to need to go out to main memory for additional
information.

The numbers crunch
The paper gives some performance numbers, but they're hard to
interpret. For example, game benchmarks were constructed by running a
scene through a game, then taking only widely separated frames for
testing on the Intel design. In the F.E.A.R. game, for example, only
every 100th frame was used in the tests. This creates an unusually
difficult situation for Larrabee; there's likely to be much less reuse
of information from one frame to the next.

But given that limitation of the test procedure, the results don't
look very good. To render F.E.A.R. at 60 frames per second--a common
definition of good-enough gaming performance--required from 7 to 25
cores, assuming each was running at 1GHz. Although there's a range
here depending on the complexity of each frame, good gameplay requires
maintaining a high frame rate--so it's possible that F.E.A.R. would,
in practice, require at least a 16-core Larrabee processor.

And that's about the performance of a 2006-vintage Nvidia or Advanced
Micro Devices/ATI graphics chip. This year's chips are three to four
times as fast.

In other words, unless Intel is prepared to make big, hot Larrabee
chips, I don't think it's going to be competitive with today's best
graphics chips on games.

Intel can certainly do that-- no other semiconductor company on Earth
can afford to make big chips the way Intel can-- but that would ruin
Intel's gross margins, which are how Wall Street judges the company.
Also, Intel's newest processor fabs are optimized for high-performance
logic, like that used in Core 2 processors. Larrabee runs more slowly,
suggesting it could be economically manufactured on ASIC product
lines... but Intel's ASIC lines are all relatively old, refitted CPU
lines.

Nvidia, by comparison, gets around this problem by designing its chips
from the beginning to be made in modern ASIC factories, chiefly those
run by TSMC. Although these factories are a generation behind Intel's
in process technology, they're much less expensive to operate. So this
may be a situation where Intel's process edge doesn't mean as much as
it does in the CPU business.

The Larrabee programming model also supports nongraphics applications.
Since it's fundamentally just a multicore x86 processor, it can do
anything a regular CPU can do. Intel's paper even uses Sun
Microsystems' term, Throughput Computing, for multicore processing.

The Larrabee cores aren't nearly as powerful as ordinary notebook or
desktop processors for most applications. Real Larrabee chips could be
faster or slower than the 1GHz reference frequency used in the paper,
but there's definitely only one execution unit for the scalar
operations that make up the bulk of operating-system and office
software. That means a single Larrabee core would feel slow even when
compared with a Pentium III processor at the same frequency, never
mind a Core 2 Duo.

But with such a strong vector unit, a Larrabee core could be very good
at video encoding and other tasks, especially those that use floating-
point math. At 1GHz, a single Larrabee core hits a theoretical 32
GFLOPS (32 billion floating-point operations per second). A 32-core
Larrabee chip could exceed a teraflop--roughly the performance of
Nvidia's latest GPU, the GTX 280, which has 240 (very simple) cores.

But I don't expect to see that kind of performance from the first
Larrabee chips. The power consumption of a 32-core design with all the
extra overhead required by x86 processing would be very high. Even
with Intel's advantages in process technology, such a large Larrabee
chip would probably be commercially impractical. Smaller Larrabee
designs may find some niche applications, however, acting as number-
crunching coprocessors much as IBM's Cell chips do in some systems.

And although a Larrabee chip could, in principle, be exposed to
Windows or Mac OS X to act as a collection of additional CPU cores,
that wouldn't work very well in the real world and Intel has no
intention of using it that way. Instead, Larrabee will be used like a
coprocessor. In that application, Larrabee's x86 compatibility isn't
worth very much.

The bottom line
So...what's Larrabee good for, and why did Intel bother with it?

I think maybe this was a science project that got out of hand. It came
along just as AMD was buying ATI and so positioning itself as a leader
in CPU-GPU integration. Intel had (and still has) no competitive GPU
technology, but perhaps it saw Larrabee as a way to blur the line
distinguishing CPUs from GPUs, allowing Intel to leverage its
expertise in CPU design into the GPU space as well.

Intel may have paid too much attention to some of its own researchers,
who have been touting ray tracing as a potential alternative to
traditional polygon-order ray tracing. I wrote about this in some
depth back in June ("Ray tracing for PCs--a bad idea whose time has
come"). But ray tracing merits just one paragraph and one figure in
this paper, which establish merely that Larrabee is more efficient at
ray tracing than an ordinary Xeon server processor. It falls well
short of establishing that ray tracing is a viable option on Larrabee,
however.

Future members of the Larrabee family may be good GPUs, but from what
I can see in this paper, the first Larrabee products will be too slow,
too expensive, and too hot to be commercially competitive. It may be
several more years beyond the expected 2009/2010 debut of the first
Larrabee parts before we find out just how much of Intel's CPU know-
how is transferable to the GPU market.

I'll be at Siggraph again this year, and I'll have more to say after
I've read this paper through a few more times and had a chance to
speak with some of the folks I know at AMD, Nvidia, and other
companies in the graphics market.

 
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Jure Sah
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-13-2008, 02:10 AM
NV55 pravi:
> Intel has disclosed details on a chip that will compete directly with
> Nvidia and ATI and may take it into unchartered technological and
> market-segment waters.


As I recall something very similar was said about the VIA Chrome9. For
the record that chip can't even do 2D rendering decently.

> Larrabee will be a stand-alone chip, meaning it will be very different
> than the low-end--but widely used--integrated graphics that Intel now
> offers as part of the silicon that accompanies its processors. And
> Larrabee will be based on the universal Intel x86 architecture.


Very different? The motherboard based GPUs are not really as dependent
on other hardware as you make it sound, the only difference between it
and a classic GPU is that it uses the chipset to do memory access just
as much as any Intel CPU that you consider independent (a fact at the
core of it's poor performance).

> As Intel sees it, Larrabee combines the best attributes of a central
> processing unit (CPU) with a graphics processor. "The thing we need is
> an architecture that combines the full programmability of the CPU with
> the kinds of parallelism and other special capabilities of graphics
> processors. And that architecture is Larrabee," Larry Seiler, a senior
> principal engineer in Intel's Visual Computing Group, said at a
> briefing on Larrabee in San Francisco last week.


As Intel marketing sees it, you mean? "The best attributes of both" is
such a pile of crap, GPUs are made the way they are for a very good
reason: they work graphics faster that way. A text obviously written for
a community not well versed in the inner workings of a GPU.

A GPU is not simply your standard serial CPU with a few special
functions slapped on, nor is parallelism any of the particularly notable
features of it's architecture. A GPU, preprogrammed with data that could
be interpreted as an instruction set, is capable of executing the
selection of commands on a data block simultaneously -- not like a
multicore CPU which can perform two or more operations only on unrelated
bits of data, the GPU preforms all of the selected instructions on the
data block it is working with at once, in one clock. This makes it an
extremely powerful tool for performing the same specific set of
instructions on a large amount of data, a task common in graphics
manipulation. This also makes it inherently incompatible with the x86
architecture and can only be programmed in a similar manner with the use
of a complex compiler, which interprets the programmer's code and
organizes it into blocks of simultaneous operations to the best of it's
ability; this is a typically inefficient process that surely cannot be
done very well on the fly.

If Intel is not using this advantage, and they're not, their magic new
core will not have any of the advantages of the GPU.

> "It is not a GPU as many have mistakenly described it, but it can do
> most graphics functions," Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in
> an article he posted Friday about Larrabee.


Yes indeed. It turns out it's not a GPU -- It's a Pentium.

> The number of cores in each Larrabee chip may vary, according to
> market segment. Intel showed a slide with core counts ranging from 8
> to 48, claiming performance scales almost linearly as more cores are
> added: that is, 16 cores will offer twice the performance of eight
> cores.


Yes multicore computing is a buzzword these days. Seems like the old
days of the 3.8 GHz Penitum or the 2 MB of L2 cache of the Pentium 2 all
over again. So long as it's big numbers, everybody's buying it,
regardless of whether it actually helps or hurts performance.

> "And the trend line indicates a flattening to decline in the
> business...However, Intel is no light-weight start up, and to enter
> the market today a company has to have a major infrastructure, deep IP
> (intellectual property), and marketing prowess--Intel has all that and
> more," Peddie said.


And most of all Intel has crappy GPUs. There are other graphics chip
providers on the market today, but their market share isn't much for a
very simple reason: their technology sucks. As far as GPUs are
concerned, Intel is one of them.

> Larrabee programming model: supports a variety of highly parallel
> applications, including those that use irregular data structures. This
> enables development of graphics APIs, rapid innovation of new graphics
> algorithms, and true general purpose computation on the graphics
> processor with established PC software development tools.


Which in other words means, since their "GPU" is actually a simple
Pentium CPU, they're pretending to beat nVidia's advanced compiler
software with their much more trivial serial x86 compiler (see
description of GPU arch above to understand what I mean).

Frankly I can't believe they're willing to market even their sheer
laziness as a feature. But hey, it's Intel.

> Software-based scheduling: Larrabee features task scheduling which is
> performed entirely with software, rather than in fixed function logic.
> Therefore rendering pipelines and other complex software systems can
> adjust their resource scheduling based each workload's unique
> computing demand.


Oh yes, the wonders of advanced technology: SOFTWARE ACCELERATION.
According to them, their emulated hardware will outperform the real
hardware in use by nVidia and ATI. Silly how *they* never figured to do
something like that, until Intel came up with it, don't you think?

> "A key characteristic of this vector processor is a property we call
> being vector complete...You can run 16 pixels in parallel, 16 vertices
> in parallel, or 16 more general program indications in parallel,"


Oh my! 16 pixels!

Remember guys, this is 16 pixels at once trough *one* operation that may
not be such where one pixel is affected by a neighbouring pixel or you
break the pipeline. In x86. Any people who speak x86 Assembly around
here probably know just how crappy this is.


My apologies but this crap is too much fun not to maliciously comment on.


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Jure Sah
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-17-2008, 08:35 PM
Repost.

Jure Sah pravi:
> NV55 pravi:
>
>> Intel has disclosed details on a chip that will compete directly with
>> Nvidia and ATI and may take it into unchartered technological and
>> market-segment waters.
>>

>
> As I recall something very similar was said about the VIA Chrome9. For
> the record that chip can't even do 2D rendering decently.
>
>
>> Larrabee will be a stand-alone chip, meaning it will be very different
>> than the low-end--but widely used--integrated graphics that Intel now
>> offers as part of the silicon that accompanies its processors. And
>> Larrabee will be based on the universal Intel x86 architecture.
>>

>
> Very different? The motherboard based GPUs are not really as dependent
> on other hardware as you make it sound, the only difference between it
> and a classic GPU is that it uses the chipset to do memory access just
> as much as any Intel CPU that you consider independent (a fact at the
> core of it's poor performance).
>
>
>> As Intel sees it, Larrabee combines the best attributes of a central
>> processing unit (CPU) with a graphics processor. "The thing we need is
>> an architecture that combines the full programmability of the CPU with
>> the kinds of parallelism and other special capabilities of graphics
>> processors. And that architecture is Larrabee," Larry Seiler, a senior
>> principal engineer in Intel's Visual Computing Group, said at a
>> briefing on Larrabee in San Francisco last week.
>>

>
> As Intel marketing sees it, you mean? "The best attributes of both" is
> such a pile of crap, GPUs are made the way they are for a very good
> reason: they work graphics faster that way. A text obviously written for
> a community not well versed in the inner workings of a GPU.
>
> A GPU is not simply your standard serial CPU with a few special
> functions slapped on, nor is parallelism any of the particularly notable
> features of it's architecture. A GPU, preprogrammed with data that could
> be interpreted as an instruction set, is capable of executing the
> selection of commands on a data block simultaneously -- not like a
> multicore CPU which can perform two or more operations only on unrelated
> bits of data, the GPU preforms all of the selected instructions on the
> data block it is working with at once, in one clock. This makes it an
> extremely powerful tool for performing the same specific set of
> instructions on a large amount of data, a task common in graphics
> manipulation. This also makes it inherently incompatible with the x86
> architecture and can only be programmed in a similar manner with the use
> of a complex compiler, which interprets the programmer's code and
> organizes it into blocks of simultaneous operations to the best of it's
> ability; this is a typically inefficient process that surely cannot be
> done very well on the fly.
>
> If Intel is not using this advantage, and they're not, their magic new
> core will not have any of the advantages of the GPU.
>
>
>> "It is not a GPU as many have mistakenly described it, but it can do
>> most graphics functions," Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in
>> an article he posted Friday about Larrabee.
>>

>
> Yes indeed. It turns out it's not a GPU -- It's a Pentium.
>
>
>> The number of cores in each Larrabee chip may vary, according to
>> market segment. Intel showed a slide with core counts ranging from 8
>> to 48, claiming performance scales almost linearly as more cores are
>> added: that is, 16 cores will offer twice the performance of eight
>> cores.
>>

>
> Yes multicore computing is a buzzword these days. Seems like the old
> days of the 3.8 GHz Penitum or the 2 MB of L2 cache of the Pentium 2 all
> over again. So long as it's big numbers, everybody's buying it,
> regardless of whether it actually helps or hurts performance.
>
>
>> "And the trend line indicates a flattening to decline in the
>> business...However, Intel is no light-weight start up, and to enter
>> the market today a company has to have a major infrastructure, deep IP
>> (intellectual property), and marketing prowess--Intel has all that and
>> more," Peddie said.
>>

>
> And most of all Intel has crappy GPUs. There are other graphics chip
> providers on the market today, but their market share isn't much for a
> very simple reason: their technology sucks. As far as GPUs are
> concerned, Intel is one of them.
>
>
>> Larrabee programming model: supports a variety of highly parallel
>> applications, including those that use irregular data structures. This
>> enables development of graphics APIs, rapid innovation of new graphics
>> algorithms, and true general purpose computation on the graphics
>> processor with established PC software development tools.
>>

>
> Which in other words means, since their "GPU" is actually a simple
> Pentium CPU, they're pretending to beat nVidia's advanced compiler
> software with their much more trivial serial x86 compiler (see
> description of GPU arch above to understand what I mean).
>
> Frankly I can't believe they're willing to market even their sheer
> laziness as a feature. But hey, it's Intel.
>
>
>> Software-based scheduling: Larrabee features task scheduling which is
>> performed entirely with software, rather than in fixed function logic.
>> Therefore rendering pipelines and other complex software systems can
>> adjust their resource scheduling based each workload's unique
>> computing demand.
>>

>
> Oh yes, the wonders of advanced technology: SOFTWARE ACCELERATION.
> According to them, their emulated hardware will outperform the real
> hardware in use by nVidia and ATI. Silly how *they* never figured to do
> something like that, until Intel came up with it, don't you think?
>
>
>> "A key characteristic of this vector processor is a property we call
>> being vector complete...You can run 16 pixels in parallel, 16 vertices
>> in parallel, or 16 more general program indications in parallel,"
>>

>
> Oh my! 16 pixels!
>
> Remember guys, this is 16 pixels at once trough *one* operation that may
> not be such where one pixel is affected by a neighbouring pixel or you
> break the pipeline. In x86. Any people who speak x86 Assembly around
> here probably know just how crappy this is.
>
>
> My apologies but this crap is too much fun not to maliciously comment on.
>
>




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Yousuf Khan
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-18-2008, 06:30 PM
Jure Sah wrote:
> NV55 pravi:
>> "It is not a GPU as many have mistakenly described it, but it can do
>> most graphics functions," Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in
>> an article he posted Friday about Larrabee.

>
> Yes indeed. It turns out it's not a GPU -- It's a Pentium.


It's starting to look like Larrabee is going to be a transitional
technology, a throwaway quickly released-and-forgotten technology until
their real technology comes out. It may have even been a marketing ploy
to take attention away from AMD and to a lesser extent Nvidia.

For all of this hype about Larrabee, they're saying that it won't even
be a part of the forthcoming Nehelam integrated GPU. The Nehelam
integrated GPU will be based on Intel's existing crappy GPUs. (The
Nehelam integrated GPU will have a different codename, which I can't
remember right now, but it's based on Nehelam anyways.)

>> "And the trend line indicates a flattening to decline in the
>> business...However, Intel is no light-weight start up, and to enter
>> the market today a company has to have a major infrastructure, deep IP
>> (intellectual property), and marketing prowess--Intel has all that and
>> more," Peddie said.

>
> And most of all Intel has crappy GPUs. There are other graphics chip
> providers on the market today, but their market share isn't much for a
> very simple reason: their technology sucks. As far as GPUs are
> concerned, Intel is one of them.


Actually the reason other GPU makers' marketshare isn't as much as
Intel's is because Intel includes their GPUs with every chipset they
sell on a motherboard. The vast majority of the Intel processors are
paired with Intel chipsets, so the GPUs get high marketshare just
hitching along for the ride.

> Which in other words means, since their "GPU" is actually a simple
> Pentium CPU, they're pretending to beat nVidia's advanced compiler
> software with their much more trivial serial x86 compiler (see
> description of GPU arch above to understand what I mean).


There will be real x86/GPU instruction set integration with AMD, when
they get their Fusion processor running. SSE5 is being designed for
GPU-based acceleration.

> My apologies but this crap is too much fun not to maliciously comment on.


It's always fun to poke holes in marketing.

Yousuf Khan
 
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Jure Sah
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      08-22-2008, 08:08 PM
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Yousuf Khan pravi:
>> Which in other words means, since their "GPU" is actually a simple
>> Pentium CPU, they're pretending to beat nVidia's advanced compiler
>> software with their much more trivial serial x86 compiler (see
>> description of GPU arch above to understand what I mean).

>
> There will be real x86/GPU instruction set integration with AMD, when
> they get their Fusion processor running. SSE5 is being designed for
> GPU-based acceleration.


Sure, but there is a big difference between running all GPU functions
software emulated in an x86 Pentium chip and implementing a selected few
CPU functions with the GPU with an x86 frontend.

Implementing SSE-like instructions on a GPU chip (or anywhere outside a
CPU) makes sense, it also goes along with for example AMD's 3DNow!
approach, where new, faster functions are provided to existing software
by giving them an x87 frontend.

It's not like x86 is an universally superior architecture, it's good for
some things and bad for others, you have to know when to use it... but
you could also say Intel's approach of creating completely new
instruction sets every now and then is good for marketing and bad for
software.
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