X-bit labs: What are the markets that Intel would target on the first place in terms of revenue increase with the Larrabee products: discrete desktop, discrete mobile, professional cards?
Nick Knupffer: We will make these kinds of announcements closer to product availability – as of now – we have only disclosed some architectural details.
X-bit labs: Do you think that there is a market for discrete graphics cards in developing markets, such as Africa or India?
Nick Knupffer: Are you suggesting there aren’t gamers in those markets?
X-bit labs: There definitely are gamers, but probably not a lot of them. Those two markets are growing rapidly, but the question is whether they are significant for discrete GPUs?
Nick Knupffer: Again, this is probably a question best answered by your favourite analyst. But as new markets mature and their middle classes emerge, they start to buy the same things as people in Europe and the US. The difference being – the populations of countries such as India and China are incredibly large – so the market opportunity (or future market opportunity) is not to be sneezed at.
X-bit labs: How will you attract graphics cards makers to Larrabee products? Have you already negotiated with certain vendors?
Nick Knupffer: It is too early to talk about this.
X-bit labs: Do you think that Intel’s fundamental advantages over rivals when it comes to process technologies will help its graphics chips business?
Nick Knupffer: Well, over a year ago we launched our latest Hi-k metal gate transistor based 45nm process featuring completely reinvented transistors. The CPU’s based on this node have proved to be very fast, very cool and very popular. Smaller, cooler and faster transistors would also be useful in the graphics market. By the way – we demonstrated working chips based on our 32nm process in September of 2007.
X-bit labs: Do you think that chipsets with integrated graphics processors (and eventually central processing units with built-in graphics cores) will impact the TAM of discrete graphics cards in the future?
Nick Knupffer: Discrete cards are not going away soon – gamers will always want the most powerful cards they can afford.
X-bit labs: Unlike graphics cards, TAM of video game consoles have been showing dramatic growth levels. Do you think that video game consoles also impact the market of graphics cards or even represent a threat to gaming PCs in general?
Nick Knupffer: You better ask your analyst again!
X-bit labs: Are video game consoles a target market that Intel’s Visual Computing Group would like to address?
Nick Knupffer: The Larrabee architecture is a throughput-architecture suitable for a wide range of parallel workloads. The first products will be processors targeting discrete graphics market. You can expect that we will enter additional markets in the fullness of time.
X-bit labs: Do you think that since the most popular video game console – Nintendo Wii – has very basic graphics capabilities, this will lower demands towards high-quality graphics in PC video games and consequently will impact sales of advanced graphics cards?
Nick Knupffer: This is not new. Even in the PC space there have always been many different kinds of games. Mainstream games that can run on integrated graphics and then there is Crysis and other hard-core titles.
X-bit labs: Do you think that emergence of high-definition video standard will help the PC graphics adapter market to grow?
Nick Knupffer: Not very relevant to discrete graphics cards today. Intel’s G45 integrated graphics decodes Blu-Ray perfectly with post processing and image enhancement done on silicon. If you are talking encoding, the CPU is the best place to do that.