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Intel Capital, a venture capital arm of Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of x86 microprocessors, has reportedly invested millions of dollars into a company that is developing a technology that is expected to enable “seamless” multi-GPU arrays which will deliver great performance scalability without the need of special driver tailoring.

Startup company Lucid Information Technology has raised a $12 million round of funding from Intel Capital, Giza Venture Capital and Genesis Partners, a report from EETimes web-site claims. The company raised $4.5 million in its first round in 2005, having started up in August 2003 with $500 thousand from Maayan Ventures.

Intel Corp., which is already the largest supplier of graphics components with its chipsets that contain graphics cores, has been rumoured to re-enter the market of discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) for several quarters now and as market leaders ATI (now a division of Intel’s arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices) and Nvidia actively promote multi-GPU technologies, it is crucial for Intel to have one in its possession too.

Herzlyia, Israel-based Lucid Information Technology aims to develop high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) and parallel architecture that turns off-the-shelve graphic cards, graphic processor units (GPU) and graphics cores into powerful and scalable visualization solutions, transparently to the applications. While the exact details of the technology are unclear, it is known that Tensilica Inc. has provided Lucid a license to use its Diamond Standard 212GP general-purpose processor core for a scalable multi-GPU chip design project.

Modern multi graphics processor (multi-GPU) solutions, such as ATI CrossFire or Nvidia SLI rely on in-house developed hardware and software technologies to make graphics processors work in parallel. Even though both technologies have been around for quite some time now, their scalability sometimes deserve to be better, whereas scalability of Nvidia’s 4-way SLI (quad SLI) turned out to be rather disappointing. Lucid Information Technology is going to change that and two and four graphics chips to deliver 200% and 400% performance improvements over single-processor designs.

Lucid is looking at the personal computer (PC) market as the primary target for its technology and claims that it would be seamless to applications and graphics hardware vendors. The technology, however, would still include both hardware and software components.

Both ATI/AMD and Nvidia yet have to comment whether it is possible to improve performance of their products using third-party hardware and software.

Discussion

Comments currently: 4
Discussion started: 01/03/07 10:10:16 AM
Latest comment: 01/07/07 05:06:39 AM
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So, AMD buys ATI to become a "platform" company, with solutions from corporate workstations without fancy graphics and high-horsepower processors, to "enthusiast" platforms such as Quad FX. That Quad FX is a dud is not relevant to this post...

Nvidia was rumored sometime back that they were considering a run at the processor biz to complement their core logic and portfolio of excellent graphics options....I sense a "platform" company in the making.

Intel perhaps has made the only logical choice - to have as complete an offering as possible, they need discete GPU's.

Frankly, I'm surprised it work out this way, not that everything above is a done deal. Could it be possible we will have 3 "platform" companies competing for our $$? It would seem that way.

Anyone with a different take?
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/07 10:10:17 AM]
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It would seem so, if this is what Intel plans to do with this enterprise. But whether nVidia does plan to do something like compete with Intel and AMD on the CPU side, it would require a massive undertaking on their part. They're really the only company that has two out of three platform components, and with AMD probably no longer wanting their SLI, either they would have to give it to stick with Intel (and all it's repercussions) or go at it alone. Those would be the only ways SLI would survive. That's not to say single-card solutions wouldn't be cross-platform capable...but it would be something, wouldn't it? The nVidia platform vs the ATI platform vs the Intel platform. Technology would advance very quickly in this one-upsmanship industry. And unless you go dual vid card, I still think you could mix and match for the best performance. Some consumer choices are given up for others.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/07 05:02:49 PM]
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Well then Intel has already won - which was/is/will be inevitable. Amd are the also ran company that no matter how many descent upstarts they buy will never be anything due to simple volume and capital efficiency (although buying out ATI is their only chance to still have a worthy name in 5yrs, assuming they dont kill ATI like NextGen).

Nvidia is a me too company that has made itself known by BEING SECOND BEST at everything it does - gfx quality sub par on ALL generations from the nv3 through the current g80, and the less said about their buggy and incomplete chipsets that cost users data and have compatibibility issues with pci bus's and memory the better (plus their incredibally skewed power requirements that are always almsot double any competitors - (yes even ati's gpu's). Had they not managed to undercut 3DFX and buy them out before they were sued into oblivian for infringing on Glide patents then they would be another PowerVR, 2nd best is always 2nd best.

Intel are the makers of / the designers of / and the only winners in this situation - they OWN x86 despite amd being granted a corss license for the 386 / 486 designs so they could copy them to stay in business after their need was suplanted (intels volume meeting and exceeding demand), and adding 64-bit memory addressing to their cpu's is no claim to fame either as intel / dec / ibm have had that for years anyway.

When EPIC comes of age intel are the only choice - AMD wont be able to claim any court fees or conspiricy crap from that because they couldnt get to use it for free - and they cant buy another company that could actually make it for them (NextGen / ATI / etc...etc...) as they will have to license it or design something outside intels x86 (the other reason for buying ATI who can do it for them).

I hope Intel and Matrox (the originals) get into bed together and wipe the rest of the has beens out to give us what we really need in pc's - not what we are taught to want via bad marketing (nv - 3d girls....please mummy - amd me !).....
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 01/03/07 05:38:44 PM]
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