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Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of microprocessors that is seeking to enter the market of discrete graphics processing units, demonstrated the first wafer with its Larrabee graphics chip at Intel Developer Forum in China last week and this week the company’s chief executive officer said that the first Larrabee graphics chips would be available in early 2010 with other chips to follow.

“We have silicon, it is in debug now and we are marching towards production of that product. The silicon will get ready, or get better, over the course of the year; the software gets finished over the course of the year. I would expect volume introduction of this product to be early next year,” said Paul Otellini, president and chief executive officer of Intel Corp.

Observers noted during the demonstration of the wafer that the first Larrabee graphics chip is rather huge, about as big as Nvidia’s GT200 made using 65nm process technology, or even larger, about 600mm². According to Mr. Otellini, the size of the chip, which is produced either using 32nm or 45nm process technology, is within expectations and is rather large. However, there will be smaller devices with smaller die sizes going forward as well.

“The size of the product is within expectations. It is a multi-core device. What you saw on that wafer was the high-end version of it. There are obviously other versions of it that have far fewer cores for different price points. So, what you saw is the extreme version,” Mr. Otellini explained.

All the cores inside Larrabee are x86 compatible, which makes them larger compared to proprietary stream processors inside ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce chips.

Tags: Intel, Larrabee

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