Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of microprocessors and also the leading supplier of integrated graphics cores, said on Tuesday that the company will not come up with a discrete graphics chip in a foreseeable future. The company, which spent years developing its code-named Larrabee graphics processor cancelled late last year, said that it would refocus its many-core initiatives onto high-performance computing (HPC) segment.
“We will not bring a discrete graphics product to market, at least in the short-term. […] We are also executing on a business opportunity derived from the Larrabee program and Intel research in many-core chips. This server product line expansion is optimized for a broader range of highly parallel workloads in segments such as high performance computing. We will also continue with ongoing Intel architecture-based graphics and HPC-related R&D and proof of concepts,” said Bill Kircos, director of product and technology media relations at Intel.
HPC is a segment that will benefit tangibly from many-core architectures. Recently IBM, one of the leading makers of super-computers, unveiled a line of servers featuring Nvidia Corp.’s Tesla many-core computing processors that are designed specifically to rival x86 offerings from Advanced Micro Devices, Intel or non-x86 processors on the high-performance computing market.
However, Intel is not standing still: the company's Xeon processors are the most popular chips for servers and HPC, two very lucrative markets. Intel vice-president Kirk Skaugen will provide an update on server product line expansion that is optimized for a broader range of highly parallel workloads next week at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2010) in Germany.
In the recent months Intel started to showcase a system running a 48-core x86 microprocessor to software developers in a bid to encourage interest towards many-core x86 central processing units (CPUs) with the help of an actual personal computer and chip. Since the cores inside the experimental processor are pretty simplistic, it is unlikely that commercial systems will utilize the CPU, however, its derivatives may indeed be parts of Intel’s roadmap.
Although Intel still has an idea to create an x86-based graphics processing unit (GPU), in the foreseeable future the company will concentrate on development of its integrated graphics processors inside CPUs.
“We are focused on processor graphics, and we believe media/HD video and mobile computing are the most important areas to focus on moving forward. Intel’s processor graphics will continue to be enhanced - with more surprises - in our 2011 Intel Core processor family, code-named Sandy Bridge,” said Mr. Kircos.