Intel Plans to Release Discrete Larrabee Graphics Processors in 2009 or 2010

Intel Unsure When to Release Its Standalone Larrabee Graphics Chip

by Anton Shilov
11/20/2008 | 01:43 PM

Intel Corp. on Thursday released a statement that shows confidence of the giant in its standalone graphics processing unit (GPU) Larrabee architecture, but which also demonstrates the lack of assuredness of an actual product launch date. But maybe Intel does not want to open its cards just yet?


“Aligning to Intel’s ‘Terascale’ performance vision, Intel described features and capabilities of its first-ever forthcoming ‘many-core’ blueprint or architecture codenamed ‘Larrabee’. The first product based on Larrabee targets the PC’s graphics market and is expected in 2009 or 2010,” a statement by Intel released on its web-site reads.

It is strange to note that Intel decided not to provide any concrete details about the actual launch-date of Larrabee graphics processing unit. It is unclear whether Intel Corp. is uncertain the launch date or whether Intel does not want to let anyone know about the precise time-frame of the Larrabee release.

What is known is that Intel usually demonstrates its new microprocessors about 10 to 14 months before their release to market. The code-named Larrabee GPU is projected to be made using 32nm process technology, just like Sandy Bridge central processing unit (CPU). Neither Larrabee nor Sandy Bridge products have been demonstrated so far. Meanwhile, Intel has said that its next-gen CPU will be in manufacturing in late 2009. This leads to an assumption that both products will be released commercially in 2010, not next year.

Leading developer of graphics processors – ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, and Nvidia Corp. – tend to release new GPUs in early Spring or early Fall, which means that they should have new chips ready in January or February or sometimes in June or July. Obviously, this is the best case scenario and both developers from time to time do not fit into that schedule.

Considering Intel Corp.’s promises, it would hardly be ready with Larrabee in the first half of 2009. Moreover, since it has not demonstrated and actual Larrabee product yet, it is not at least 12 months behind before its release. Hence, it is hard to expect Intel to release its GPU in 2009, but it is more likely that the new graphics chip will reach the market in early 2010.