Intel Larrabee’s x86 Compatibility Is Drawback – Chief Scientist of Nvidia

Nvidia Slams Intel Larrabee Again

by Anton Shilov
04/13/2009 | 02:33 PM

Despite the fact that Intel Corp.’s code-named Larrabee discrete graphics processing unit (GPU) largely remains a mystery, Nvidia Corp. constantly criticizes Intel’s technology and predicts the lack of its business success. According to Nvidia, x86 instruction set compatibility will hardly help Larrabee to provide benefits and will also not allow Intel to create a truly high-performance graphics chip.


“Intel’s chip is lugging along this x86 instruction set, and there is a tax you have to pay for that. I think their argument is mostly a marketing thing,” said William Dally, chief scientist at Nvidia, in an interview with the New York Times news-paper.

Intel claims that compatibility with x86 instructions will help Larrabee to better suit for the so-called general purpose processing on graphics processing units (GPGPU), including calculations of physics effects, artificial intelligence and so on. However, since x86 processing cores are larger in terms of physical dimension compared to proprietary cores inside ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce GPUs, the number of such cores will be lower, hence, total horsepower of Larrabee may be lower compared to traditional GPUs that will compete with them.

It is interesting to note that ATI, graphics products group of Advanced Micro Devices (which primary business is creation of microprocessors) also does not see many benefits of x86 for graphics. According to the company, at this time it makes sense to continue using proprietary cores incompatible with x86 commands.

Intel did not react on the comments issued by Nvidia.