More details surface about Intel's GPU plans

— 10:00 AM on February 9, 2007

Earlier this week, rumors emerged that Intel would launch a gaming graphics processor with 16 cores in late 2008 or 2009. The Inquirer has now gotten hold of some more information about the rumored GPU. The site says the 16-core rumor is true, but that the GPU won't come out until early 2009. Interestingly, The Inq says the GPU's cores are x86-based in-order units each with a short pipeline, four threads, and an extra-wide vector unit. Thanks in part to the x86 architecture, the GPU should not only be easily usable as an extension to the microprocessor, but its 3D pipeline should be programmable, as well. The Inq says the cores are hooked up together via an extra-wide ring bus capable of pushing Terabits of bandwidth per second. This architecture may allow Intel to add and remove cores at will, so cheaper derivatives of the GPU could be made by just changing the core count from 16 to eight or four.

If this information is accurate, Intel might have its answer to AMD's integrated microprocessor and graphics processor, Fusion, which is also scheduled for 2009. The Inq suggests that Intel might ditch the discrete GPU angle once it's able to squeeze both GPU and processor into a single die.

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