Intel cancels first Larrabee discrete GPU

Nvidia and AMD can breathe a mutual sigh of relief: they won't have to deal with another competitor in the discrete GPU front quite yet. CNet News reports that Intel has cancelled the public launch of its first Larrabee graphics processor, opting instead to release it as a development platform. Here's the skinny from Intel, as relayed by CNet:

"Larrabee silicon and software development are behind where we hoped to be at this point in the project," Intel spokesman Nick Knupffer said Friday. "As a result, our first Larrabee product will not be launched as a standalone discrete graphics product," he said.

"Rather, it will be used as a software development platform for internal and external use," he added. Intel is not discussing what other versions may appear after the initial software development platform product, or "kit," is launched next year.

This move explains a few things: that lackluster Larrabee demo at the Intel Developer Forum in September, for instance, which showed a mostly static ray-traced scene rendered in real-time but no real games. Hurdles with Larrabee could also explain the surprise departure of former Intel Senior VP and Digital Enterprise Group Co-General Manager Pat Gelsinger, who left days before IDF. Reports around the web have suggested that Gelsinger took the fall for Larrabee's setbacks because the project was his "baby."

In mid-May, Intel was promising to have Larrabee out in early 2010—a slight slip from the previous 2009-2010 time frame. Now, CNet News says the company is only committing to a "next year" launch window for the software development platform.

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