Larrabee-derived MICs to adopt longer development cycle

Remember Intel’s Larrabee discrete graphics processor? It’s been shelved, at least for graphics cards, but the architecture will live on in a new class of Many Integrated Core (MIC) processors designed for the high-performance computing (HPC) market. These chips will still face off against Nvidia GPUs, but not GeForces—instead, the MIC line will target territory currently occupied by Nvidia’s Tesla products.

With traditional microprocessors, Intel has followed a tick-tock development approach that alternates between deploying new architectures and adopting finer fabrication technology. This strategy appears to be successful one. The latest tock is coming next month with Sandy Bridge, which will debut a new architecture on the 32-nano fabrication process introduced by this year’s Core 2010 CPUs. However, Intel won’t pursue a similar approach with its MIC chips, which the company says won’t need to be updated as frequently as its desktop CPUs.

In an interview with HPCwire, Rajeeb Hazra, general manager of Intel’s HPC group, says he expects MIC products to be refreshed every 18-24 months. That cycle tracks more closely with the typical release schedule of new graphics architectures produced by AMD and Nvidia. According to Hazra, each new generation of MIC products could “encapsulate more significant architectural changes,” as well.

Intel’s first MIC offering will reportedly be Knights Corner, a 50-core design expected to arrive in 2012. The chip is slated to use 22-nano fabrication technology, which is the next node on Intel’s roadmap. Thanks to X-bit labs for the tip.

Comments closed
    • moritzgedig
    • 9 years ago

    The difference is:
    Larrabee does not have to take the detour over PCIe.
    although PCIe2.0 is very fast it is still much faster to stay on intels QuickPath Interconnect, something only available to intels choosing.

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      Unless the now widely-whispered nVidia-Intel make-up session involves nVidia getting a license to QuickPath.

      Just getting a billion from Intel wouldn’t be enough for nVidia to succeed by. They’d need to get something Intel wouldn’t want to give up easily. Since nVidia doesn’t want in on the chipset game any longer, QuickPath and Lightpeak would be technologies that nVidia might use. Especially since they’re both technologies that AMD should already have access to.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    Jigar: it’ll be ages before OSes can properly put +4 cores to use 😉
    …instead, where are my 10Ghz processors Intel promised 10 years ago?!


      • Scrotos
      • 9 years ago

      Use Apple Math! Back when they said that 2 x 450 MHz G4’s were as good as a 900 MHz G4!

      6 cores at 3 GHz and we’re at 18 GHz! Twice that for hyperthreading!


      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      I think you mean applications. Most modern x64 OSes can handle dozens of cores right now. And can be tweaked in the future to handle more, although some more easily than others.

      Applications on the other hand are the issue and must be based on tasks that can actually BE split up. Some tasks or major chunks of tasks will just always be serial in nature.

      • ew
      • 9 years ago

      That link is all kinds of awesome!

        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        Seconded! The comments section is pure gold:


        • NeelyCam
        • 9 years ago

        You know, we should start our own thread, predicting what the computers (or whatever they might be called) look like in 2020. We can then later come back and laugh at our stupidity.

          • anotherengineer
          • 9 years ago

          hmmmm I am working on an old 1997 pc with win 98 and a pen2-300MHZ

          the old case still has the standard atx mobo arrangement lol

          so here we are 13-14 yrs later, and the basic case is still the same, I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same 😉

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 9 years ago

          They will look like Skynet, and nobody will be laughing.

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    I hope larrabee comes to life, this thing can be an extra processor for my OS services…

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