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Intel's Larrabee scrapped as consumer product, relegated to testing platform

by Sylvie Barak on 5 December 2009, 02:03

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

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Larrabee less Holy Grail, more consumer fail

In an admission which hardly surprised the industry, Intel has said it will not be launching Larrabee as a standalone discrete graphics product and will, instead, be palming it off to developers and academics as a software development platform.

The chip giant admitted to being "behind where we had hoped to be at this point in the [Larrabee] project," both in terms of silicon and software development.

Intel has already spent years of research time and, most likely, a significant amount of money developing the rather complex Larrabee architecture, which was supposed to provide a new approach to graphics and high-performance computing.

NVIDIA's CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, has long called Intel's Larrabee threat nothing but a PowerPoint menace, and it would appear he's correct, although Intel would beg to differ, claiming the project is not really dead, just mostly dead. Monty Python's dead parrot sketch, anyone? Just resting, is it?

Intel now reckons it can use what's left of the Larrabee project for throughput-computing applications, which it demonstrated at the recent SC09 event.

The chipmaker says Larrabee's prospects in the HPC space seem "extremely promising" and the firm has plans for a throughput-computing development platform based on Larrabee, too.