Update: Intel's Larrabee chip a Pentium

Intel's future Larrabee graphics chip will use many tiny processing cores based on the venerable Pentium chip.

Update at 9:00 a.m. PDT July 9 adding new information that links Larrabee cores to Pentium technology

The "rumor" is true: Intel's future Larrabee graphics chip does use processing cores based on the company's venerable Pentium chip.

Intel currently offers a dual-core Pentium processor; Intel will use a core based on older Pentium technology in Larrabee.
Intel currently offers a dual-core Pentium processor; Intel will use a core based on older Pentium technology in Larrabee. Intel

Larrabee, due in 2009-2010, is a high-end graphics chip with many processing cores targeting market segments that Nvidia and AMD-ATI now dominate.

Here's the starting point for the Larrabee-is-a-Pentium theme. The Web site Custom PC cited an article from German-language Heise, in which Custom PC says--via a link to a Babel Fish translation of the Heise article--Intel Senior Vice President Pat Gelsinger discusses Larrabee and Pentium.

Though Intel is refusing to confirm the report, the Heise article is true, according to a source who has accurate data about Larrabee.

The cores in Larrabee will have a "basic commonality" with the P54C Pentium, the source said. The P54C was introduced back in 1994.

The technology Web site, ARS Technica, is also saying that Larrabee is based on the P54C Pentium core.

How many of these small cores (which Intel calls mini-cores) will Larrabee have? Heise says that Larrabee will have 32 processing cores.

Intel has been casting doubt on the reports in an attempt, apparently, to keep the information under wraps. Intel said this Tuesday: The Heise "story does not say that Pat (Gelsinger) confirmed anything. Neither number of cores, not the type of cores. The Babel Fish translation is misleading."

Intel is expected to provide further details on Larrabee at upcoming conferences including Siggraph next month in Los Angeles.

Larrabee has been ridiculed by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang as nothing more than a "PowerPoint slide" since few tangible particulars have yet to emerge about the processor though Intel mentions the future chip often.

Slashdot link here: Larrabee Based On a Bundle of Old Pentium Chips.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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