Intel's Larrabee might come to be after all

Intel’s cancelled Larrabee is set to get a new lease of life in the world of supercomputers.

For those who came in late, Larrabee was Intel’s project to develop a graphics chip to work alongside a conventional computer processor.

It was officially canned ages ago, but it seems that the design is not quite dead.

According to the Australian, Intel has been watching Nvidia and AMD use GPUs in the supercomputer market and has been thinking “I will have some of that!”.

To do that, Intel needs to bring out a chip that can speed up performance and compete with GPUs will be crucial to defending a market.

Now it seems that the new chips will be based on Larrabee and a prior research effort called the “single-chip cloud computer.”

The initial chips, code-named “Knight’s Corner” will offer more than 50 processor cores. It depends on a manufacturing process that won’t be ready until the second half of 2011 so we are unlikely to see it until 2012.

This is a long wait, but some software writers might think it is worth it. Intel’s chips will be based on technology it popularised in PCs and standard servers.

If they use graphics chips from Nvidia or AMD that have more cores they will have to redesign software applications that will be expensive and time consuming.