Intel Larrabee roadmap -- who says there ain't no Santa Cores?

More news is leaking out about Larrabee, Intel's many-core x86 project. According to what Google translates as Hiroshige's Goto Weekly from Japan, there'll be 24 and 32 core variants out in 2009 and a 48 core chip in 2010.

More news is leaking out about Larrabee, Intel's many-core x86 project. According to what Google translates as Hiroshige's Goto Weekly from Japan, there'll be 24 and 32 core variants out in 2009 and a 48 core chip in 2010. The 24 core variant may even be the 32 core version in disguise, as a way to ship useful parts when one or more cores don't work.

Picking my way carefully through the Googleised Japanese, it appears that the first product Larrabee may appear in is a PCI Express 2 accelerator card - mostly for graphics, but with plenty of other options for tasks that like lots of high speed floating point. That's where most of the x86 instruction set enhancements will come too, together with specialised parallel control instructions. That makes for interesting comparisons with IBM's Cell, which has a conventional Power PC core doing control and housekeeping and entirely incompatible processor units managing the heavy lifting.

Oh, and please not to be confusing the Larrabee with the Polaris, Intel's other public many-core chip. Polaris is not x86, it's not going to be a product, it's a testbed and, aside from having lots of cores (80, as opposed to Larrabee's 24-48) there's not much similarity. Polaris uses a cross-switch matrix for core interconnection, Larrabee a 256-byte-per-cycle ring; Polaris has stacked memory, Larrabee multiple on-chip DRAM controllers (as far as I can tell)...