Intel's "Larrabee" family of multi-core chips, originally aimed at the personal-computer graphics market, may now see action in "an increasingly broad spectrum of the computing world, from Windows and Macintosh desktop personal computers to handhelds and even supercomputers," reports the New York Times.
Larrabee is slated to have between 16 and 48 processor cores aboard, all compatible with the x86 instruction set, and Larrabee's chief designer places the new chip architecture "on the level of the 432 or the Itanium," according to the report.
Larrabee will be competing against next-gen chips from Nvidia and ATI, which will have between 256 and 800 cores, so Larrabee is relying on its "high speed ring" that interconnects cores more efficiently than current offerings. The focus is on ray tracing, which if you might recall, can help add realism to games and animation products.
The Larrabee family be available in late 2009 or early 2010. If Intel's strategy succeeds, it could capture as much as a third of the graphics add-on market in 2010, which might be worth $4.6 billion.
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UPDATE 8/5/08: Fellow ZDNet blogger John Morris offers the lowdown on Larrabee.