News has just broken this evening of Intel’s decision to cancel Larrabee, or at least the first version. After numerous delays, it looks like the plug ultimately had to be pulled. Rumor is the “next” version of Larrabee may also be doomed. But although current performance of 825 GFLOPS isn’t bad, it still comes nowhere close to the 5 TFLOPS put out by the ATI Radeon HD5970. In fact, the HD5970 is about 6 times as powerful.
This definitely brings into question Intel’s ability to compete in the high performance graphics market. It will also affect the next generation of gaming consoles. Only time will tell. But right now the latest generation of ATI graphics cards remain the only DX11 capable chips.
Even if Larrabee had made it to market, there is no telling how easy it would be to fully utilize. After all, we just talked about how IBM just canceled the Cell processor less than 2 weeks ago. These types of parallel architectures have proven challenging for many years. One of the best attributes of the OpenGL and OpenCL APIs is that developers don’t have to deal with how to best utilize the massively parallel architecture, the hardware (and drivers) do that.