Intel has just released a new blog, discussing their upcoming Knight’s Corner processor. Instead of talking about GPGPU, Intel prefers to call it a Many Integrated Core architecture (MIC). The idea is very similar to GPGPU however: pack a large set of small cores together in a massively parallel architecture.
It would seem that most people mistakenly thought that Intel had abandoned their attempts at parallel architectures altogether, after Larrabee. This is not what Intel said though. They mainly said that they didn’t think the current version of Larrabee would be competitive enough, so they decided not to mass-produce it as a consumer product. Instead they would concentrate on HPC only, for now, and leave the consumer market for the next generation of the technology.
Knight’s corner will have 50 cores (instead of the 80 cores for the earlier TeraScale), each with x86-like SIMD units (MMX/SSE/AVX). This will probably translate to 50*8 = 400 stream processors compared to other GPGPUs (each AVX register being able to hold 8 single-precision floats). So far, there is only talk of HPC, so it does not appear that this product will be a full videocard, but merely a computational device, comparable to nVidia’s Tesla or AMD’s FireStream product lines. It will be interesting to see how Intel’s architecture will compete against ‘conventional GPGPUs’ in this market.
And hopefully there WILL be a real GPU based on this technology, assuming Intel’s MIC is any good. The more, the merrier. It’s been a long time since more than two GPU manufacturers have competed against eachother. Having a third competitor in the mix could prove to be very interesting indeed.