As we know, the discrete GPU industry has long been dominated by Nvidia and ATI/AMD. Speculation of CPU giants Intel getting in on the act has existed as far back as we can remember. These rumours came to be true as Intel announced their own discrete GPU project – Larrabee. Since then, information about Larrabee has been sparse with little performance details available. First set to hit stores in 2008, Larrabee was delayed to 2009, then 2010, with some rumours even suggesting 2011.

As of today, Intel Larrabee as we know it will not be hitting stores at all. Instead, it will be used as a “software development platform” for Intel and selected partners.

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As we know, the discrete GPU industry has long been dominated by Nvidia and ATI/AMD. Speculation of CPU giants Intel getting in on the act has existed as far back as we can remember. These rumours came to be true as Intel announced their own discrete GPU project – Larrabee. Since then, information about Larrabee has been sparse with little performance details available. First set to hit stores in 2008, Larrabee was delayed to 2009, then 2010, with some rumours even suggesting 2011.

As of today, Intel Larrabee as we know it will not be hitting stores at all. Instead, it will be used as a “software development platform” for Intel and selected partners.

Clearly, developing a discrete GPU from ground up and expecting it to be competitive against ATI or Nvidia who have been churning out several generations of products every year, was a monumental task. Even for giants Intel. The Larrabee was rumoured to be a 1 TeraFlop part – performance on par with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 285. Unfortunately, AMD’s Radeon HD 5870 approaches nearly 3 TFlops and is already available (well, not exactly, but it is released and if you are lucky, you can pick one up). Further delays and it may well have been up against AMD’s next generation.

It is not clear as to why exactly Intel have canceled Larrabee – but performance against today’s competition must have been a major factor. Other reasons speculated are fabrication/yield issues and driver development problems.

But, Larrabee is not dead. Development on Larrabee will continue, and when it is a competitive product, it will hit stores. This could be 2011, 2012, later, or never. This generation of Larrabee, dubbed “Larrabee Prime” by Anandtech, however, will not see consumer release.

AMD and Nvidia can breathe a collective sigh of relief, but one might suggest they were never really worried, inspite of Intel’s R&D might.

Reference: Anandtech