An Intel discrete GPU - What the?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by WindowsGeek, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. WindowsGeek

    WindowsGeek

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    Aww, you guys kept my account, even after I ran away. So sweet :)

    Anyways, so I was at FreeGeek today (our local electronics recycler and loot shop) donating my old stash of CRTs and hardware when I noticed their receptions desk had a peculiar object in an antistatic bag. This device was a PCI-E board that looked strikingly similar to this here Fermi-based GPU just without an IO backplate. The second DVI port was replaced with an HDMI port. The fan was also larger, blue, and carried an Intel logo. The shielding surrounding the heatsink and fan was also blue, and the aluminum sheet-style heatpipe cooler was visible instead of the Fermi's cover. I also remember seeing "prototype" written somewhere as well...

    The last few hours of my life since my return has been dedicated to an obsessive bout of trying to figure out what the <expletive> I saw. I haven't really found any evidence that this device even existed. The guy behind the counter couldn't even tell me anything about it, and unfortunately at the time, I didn't even think about bringing it home. Do any of you know anything about this? Is Intel really building discrete GPUs? Have I stumbled upon a gem and should I move heaven and earth to go back and get it? I don't necessarily want to start rumors or be the "guy who sees ghosts" but I really am curious.
     
    WindowsGeek, Jan 6, 2013
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  2. WindowsGeek

    Kougar Moderator

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    It's possible it was some sort of early Larrabee prototype, but that ship sailed years ago. Intel eventually realized their multi-core general-purpose compute card wasn't good for graphics and abandoned that idea. Today it's been reworked and was recently launched as the Xeon Phi family of general compute cards. But none of them do graphics output or would have display ports on them.. ;)

    If it was a Larrabee test unit a lot of people would have fun playing around with the ~50 something x86-capable "cores" it had on it. The card would probably be useless unless they could write their own code and drivers to get it running though, as far as I know anyway.
     
    Kougar, Jan 6, 2013
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  3. WindowsGeek

    WindowsGeek

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    Alright, well if that ship sailed back in 2010, why is it that in 2013 this thing surfaces? I've emailed the outfit in hopes that I'd be able to go get this board and mess with it. I live only about 10-15 minutes away from Intel's Ronler Acres R&D/Manufacturing facility, which would explain why this thing is here.

    "As of June 2009, prototypes of Larrabee have been claimed to be on par with the NVidia Geforce GTX 285" -Wikipedia
    To be honest, I'm surprised Intel got their GPUs to this level of performance when their "HD" graphics can't even barely open some games...
     
    WindowsGeek, Jan 6, 2013
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  4. WindowsGeek

    Kougar Moderator

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    As you said, it's a prototype. With Larrabee having been converted into the Knights Corner project, I'm sure they wouldn't have wanted Larrabee prototypes getting out regardless. Intel doesn't like to let those go until they're quite obsolete. You can google up articles from when Intel canceled the graphics project at the end of 2009.

    There were some considerable claims made about its performance, but nothing was truly verified as the project was killed before parts ever saw the light of day. Larrabee's underpinning design was going to be used to create the graphics side of Sandy Bridge CPUs, but when the Sandy Bridge engineers saw the performance figures from their early CPU designs the plan was scrapped entirely. This was the point Intel realized Larrabee's performance wasn't up to expectations and killed the GPGPU card project. So don't believe any performance claims you read about, there were claims but none of it was proven and the subpar performance was actually the reason behind its own demise. I can't remember which site had the full details, but that's the synopsis.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6017/intel-announces-xeon-phi-family-of-coprocessors-mic-goes-retail
     
    Kougar, Jan 7, 2013
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