Larrabee in PS4

By: David Kanter (dkanter.delete@this.realworldtech.com), February 5, 2009 11:56 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
According to our friend Charlie:
http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/851/1050851/intel-design-playstation-gpu

This is a huge win for Intel, as a whole and the LRB team specifically.

It's Intel's first real crack at breaking into a competitive console market. Sure, they had the CPU in the xbox, but that was a last minute effort by MS - so it's natural they turned to Intel as a partner. That's a bit different than the competitive bidding process that Sony, MS and Nintendo go through today.

The console market is pretty important overall to Intel. In 2007, Intel sold around 220M CPUs. In that same year, there were roughly 17M consoles sold, with 34M high performance CPUs and GPUs. It's not a huge market opportunity by volume, but an extra 10% is still interesting...especially since it's a sales win that will last for probably 3-4 years.

Just as importantly, every inroad that Intel can make into consoles is one less win for their principal manufacturing competitor (IBM). Sure, taking a socket from NVIDIA doesnt't reduce IBM's silicon foot print, but it does create opportunities further down the road.

It obviously has a more direct impact on NVIDIA and ATI, who were probably the main competitors for the PS4 GPU.

From the LRB perspective, this has huge advantages. First of all, they've managed to guarantee that even if LRB doesn't sell a single GPU add-in card, it will still ship ~4M units/year. That's huge because then Intel can justify using more advanced process technology, and dedicated circuit design efforts.

To draw a comparison to Itanium is instructive at this point. Itanium never got the same amount of effort as real high volume products, and it won't even be remotely close to process parity till Poulson (assuming no delays). Why? Because at the end of the day, selling a million Itanium's only requires about 10K wafers, which is less than a month worth of production...probably more like a week.

Now, if you're talking about 4M units/year, that's a full month of wafer starts right there, plus any incremental GPU opportunities. So one way that LRB will differ from IPF is that the volume will be a lot higher, justifying more design effort and investment.


From a marketing and software standpoint, it's also essential as Charlie pointed out. Intel wants to differentiate LRB by providing a more robust API that enables unique visual effects, and by running standard DX11, OpenGL 3, etc.

If Intel wanted traction for native larrabee, they were looking at basically paying people to build game engines for it. That's expensive, and as Itanium demonstrated - you can't pay people enough to use something they don't really want. Itanium had a lot of traction initially with EDA tools, and it all disappeared in favor of x86-64. So you can't just pay people to port software and expect it to 'stick'.

What you need to do is provide long lasting incentive for software folks to use your platform. Guaranteeing an available market of 3-5M console users is a damn good first step.

Now that's no guarantee that game vendors will use special features for LRB. There's still a least common denominator pull on SW companies, because they want to maximize their addressable market. But that will likely be offset by some incentives from both Sony and Intel.

David
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Larrabee in PS4David Kanter2009/02/05 11:56 AM
  Sony are denying itPaul2009/02/05 11:58 AM
    Sony are denying itGroo2009/02/05 02:47 PM
      Sony are denying itVincent Diepeveen2009/02/05 09:39 PM
      Viva la TechnoratiRichard Krehbiel2009/02/06 05:25 AM
        Viva la TechnoratiGroo2009/02/06 07:19 AM
  Larrabee in PS4anon2009/02/05 12:53 PM
  Larrabee in PS4Anonib2009/02/05 07:16 PM
    Larrabee in PS4RagingDragon2009/02/05 11:42 PM
      Larrabee in PS4mpx2009/02/06 12:16 AM
        Larrabee in PS4Anonymous2009/02/06 07:40 PM
          Larrabee in PS4Jukka Larja2009/02/07 05:16 AM
            Larrabee in PS4Anonymous2009/02/07 12:14 PM
              Larrabee in PS4Jukka Larja2009/02/07 10:42 PM
    Larrabee in PS4Groo2009/02/06 07:28 AM
      Larrabee in PS4anonib2009/02/06 09:28 AM
        Larrabee in PS4mpx2009/02/06 12:50 PM
      Larrabee in PS4Nicholas Blachford2009/02/08 04:35 AM
      Larrabee in PS4anon22009/02/08 10:28 AM
        Larrabee in PS4mpx2009/02/08 11:12 AM
        Larrabee in PS4Vincent Diepeveen2009/02/08 11:31 AM
        Larrabee in PS4Groo2009/02/08 01:37 PM
          Larrabee in PS4Linus Torvalds2009/02/08 01:50 PM
            Larrabee in PS4Groo2009/02/08 05:13 PM
              Larrabee in PS4hobold2009/02/09 04:41 AM
                Larrabee in PS4Michael S2009/02/09 06:47 AM
                  Larrabee in PS4hobold2009/02/09 07:25 AM
                  Larrabee in PS4sJ2009/02/10 02:08 AM
                    Larrabee in PS4Michael S2009/02/10 03:32 AM
                      Larrabee in PS4sJ2009/02/10 10:28 PM
                        Larrabee in PS4Goffredo Marocchi2009/02/10 11:32 PM
                          Larrabee in PS4Michael S2009/02/11 12:26 AM
                            Larrabee in PS4sJ2009/02/11 09:58 AM
                              Larrabee in PS4Michael S2009/02/11 10:49 AM
                                Larrabee in PS4sJ2009/02/11 10:50 PM
                                  Larrabee in PS4Michael S2009/02/12 12:13 AM
                            Larrabee in PS4sJ2009/02/11 10:58 PM
                    Larrabee in PS4hobold2009/02/11 05:07 AM
              Larrabee in PS4anon22009/02/09 09:10 AM
                Larrabee in PS4Ungo2009/02/09 01:02 PM
                  Larrabee in PS4anon22009/02/09 01:58 PM
                Larrabee in PS4Nicholas Blachford2009/02/09 03:56 PM
                  Larrabee in PS4Greg Pfister2009/02/09 08:35 PM
                  Larrabee in PS4anonib2009/02/10 09:06 AM
                    Larrabee in PS4anonib2009/02/10 09:09 AM
                  Larrabee in PS4Linus Torvalds2009/02/10 01:10 PM
                    Larrabee in PS4Linus Torvalds2009/02/10 07:12 PM
                      cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/11 01:29 AM
                        cc, shortcomings of PIOanon2009/02/11 09:52 AM
                          cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/11 10:40 AM
                            cc, shortcomings of PIOHoward Chu2009/02/11 12:49 PM
                              cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/11 03:16 PM
                                cc, shortcomings of PIOanon2009/02/11 04:08 PM
                                  cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/11 04:15 PM
                            cc, shortcomings of PIORicardo B2009/02/11 02:12 PM
                              cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/12 01:59 AM
                            cc, shortcomings of PIOanon2009/02/11 03:36 PM
                              cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/11 04:11 PM
                                cc, shortcomings of PIOanon2009/02/11 06:13 PM
                        cc, shortcomings of PIORicardo B2009/02/11 02:08 PM
                          cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/12 01:25 AM
                            cc, shortcomings of PIOJS2009/02/12 06:09 AM
                              cc, shortcomings of PIOMichael S2009/02/12 08:16 AM
                      Larrabee in PS4Ian Ameline2009/02/11 09:18 AM
                    Larrabee in PS4Greg Pfister2009/02/10 08:26 PM
                    Larrabee in PS4Nicholas Blachford2009/02/22 02:11 PM
    Larrabee in PS4TruePath2009/02/17 10:44 AM
  Larrabee In PS4? So What’s the Future of IBM’s Cell?Blut2009/02/10 02:27 AM
    Larrabee In PS4? So What’s the Future of IBM’s Cell?Eric Bron2009/02/11 08:40 AM
      Larrabee In PS4? So What’s the Future of IBM’s Cell?Greg Pfister2009/02/11 02:19 PM
        Larrabee In PS4? So What’s the Future of IBM’s Cell?Eric Bron2009/02/11 10:49 PM
   PS4 Secretsedepot2009/02/15 06:07 PM
     PS4 Secretsanon2009/02/15 07:00 PM
      Electroshock Therapyslacker2009/02/16 02:56 AM
      10GbE priceanon22009/02/16 05:21 PM
        10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTDoug Siebert2009/02/16 10:44 PM
          10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTanon2009/02/16 11:57 PM
          10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTanonx2009/02/17 02:39 AM
          10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTMichael S2009/02/17 07:56 AM
            10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTanon2009/02/17 11:46 AM
              10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTRicardo B2009/02/18 03:07 PM
                10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTDoug Siebert2009/02/18 09:38 PM
                  10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTRicardo B2009/02/19 08:33 AM
                    10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTAnonymous Sysadmin2009/02/19 09:46 AM
            CX4 - technically good, but a bad callDavid Kanter2009/02/18 12:20 AM
              CX4 - already popularmpx2009/02/18 06:12 AM
              CX4 - technically good, but a bad callanon2009/02/18 06:29 AM
                CX4 - technically good, but a bad callDoug Siebert2009/02/18 09:58 PM
          10GbE price will go down with 10GbaseTWes Felter2009/02/17 12:41 PM
  Larrabee in PS4Anonymous Donkey2009/02/18 10:43 PM
    Larrabee in PS4anon2009/02/19 07:34 AM
      Opteron happenedslacker2009/02/19 09:13 AM
        Opteron happenedDavid Kanter2009/02/19 01:14 PM
          Opteron happeneda reader2009/02/19 01:26 PM
            NewisysDavid Kanter2009/02/19 01:31 PM
            Nope, SPARC SunFires (6800 series) (NT)slacker2009/02/20 07:35 AM
          Opteron happenedslacker2009/02/20 08:10 AM
            Opteron happenedDavid Kanter2009/02/20 09:55 AM
              Opteron happenedslacker2009/02/20 02:23 PM
                Opteron happenedsomeone2009/02/20 04:36 PM
                  Opteron happenedNobody2009/02/20 07:12 PM
                    Opteron happenedsomeone2009/02/20 10:14 PM
                      Opteron happenedEduardoS2009/02/21 06:25 AM
                        Opteron happenedLinus Torvalds2009/02/21 07:10 AM
                          Opteron happenedTerry A. Gray2009/02/21 01:48 PM
                          Opteron happenedJouni Osmala2009/02/21 09:55 PM
                        Opteron happenedsomeone2009/02/21 07:47 AM
                  Opteron happenedanonymous2009/02/20 09:19 PM
                Opteron happenedNobody2009/02/20 07:10 PM
                  Intel, AMD, IBM design teamsDavid Kanter2009/02/21 02:11 AM
                    Intel, AMD, IBM design teamsJoe Chang2009/02/21 01:20 PM
                    Intel, AMD, IBM design teamsanon2009/02/22 03:16 AM
                      Intel, AMD, IBM design teamsDavid Kanter2009/02/22 03:56 AM
              Opteron happenedanonymous2009/02/21 09:50 AM
        Opteron happenedAnonymous Donkey2009/02/20 01:02 AM
          Opteron happenedslacker2009/02/20 07:29 AM
    Fister the Itanium enemyAM2009/02/19 07:55 AM
      Fister the Itanium enemyPaul2009/02/19 03:58 PM
        Fister the Itanium enemyJoe Chang2009/02/19 06:01 PM
      Fister the Itanium enemyAnonymous Donkey2009/02/20 01:18 AM
        Fister the Itanium enemyJoe Chang2009/02/20 12:09 PM
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