A working prototype of Intel Larrabee sold for over € 4,600

A working prototype of Intel Larrabee sold for over € 4,600

A working prototype of Intel Larrabee sold for over € 4

Collectors of rare PC hardware have just lost the chance to own a little piece of history: the only working Larabee card in the world. It was sold on eBay France for only € 4,650 in an elegant case. Apparently fully functional, as a screenshot shows the BIOS booting, the Larrabee GPU is marked as an Intel engineering sample for internal use only.

Photo Credit: leodanmarjod Recall that Larrabee was Intel's attempt in 2008 to build a GPU, or rather a GPGPU, separately from the project that led to Iris Pro. Rather than following in the footsteps of NVIDIA and ATI, Larrabee used the X86 instruction set with special extensions, and the GPU acted more like a hybrid between a CPU and GPU. It also did much of its work in software rather than using specialized graphics hardware, using a tile-based rendering approach. The idea was to create a card that could accelerate workloads other than just video games and achieve visual effects that GPUs could not currently handle, such as real-time ray tracing and erratic shadow mapping.

Larrabee's processor was derived from the Pentium designs, putting 32 (or 24 in a scaled down version to use defective chips) in-order cores, each with four-way multithreading, on a single chip. Each core had a 512-bit vector processing unit and used a 1,024-bit (512-bit bidirectional) bus to communicate with memory. It was speculated that 25 cores were enough to run Gears of War, an Xbox 360 game, without anti-aliasing.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_hardware_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_hardware_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_hardware_d_mh2"); } Photo Credit: leodanmarjod Photo Credit: leodanmarjod The use of Larrabee could be quite generic that, theoretically, the GPU could run its own operating system. However, its graphics performance was poor compared to competing products, and the project was shelved in 2009. Its GPGPU approach, however, is reminiscent of today's popular technologies such as NVIDIA CUDA, which opens up the power of parallel GPU processing. to other applications.

Larrabee technology passed to Intel's supercomputing division, which eventually built a distributed high-performance computing accelerator board as Knights Corner and Xeon Phi co-processors, in 2012. They are been used until 2019 in supercomputers, including Cori at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center and China's Tianhe-2, which topped the list of the world's fastest supercomputers from June 2013 to November 2015.

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