Thursday, April 12th 2007

More Tech Tours - Intels GPGPU approach

Chief Architect Douglas Carmean, responsible for Intels rather new Visual Computing Group (VCG), is on a tour to universities looking for new recruits supporting Intel in the upcoming GPGPU war. The article is made of several slides out of Carmeans "Future CPU Architectures - The Shift from Traditional Models" presentation with additional notes and estimations on the part of Beyond3D. Carmean pictures Intels approach on a GPGPU design, consisting of an in-order 4-thread 'throughput' core that draws a mere 6.25W and a super-wide Vec16 FPU attached to it. If you look at such a single GPGPU processor it doesn't look promising, but that quickly changes if you take the great scalability of this object into account. It is small (and therefore cheap to produce) and somewhat fast and you can attach literally thousands of them together. At this point one usually expect some kind of a drawback of this design, which I won't deny here: It seems as this core doesn't support x86 instructions at all. In the article you will find enough speculation about it so I won't spoil anything more now. Further you will see what Intel thinks of where CPUs and GPUs are heading for, which type of application processings they will be best in and so on.
It is particularly interesting to note that they place video processing firmly in the CPU camp, and yet all current premium video solutions for high-end codecs rely on GPU power to accelerate this function smoothly.
Source: Beyond3D
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