Larrabee: first public demonstration

Intel has given the first ever public demonstration of its long-awaited Larrabee graphics system.

Larrabee: first public demonstration

Very few technical details were revealed, but IDF attendees were treated to a brief demonstration showing a high-resolution scene featuring live ray-traced moving reflections in an undulating pool of water.

“I’m super-excited with our progress,” declared Bill Mark, Intel’s senior research scientist.

“This is running on early silicon, but we’ve got ray-tracing running in real time. It allows you to simulate the interaction of light and matter in a way that’s really accurate, and makes it very easy to get effects like shadow and reflection.”

No technical details

It was, however, noticeable that the scene had very few moving elements, and appeared to be running at a comparatively low frame rate – perhaps around 15fps, despite running on an as-yet unreleased six-core 32nm CPU.

And Mark did not discuss performance, preferring to emphasise the versatility and ease of programmability offered by Larrabee.

“Larrabee gives you a fully programmable rendering pipeline. So you can use DirectX, or OpenGL – or your own pipeline.”

“These reflections here are just ten lines of code,” he stated. “To do something like this on a conventional GPU would be really quite painful.”

Software development kits for Larrabee are available now, but Intel has given no word on when actual hardware will ship, or even what form the internal hardware will take. When asked for technical details, executive vice president Sean Maloney would confirm only that “we showed you what we showed you.”

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