Nvidia slams “laughable” Intel as it talks up future of GPUs

Nvidia has reaffirmed its belief that the GPU, rather than the CPU, holds the future for multi-threaded applications – and has taken a sideswipe at the “laughable” Intel in the process.

Nvidia slams

With Intel announcing its massively multi-core Larrabee GPU, the graphics company has gone on the offensive. Nvidia’s vision of the future indicates a move towards using graphics cards in conjunction with traditional processors, specialising in multi-threaded applications as well as more obvious uses, such as rendering and gaming.

Nvidia demonstrated the potential power of its discrete GPUs when compared to dual- and quad-core processors, emphasising the massive difference in parallel processing power between the two devices.

The two and four cores of the latest CPUs can’t compete with the 128 stream processors on its 9800 GTX cards when it comes to multi-threaded applications, according to Nvidia.

Nvidia’s method for making the most of its graphics processors is CUDA – a general purpose programming language, launched in February 2007, that specifically allows for multi-threaded programming over the many processing cores offered by modern GPUs.

With Intel’s M-Plus, CUDA’s nearest rival, more than 18 months away, Nvidia reacted cagily when invited to name companies already using its platform. It could cite only Adobe’s Acrobat Reader and Elemental’s video transcoding software, RapiHD.

The video transcoding performance is nevertheless impressive – a two-hour HD movie is transcoded using an 8800 GTS in just over 20 minutes, according to Nvidia’s figures, and a 720p animation clip took mere seconds to transcode.

Laughable Larrabee

Nvidia’s attempt to cast doubt over Intel’s processor performance could be seen as verbal retaliation for the chip giant’s move into the discrete graphics market, which has clearly riled Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. He once again referred to the Larrabee GPU as “Laughabee” and dismissing Intel’s integrated graphics as “a joke”.

Intel is “a company that has no clue about making GPUs, as it’s shown in the past,” according to Adam Foat, Nvidia’s technical sales manager. And he was dismissive of suggestions that Intel could tread on Nvidia’s toes in the graphics card market. “[Intel] can’t write a graphics driver to save its life,” he claimed, urging journalists to “wait and see” what Intel brought to the market.

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