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Intel says CUDA will be nothing but a footnote in computer history

Intel and NVIDIA compete in many different ways. The most notable place we see competition between the two companies is in chipset manufacturing. Intel and NVIDIA also compete in the integrated graphics market where Intel’s integrated graphics chips lead the market.

NVIDIA started competing with Intel in the data processing arena with the CUDA programming language. Intel’s Pat Gelsinger, co-general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, told Custom PC that NVIDIA’s CUDA programming model would be nothing more than an interesting footnote in the annals of computing history.

According to Gelsinger, programmers simply don’t have enough time to learn how to program for new architectures like CUDA. Gelsinger told Custom PC, “The problem that we’ve seen over and over and over again in the computing industry is that there’s a cool new idea, and it promises a 10x or 20x performance improvements, but you’ve just got to go through this little orifice called a new programming model. Those orifices have always been insurmountable as long as the general purpose computing models evolve into the future.”

The Sony Cell architecture illustrates the point according to Gelsinger. The Cell architecture promised huge performance gains compared to normal architectures, but the architecture still isn’t supported widely by developers.

Intel’s Larrabee graphics chip will be entirely based on Intel Architecture x86 cores says Gelsinger. The reason for this is so that developers can program for the graphics processor without having to learn a new language. Larrabee will have full support for APIs like DX and OpenGL.

NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture is what makes it possible to process complex physics calculations on the GPU, enabling PhysX on the GPU rather than CPU.

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RE: pwnd
By FITCamaro on 7/2/2008 2:23:08 PM , Rating: 3
That was not my point, hence why I didn't say it would be good at gaming. It might be. It'll certainly be better than an integrated chipset. My point WAS that Larrabee will allow general purpose tasks on a GPU without developers having to learn a new language.

RE: pwnd
By omnicronx on 7/2/2008 2:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Which pretty much totally negates the purpose doesn't it?
I really do not see how you can use current x86 instruction sets to come even close to even the most basic CUDA code can do. Intel will have to add instruction sets (which they already plan to do) just to become somewhat competitive with Intel and AMD offerings.

Intel also makes it seem like all programmers out there one day will be able program for this GPU without a huge learning curve just because it uses the x86 instruction set. Well this is just not the case, there will be a huge learning curve regardless of what architecture is used, if that means a little bigger curve for something that is x fold better, than so be it. We are talking high end market here, in which there will always be a limited market and chances are the programmers that are employed to do these jobs will have extensive experience, and will know what they are doing.

This is CUDA differs from say Sony's Cell processor, its not meant to be a mainstream product, its meant for those who want to squeeze every extra bit of performance they can from the available hardware, regardless of the learning curve.

RE: pwnd
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2008 4:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest mistake AMD/ATI and NVIDIA can make is saying I do not see how Intel can use current x86 instruction sets to come even close to CUDA etc. Arrogance will be their demise and NVIDIA is full of it.

Cell was a wake up call to AMD/Intel that maybe they shouldnt go the huge monolithic way. NVIDIA just recently demonstrated huge monolithic parallelism and while the chip is a great feat the significantly smaller ATI chip is nipping at its heels and could very well topple it when the next one comes out.

ATI/AMD got the hint with cell and is going with smaller more efficient cores in parallel and most recently were starting to see this pay off.

Intel with their chip is essentially doing something similar to cell however its x86 based so developers can program for it immediately plus it wont suffer from lack of parallel execution like a CPU or cross communication. If they throw in an extensions of SSE in the form of a large number of 3d graphics enhancements with the parallel capability of the new CPU with a touch of physics they will have something good. First gen probably wont be the killer but it will scale to be a killer.

Dont forget Intel hired that ray trace guy whom I would bet is developing a game engine for the new chip. Intel can afford to give the engine away for free to get game companies on board and to sell chips.

Lastly lets throw in the word WINTEL - Windows and Intel are buddies much more thanks to the way NVIDIA tried to kick Microsoft in the Jimmies with their X-Box GPU chips. Windows DX11 might benefit Intel a lot more than NVIDIA again its what they don't see coming that they should be afraid of. Dont forget most of Vista's problems were caused by NVIDIA drivers.

An NVIDIA price war with ATI is nothing compared to what Intel can do to NVIDIA. Die shrink this!

I used to really pull for NVIDIA but their bully tactics, arrogance, and denying of DX10.1 because of TWIMTBP developers base because they still dont have it and everyone else should suffer because means they are going to get what they deserve in the end.

Watch the movie 300 and replace NVIDIA with the Spartans. They will put up a good fight but it wont last against a significantly larger army. Intel might not have Spartans on the first round of their first real attempt at graphics but eventually they will. They still have to deal with ATI in the war also.

RE: pwnd
By omnicronx on 7/2/2008 4:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
You seemed to have missed the biggest point of my post, you can't compare Cell architecture which was designed for mainstream consumer use, with a GPGPU only architecture such as CUDA. Where as CUDA will only be used in an environment in which you want to squeeze every extra bit of performance, and to tell you the truth, I really don't see programmers having a problem. And just so you know, CUDA is incredibly similar to stripped down version of C, so its not going to be light and day here either.

I also think over estimate the power of Intel. A line of GPUS will require different new Fabs, as I don't see them just taking over current CPU fabs, especially when the die sizes are totally different in the GPU world. Its not like Intel can just use all of its resources and just disregard their CPU line. Anyway you look at it, Intel is going to be playing catchup, and personally I don't think that a GPU line that scales across 3 separate platforms (GPU, Mobile GPU, GPGPU) is the answer. I would only expect AMD and NVIDIA to turn on the afterburners to distance themselves from an already distant Intel.

RE: pwnd
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2008 5:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Sure you can a it all comes down to IPC but you have to consider what kind of IPC's it will process.

Intel's wont require a new fab or anything special there is no magic in making a chip. Somehow I think Intel's engineers and better at chip fabbing than NVIDIA.

To underestimate Intel would be the kiss of death. I would believe you over estimate NVIDIA.

If AMD had any kind of after burners they would have used it on the CPU. These miracle afterburners are just imaginary thoughts. NVIDIA has no afterburners either otherwise they wouldn't be worried about ATI's R770 is it?

However Intel does have magic afterburners. Probably 32nm ones soon. Where NVIDIA doesnt own any and must settle for 55nm ones.

Even if Intel doesn't take the crown they only need to get to the mainstream level and they can kill NVIDIA with price.

RE: pwnd
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2008 5:29:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nvidia expects lower second-quarter revenue, gross margin

Even a god king can bleed.

RE: pwnd
By encia on 7/2/2008 11:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
Refer to
"Watch out, Larrabee: Radeon 4800 supports a 100% ray-traced pipeline".

The Transformers teaser trailers were raytraced on a GPU in real time.

RE: pwnd
By Mitch101 on 7/3/2008 10:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
That's something not many review sites even mentioned. When I read it I wondered why no one explored it further.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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