While Intel's Larrabee might not be a household name for consumers just yet, it's certainly at the table where Nvidia and AMD/ATI eat. The many-core (8 to 48, at least, according to that Intel graphic) x86 chip runs all your existing apps while tossing in support for OpenGL and DirectX thus eliminating the need for a discrete graphics chip. At least that's the plan. While the exact number of cores remains a secret as does the performance of each core compared to current GPUs, given the importance Intel places on Larrabee, it's reasonable to assume that an 8-core chip will launch in 2009 or 2010 with comparable performance to GPUs on the market at that time. Intel does say that Larrabee cores will scale "almost linearly" (read: within 10%) in games; that means that a 16-core chip will offer nearly twice the performance of an 8-core chip, 32-cores twice that of 16, and so on. Apparently this has already been proven in-house with Intel name-dropping Larrabee-coded titles such as Gears of War, FEAR, and Half-Life 2, Episode 2. It's no coincidence then to hear that Intel's first Larrabee product will target PC gamers. Click through if you're just dying to read about Larrabee's 1024 bits-wide bi-directional ring network and other bits of technical wonderment sure to create at least the hint of a silicon malaise.

[Via CNET and Washington Post, Thanks Dan R.]