Larrabee: Intel's Bad News is Good News for Nvidia and AMD

Intel's decision to indefinitely delay its Larrabee graphics processor is a setback for the Linux community, delaying improved performance for users of open source operating systems. Competitors Nvidia and AMD, however, saw their share prices rise following the news.

To the Windows and Mac world, the end of Larrabee may not matter. They have plenty of advanced graphics options. That's not true for Linux users, who rely upon Intel's integrated graphics for the vast majority of their needs.

Larrabee, which was Intel's program to compete with standalone graphics processor unit (GPU) chips from Nvidia and AMD, was expected to include Intel's usual support for open source operating systems. That would have made Larrabee the choice for desktop Linux users, especially those working against virtualized servers.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Yesterday, Intel said the project was being discontinued, having earlier indicated that Larrabee was behind schedule. My colleague, Tony Bradley, has suggested the chip was really the victim of legal issues that Intel was unable to resolve.

In late September, Intel demonstrated the processor to a mixed reception at its developer's forum.

If not as a processor, Larrabee lives on as a software development platform for use inside Intel and externally, an Intel spokesman said. Back in September, an Intel executive also indicated that Larrabee technology would find its way into an Intel CPU, which still appears likely.

On the stock markets early Monday, Reuters reported that shares of AMD rose 7.9 percent to $8.50 on the New York Stock Exchange while Nvidia rocketed nearly 14 percent to $16.25 on the NASDAQ, and Intel fell 0.5 percent to $20.35.

David Coursey has been writing about technology products and companies for more than 25 years. He tweets as @techinciter and may be contacted via his Web site.

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