About a year ago, we first brought you news on Intel's Larrabee multi-cored GPU chips, but some new info is hitting the intertubes and hints that the chips could have uses beyond graphics. An alternative to developing faster—but hotter—processors, Larrabee will have between 16 and 48 processor cores aboard, all compatible with the classic x86 instruction set.
This massively-parallel architecture is ideally suited to gaming systems, of course, but Intel plans on extending its usefulness into the handheld and even supercomputing domains. Larrabee's chief designer puts the new chip architecture "on the level of the 432 or the Itanium." It'll be competing against next-gen chips from Nvidia and ATI, which will have between 256 and 800 cores, so Larrabee is relying on its "high speed ring" which interconnects cores more efficiently than current designs. Should be available in late 2009 or early 2010. Interesting stuff. [NYTimes]