Intel has ceded victory to AMD and Nvidia on the discrete graphics processor battleground. After nearly three years of planning, Intel officially dashed our hopes of a Larabee video card in a post on its technology blog. Larrabee was the codename for a discrete GPU Intel had been developing since 2007. At Taiwan's Computex Expo last year, it was reported that the Larrabee would be at least as powerful as Nvidia's GTX 285 GPU. It didn't seem like a real graphical powerhouse, but it would have been a decent contender for Intel, which hasn't offered a discrete GPU in years. The official cancellation of Larrabee comes as no surprise, considering the chip's rocky history. It was originally planned for release in 2008, but it was repeatedly delayed. In December of last year, Intel outright canceled the initial hardware release of Larabee, relegating it to a vague software platform. Today's announcement was the final nail in Larabee's coffin, killing the project and making it explicitly clear that Intel has no plans to develop a discrete graphics processor for release in the near future.
Intel plans to continue development on its HD Graphics platform and produce faster and more advanced integrated GPUs. However, whether that development will include a focus in gaming power remains to be seen. Perhaps a future HD Graphics GPU will take concepts from the fallen Larrabee project and offer DirectX 11 compatibility and performance comparable to the recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M. Perhaps GMA will stay a capable but unimpressive graphics engine. Either way, Intel has to figure out what to do after it's done burying Larrabee.