An interesting article posted over at c’t magazine is the first to verify with Intel a more concrete release time frame for the company’s upcoming Larrabee CPU/GPU hybrid.  Intel’s Joseph Shultz indicated that the first Larrabee product release would hit in the first half of 2010, finally squelching the discussion of a late 2009 introduction for the technology.

Shultz’s reasoning for the time frame shift was that Intel didn’t know exactly how many iterations and steppings of the chip and design would be necessary to reach a stable product that met all of Intel’s goals for performance and power consumption.

The short interview also indicated that Larrabee will be released as a family of products, not just a single high-end offering.  This means we could see a range of quantities of x86 cores in the design from 8 to as high as 32 cores.  (Note: we first showed an image of a Larrabee die with some detail earlier this week!)

Somewhat forebodingly, Shultz did apparently make a comment that Intel is taking more time in order to compete with competitors NVIDIA and AMD in terms of energy efficiency; AMD’s Radeon HD 4800-series of parts was specifically mentioned.  One of the key issues many developers and press have questioned Intel on is its ability to squeeze as much x86 horsepower onto a reasonably-sized die area and get the performance they need without blowing current power consumption standards out of the water.