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Intel, DreamWorks Coming To Theater Near You ... In 3D

Tick-tock set for Shrek tech as chip giant, film studio announce alliance to make DreamWorks movies on Intel infrastructure, including future hardware like the highly anticipated Larrabee graphics platform.

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"Technology plays a significant role in enabling our artists to tell great stories. By utilizing Intel's industry-leading computing products, we will create a new and innovative way for moviegoers to experience our films in 3D," said DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in a statement.

DreamWorks will be producing all of its feature films in 3D beginning in 2009 and will convert its computing infrastructure to Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel's current top-of-the-line processors and computer hardware platforms. DreamWorks, based in Glendale, Calif., will also have first dibs on future Intel technologies as they come into production, the companies said.

One such future technology is a highly anticipated multi-core graphics platform codenamed Larrabee, which Intel has road-mapped for release 2010. Larrabee is widely regarded to be the chip giant's first attempt in years at a discrete graphics alternative to Nvidia and AMD-ATI solutions. The platform, according to Intel technologists, works its 3D magic via resource-efficient ray tracing, a visual computing alternative to traditional raster-based scanline methods.

Ray tracing, which traces the path of light through pixels in an image plan to create highly realistic images, exacts a much greater computational cost than scanline rendering, an issue Intel will have to address if Larrabee is to find a place in mainstream computers.

Intel's new alliance with DreamWorks gives the chip giant a counter to main microprocessor rival Advanced Micro Devices' longstanding relationship with Lucasfilm and its Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) studios. Lucasfilm's Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco played host to Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD when the smaller chip maker launched its first quad-core processors last September.

Intel and DreamWorks' first major collaboration will be the feature film "Monsters vs. Aliens," scheduled to hit theaters March 27, 2009.

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