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Nvidia CEO Says No x86 Chips

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments

Nvidia has denied speculative reports that claim the company is considering entering the x86 CPU business.

CNet reports that, when Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was asked about the possibility of Nvidia coming up with its own x86 chip technology in a phone interview Thursday, the chief executive officer answered with a resolute "No."

Rumors that Nvidia had plans to enter the x86 CPU market resurfaced last week. With Nvidia not having the license to produce chipsets for the latest generation of Intel chips and Intel moving towards integrating graphics cores onto its CPUs, analysts speculated that Nvidia was likely to enter the x86 game.

''We believe Nvidia could enter the x86 CPU business,'' said analyst Doug Freedman of Broadpoint AmTech, in an EETimes story. ''Nvidia could become a supplier of x86 CPUs by necessity to preserve both GPU and chipset revenue.''

However it seems Nvidia has other plans for the time being. When asked about the company's plans for an x86 CPU, Huang squashed rumors and detailed Nvidia's plans for the future.

"Nvidia's strategy is very, very clear. I'm very straightforward about it. Right now, more than ever, we have to focus on visual and parallel computing." Huang went on to detail where his company sees its best opportunities for growth. "Our strategy is to proliferate the GPU into all kinds of platforms for growth," he said. "GPUs in servers for parallel computing, for supercomputing--and cloud computing with our GPU is a fabulous growth opportunity--and streaming video."

The CEO also referenced Tegra and the Zune HD in stating that the company is aiming at getting its GPUs into the lowest power platforms and driving mobile computing.

Read the full story on CNET.

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  • 18 Hide
    bfstev , November 9, 2009 4:43 PM
    Not surprising. Obtaining the licensing for x86 would be a nightmare especially after they spit in intel's face with their cartoons.
  • 10 Hide
    JofaMang , November 9, 2009 5:06 PM
    Another Nvidia statement completely void of gaming support. Big surprise.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    bfstev , November 9, 2009 4:43 PM
    Not surprising. Obtaining the licensing for x86 would be a nightmare especially after they spit in intel's face with their cartoons.
  • 6 Hide
    megamanx00 , November 9, 2009 4:45 PM
    Well, I think they may be looking to develop a CPU of some kind, just not an x86 chip. After all, it appears that nvidia has been hiring Transmeta engineers. The Transmeta chips were not true x86 chips, but rather use a Very Long Instruction type of microcode. While in the case of transmeta x86 instructions were translated to VLI on the chip itself, S3 used the same technology to implement 2.0 shaders on their GPUs when they got back into the GPU game.

    Anyway, we could see NVIDIA develop a MIPS or other architecture CPU to pair with their Tegra and market it at a super computer or rendering machine. With so many movie studios needing to produce full 3D CGI movies, or simply have heavy CGI effects, nvidia may be able to steel some space away from the traditional providers in this area.
  • 2 Hide
    eyemaster , November 9, 2009 4:46 PM
    Hasn't the license for x86 32bit expired? I can't remember.
  • 2 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , November 9, 2009 4:47 PM
    I see no reason why they shouldn't join in the x86 fun when they're back on track with their gpu's
  • 1 Hide
    ravewulf , November 9, 2009 4:56 PM
    Awww :( 

    If they did make one I think they could come up with something interesting
  • -6 Hide
    deathmustard , November 9, 2009 5:03 PM
    i just want my 8 core 12 threads i11 already.
  • 0 Hide
    roofus , November 9, 2009 5:04 PM
    neiroatopelccI see no reason why they shouldn't join in the x86 fun when they're back on track with their gpu's


    In a nutshell right there. Even talking about CPU while they are late to the dance with their specialty product would be ridiculous. I take no issue with Nvidia coming into the market as a CPU manufacturer but right now I think they need to tend to their bread and butter products. They are not in the lead anymore and you need to secure the crown in one area before branching out in others or you risk being associated with mediocrity. AMD/ATI is pumping out one good product after another so there wont be another 2 year stretch of re-branding to look forward to.
  • 10 Hide
    JofaMang , November 9, 2009 5:06 PM
    Another Nvidia statement completely void of gaming support. Big surprise.
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , November 9, 2009 5:11 PM
    what they should be focusing on is putting out those DX11 Fermi stuff out to the gamer community..., you know the only group that has been bankrolling their ass all these years?
  • 1 Hide
    hillarymakesmecry , November 9, 2009 5:14 PM
    I want them to produce x86 chips. I've encouraged everyone I know to only buy ATI stuff since we all learned how evil Intel is. I just bought an ATI laptop too.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2009 5:17 PM
    megamanx00 has the right idea.
    I don't think NVIDIA is going to release an x86 chip, they'll be doing something with the Transmeta tech.

    One part where he's wrong tho... The Tegra IS an ARM processor, so there is no need at all to pair it with a MIPS.

    Tegra isn't designed, and prolly never will be designed for anything other than the embedded market. The most likely solution for them to become a provider for server or desktop CPUs is via the Transmeta route.

    I'm curious about how they plan to implement it, since they lean towards many many small cores, are we going to be seeing 256 or 512 core computers from them? They would be slow and painful to operate on anything other than heavily threaded environments, but I can see some use for them in the Server world. Tho, it may cut into their CUDA marketshare if the position it for such things
  • 0 Hide
    israil , November 9, 2009 5:19 PM
    sounds like they're interested in creating gpu based chipsets to run devices other than pc's
  • 1 Hide
    Drag0nR1der , November 9, 2009 5:22 PM
    megamanx00Well, I think they may be looking to develop a CPU of some kind, just not an x86 chip. After all, it appears that nvidia has been hiring Transmeta engineers. The Transmeta chips were not true x86 chips, but rather use a Very Long Instruction type of microcode. While in the case of transmeta x86 instructions were translated to ..... yada yada


    Perhaps they are just hiring staff with processor experience to help boost development of mainstream application processing using CUDA?
  • 2 Hide
    tester24 , November 9, 2009 5:38 PM
    Surprising that we are still using x86 instruction sets. Thought we would be beyond it by now. Unfortunately with Intel holding all the aces and ownership of said instructions computing will stay with meager improvements.

    For anyone who has seen x86 code they know what I'm talking about. Too bad no one has the resources/personnel that Intel has to come up with something better.
  • 0 Hide
    bryce55 , November 9, 2009 5:57 PM
    Couldn't they just call their architecture x86^-1, its not like people dont do this with patents all the time .
  • 2 Hide
    doomtomb , November 9, 2009 6:27 PM
    NVIDIA SAVE US FROM INTEL AND MAKE SOME CHIPS
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , November 9, 2009 6:34 PM
    nVidia can use the portions of x86 that are no longer under patent, but they'd still lack MMX, 3DNow!, SSE and x86-64....which means they'd be releasing a 32bit processor, which wouldn't be a financially sound idea. You can't compete using outdated technology. Given nVidia's history of insulting their competition, I find it very unlikely that AMD will license x86-64 to nVidia. AMD only gave Intel a license due to fair competition laws. As far as nVidia using Transmeta's tech...not possible, as Intel bought the rights to ALL of Transmeta's patents when they bought out Transmeta. Having Transmeta's patents made the Core i7 processors possible. QPI used by Core i7, another form of AMD's HyperTransport, was patented by Transmeta....who also worked to help develop AMD's HyperTransport bus...

    bryce55Couldn't they just call their architecture x86^-1, its not like people dont do this with patents all the time .


    The problem with calling an instruction set "x86^-1", is the fact that they can't use anything that's still covered by a valid patent....
  • 1 Hide
    XD_dued , November 9, 2009 6:43 PM
    JofaMangAnother Nvidia statement completely void of gaming support. Big surprise.


    I think that now since AMD is ahead in games, they're trying to push themselves as a more professional company with CUDA and such.
  • 0 Hide
    miribus , November 9, 2009 6:56 PM
    XD_duedI think that now since AMD is ahead in games, they're trying to push themselves as a more professional company with CUDA and such.


    I agree, though I don't think it has anything to do with AMD being ahead, just more of the fact that they can't rely on their chipset business to be their major source of income due AMD now making their own.

    They seem to be taking a position of: rather than delving into what they don't know (x86) they're sticking with trying to find ways to use what they do know, their own GPUs as GPGPUs, or graphics technology beyond video cards and desktops, and into phones (or consoles, since they won the "next WII" contract w/ Nintnedo).

    I guess it makes sense, it could be their market specialization that keeps them alive. It's the same specialization that brought AMD ahead with the Athlon architecture because they didn't concern themselves with chipsets, or graphics.


  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 9, 2009 6:59 PM
    Usually these chinese people can lie very well!
    Same was for the PSP Go! It was not in production, but still couple of months later released.

    But I can understand him. It'd be very difficult to get a revenue from producing competitors to the Atom chip, which is the only chip they most likely can bounce up to.
    Intel and AMD are pretty strong in the higher CPU's.

    NVidia is most likely pairing with ARM type of processors.
    The extreme low power processors.
    Nvidia should learn how to get low power chips that perform as well!
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