Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Nvidia: Expect x86 Processor in 2-3 Years

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 36 comments

The rift between Intel and Nvidia is about to get much, much bigger.

For years, many have speculated that Nvidia would eventually release its own x86-based processor. While rumors can come and go, one is hard pressed to ignore Nvidia CPU talk when it's coming from an executive inside the Santa Clara, CA company.

While taking questions at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco yesterday, Nvidia's Michael Hara (Senior VP of investor relations) said an Nvidia-branded x86 CPU is a certainly within the next several years. “The question is not so much I think if; I think the question is when," said Hara. “I think some time down the road it makes sense to take the same level of integration that we’ve done with Tegra."

Nvidia's ARM-based Tegra CPU combines all computing functions (general purpose, video, etc.) onto one piece of silicon, and is expected to make a splash in the smartphone market, and may even find its way into other mobile devices. "Tegra is by any definition a complete computer on a chip, and the requirements of that market are such that you have to be very low power, very small, but highly efficient," said Hara. "So in that particular state it made a lot of sense to take that approach, and someday it’s going to make sense to take the same approach in the x86 market as well.”

While seeing an Nvidia x86 CPU would certainly shake up the marketplace, Hara says it wouldn't necessarily be for high demand machines. Instead, he believes that keeping high performance computing discrete will allow for the best performance. He proposes an Nvidia x86 chip for low power computing, like netbooks and MIDs. Sure, an Nvidia "Extreme Edition" CPU would be killer, but an offering from Nvidia in the mobile computing market would still give Intel and the Atom processor a run for their money.

With Nvidia and Intel already butting heads on discrete graphics, embedded graphics, chipsets and licensing, adding CPU design and manufacturing to the list just fuels what seems like an eternal technology rivalry.

Display 36 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    roofus , March 4, 2009 6:15 PM
    Let me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol
Other Comments
  • 34 Hide
    roofus , March 4, 2009 6:15 PM
    Let me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol
  • 1 Hide
    jsloan , March 4, 2009 6:17 PM
    nice... this will squeeze amd/via :-(
  • 0 Hide
    A Stoner , March 4, 2009 6:20 PM
    Too bad nVidia is small potatoes compared to Intel. Just like AMD is more or less. It gives them a tough job of getting enough research and development money and expertise to actually do the design of highly competitive parts. Intel has, up until this point, stayed out of the powerful graphics market, allowsing nVidia, and AMD's recently acquired GPU maker ATI to have the full lions share of discrete GPU market. With Larabee coming to market soon, nVidia see's Intel entering the high end discrete GPU market and in order to preserve it's market cap, will want to venture into new technology. Intel has pretty much reached market cap limits for chipsets and CPUs and is now moving into new technology for them, GPU's while seeming to back away from NAND FLASH for some reason.
  • 6 Hide
    A Stoner , March 4, 2009 6:20 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol

    I like that...
  • 6 Hide
    Tindytim , March 4, 2009 6:28 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol

    This cracked me up so much. I fell out of my chair.
  • 5 Hide
    curnel_D , March 4, 2009 6:45 PM
    zahanffxiNforce chipests, GPU Technology, now X86 CPU's....... Yeah I'm on board for the next generation of greatness. Just as intel sells CPU's and boards with there own chipsets I see Nvidia doing the same thing ONLY better. AMD I hate to say is on life support so now is the time for Nvidia to step up and lead. Imagine a full gaming system nvidia CPU, GPU, Nforce Mobo, only thing missing is Nvidia memory. "The Award for most Kick Butt gaming system goes to Nvidia" lol.

    AMD has an increadibly strong server market and well performing grahpics market to keep it afloat until they can finish the catch-up. They have the Phenom II which is keeping up with intels latest, which is a testiment of how well they're doing in such hard times.

    Nvidia will never lead the performance pack in x86, and it has a little to do with experience. The best they could possibly do would be to purchase via for their x86 liciense, and then apply their graphics and effeciency knowledge to the nano. But without that, every competitor they'll be up against has 20+ years of experience in the x86 market over them. Lol, and the "next generation of greatness" wont be with Nvidia.
  • 7 Hide
    The Schnoz , March 4, 2009 6:45 PM
    zahanffxiNforce chipests, GPU Technology, now X86 CPU's....... Yeah I'm on board for the next generation of greatness. Just as intel sells CPU's and boards with there own chipsets I see Nvidia doing the same thing ONLY better. AMD I hate to say is on life support so now is the time for Nvidia to step up and lead. Imagine a full gaming system nvidia CPU, GPU, Nforce Mobo, only thing missing is Nvidia memory. "The Award for most Kick Butt gaming system goes to Nvidia" lol.

    Fucking fan boys....
  • -1 Hide
    erikstarcher , March 4, 2009 7:00 PM
    With Intel suing Nvidia over chipset licenses I doubt that would they would be able to make x86 cpu with out a license. The only reason AMD can produce x86 chips is from an agreement from way back, and I don't think Intel has to license x86 to anyone. But that could have anti-trust issues attached.
  • 1 Hide
    hchawk19 , March 4, 2009 7:20 PM
    AMD can produce x86 chips because of an arbitration case where as a remedy for Intel's breach of a contract, the arbitrator granted AMD a perpetual, royalty-free license to x86 patents, as well as any technology patents belonging to Intel obtained through reverse engineering.

    Anyone else making x86 technology must license it from Intel. Intel does not have to license to Nvidia if it does not want to do so.
  • -2 Hide
    vaskodogama , March 4, 2009 7:22 PM
    nVidia's chip designs are great, they do more process with lower clocks, so in netbook market, and mobile device market, nVidia's x86's could be great, and will be great, not a fanboy, this is technology, and economics and competition! they know they have to release a great product to be compete-able with other products in the market! wait and see!
    [ remember, more product's competition, better prices and performance, better for us ]
  • 3 Hide
    pug_s , March 4, 2009 7:22 PM
    erikstarcherWith Intel suing Nvidia over chipset licenses I doubt that would they would be able to make x86 cpu with out a license. The only reason AMD can produce x86 chips is from an agreement from way back, and I don't think Intel has to license x86 to anyone. But that could have anti-trust issues attached.


    Nvidia can probably make x86 processors without violating Intel's x86 license because the patents on the 486 processor will expire this year. Intel Atom processors' design are very simple, very much like a pentium or a 486 processor, which is why Nvidia can make their own x86 processors based on the 486 processors without violating Intel's IP. They could've made a processor that integrate an x86 processor and the ION platform in one die and sell it for cheap.
  • 0 Hide
    Blessedman , March 4, 2009 7:25 PM
    Nvidia buying Via is on the edge of possibility. I am not sure that Nvidia has the capital to actually out right buy Via though. Would be their best bet though to enter into the cpu market.
  • 2 Hide
    scarpa , March 4, 2009 7:42 PM
    Nvidia should enter the CPU market because the CPU market is going to increase substantially in the future when many things like cars,TV's,robots etc are going to have a small CPU in them.

    I hope they'll enter the high end segment also because more competition is needed there.

  • 1 Hide
    blackwidow_rsa , March 4, 2009 8:15 PM
    via should merge with nvidia. they could use a proper chipset maker and the capital to invest into new cpus and hopefully will allow the transfer of the x86 license
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , March 4, 2009 8:22 PM
    The license for the 486 runs up soon, so x86 shouldn't be hard. But SSE, SSE2, and all the way up are probably still out of Nvidia's reach, and that could hurt.
  • -2 Hide
    dconnors , March 4, 2009 8:31 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol


    After reading Angelini's article...this made me lol a little. :-D
  • -2 Hide
    1raflo , March 4, 2009 8:50 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol


    LOL!!!! thumbs up!
  • -2 Hide
    Animebando , March 4, 2009 9:33 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol


    Awesome... just awesome.
  • -2 Hide
    grieve , March 4, 2009 9:44 PM
    roofusLet me guess..Will it be yet another way to recycle the G92? lol

    LOL!
Display more comments