Nvidia Tegra: $500-750M Into a $1B Project

Yesterday we read that Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sarcastically implied that there was no x86 CPU development going on at his company. Instead, he said that Nvidia will concentrate on making the best GPUs for computers and specialized chipsets for mobile devices.

Tegra is one such specialized product currently under development at Nvidia. Unlike the next GeForce GPU or nForce chipset, Tegra is a full system-on-a-chip made for smartphones, PMPs, MIDs, and as we’ve seen from Computex, netbooks.

According to Nvidia, it costs around $1 billion to bring a new chip to market. Comments made by Huang to the New York Times place Nvidia about $500 million to $750 million into its Tegra project.

Surprisingly, not everyone is a believer in Tegra being a key piece of Nvidia’s future.

“Every time there is a difficult quarter, someone wants to blow it up,” Huang said. “But in order to do something great in the future, you have to take risks today.”

Seeing as how Tegra isn’t fully complete yet, there hasn’t been much talk of design wins. We saw Tegra-powered netbooks at Computex, but where Tegra will really ‘wow’ us is when it packs a big punch in a smaller package. Hopefully we’ll see more soon.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • acecombat
    I'm looking forward to a Tegra powered smartphone!
  • chyll2
    It shows a lot of promise, hopefully, it can pull it off :D
  • ta152h
    They'll get stepped on by Intel.

  • themike
    Yeah, this is probably gonna be good, but Intel is not gonna let them have that market long.
  • unlicensedhitman
    chyll2It shows a lot of promise, hopefully, it can pull it off
    Intel makes crappy intergrate GPUS compared to Nividia.
  • timaahhh
    I really have a problem with Intel graphics Chipsets. the G945 chipset with Atom netbooks really kept me away from them. They ran a bit too slow for me (not to mention I would like a 14" screen instead of the random sizes they have). That aside I would hope nVidia can boost the graphics of small form factor devices. It don't need to run Crysis but it would be nice if youtube ran properly.
  • s3xs1
    When can we see and buy those smartphones?! Damn, I'm waiting from last year!
  • zodiacfml
    read it on wiki....i also want tegra on a smartphone and my car! :)
  • Andraxxus
    Let's hope they can do this right because a big punch in a small package is always good to have.
  • JeanLuc
    Nvidia is in a really tricky position at the moment both Intel and AMD are developing an all in one chip which can do both graphics and x86 which will be targeted at the mass market. Mean while that leaves Nvidia fighting for scraps in smaller markets (case in point ION), I guess Tegra is Nvidia's way of breaking out of this situation by employing a strategy of diversification.