Nvidia Making x86 CPU With Ex-Transmeta Brains?

We've been hearing rumors of Nvidia's interest in entering the x86 CPU since last year, and now the rumblings are back.

With Nvidia not having the license to produce chipsets for the latest generation of Intel chips, the graphics company may have a further reason to make its own. Intel is also moving towards integrating graphics cores onto its CPUs, providing another threat to Nvidia's graphics business. Putting both of those things together, analysts believe that could be enough for Nvidia to get into 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.''

For a while, there was speculation that Nvidia would acquire or invest heavily into VIA Technologies for the company's CPU properties, but now Broadpoint AmTech believes it'll be an in-house job.

''We believe internally developed x86 solutions are more likely than external acquisitions (i.e. Via Technologies),'' Freedman said.

What could make things even more interesting is the analyst's belief that Nvidia has picked up talent from Transmeta: ''We believe that Nvidia has hired former Transmeta staff extensively, and that instruction code "morphing" requirements have declined as more x86 instructions have come off of patent coverage,'' he said.

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.
  • Greg_77
    More competition would be nice :)
  • eyemaster
    I wonder if their next crop of GPU's will be able to emulate an x86 chip... if so, how fast would it run?
  • Regected
    We keep hearing about x86 CPUs coming from Nvidia, but nothing more of it. Consumers on the whole are losing as long as we are bound to this architecture/instruction set. Once Intel loses it's grip on our computer progress, we can see greater leaps and bounds in computers.
  • roofus
    I like Nvidia boards but man they can get hot if you don't take precautions. I think a Nvidia CPU would require a double check on your house insurance for fire damage. Not trying to be a rain cloud but they need to worry about getting the 300 series out and leave CPU's to the experts.
  • Manos
    Greg_77More competition would be nice
    Yeah so its all good. I actually hope they do so but they better not start creating incompatibility issues, if they do so, with later on drivers with other companes "non intentionally" if you get my drift ...
  • nforce4max
    I hope they do make a GOOD cpu that is at least on par with AMD on fpu on a per clock bases with good I/O then they would be great for business and gaming use. Please hoping for a multi socket desktop.
  • eyemasterI wonder if their next crop of GPU's will be able to emulate an x86 chip... if so, how fast would it run?http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265251-28-emulate-cores

    I posted a topic about that idea and everyone seemed to dismiss the idea. I still think it would be good on certain applications depending if the whole program could be decoded and executed. Much faster than only looking at 100-200 instructions of a 10,000 instruction program. Many more things could/should be programmed into a parallel mode of computation.
  • demonnn
    more competition is what we need , and more options when buying cpu. I would love nVidia to enter cpu market.
  • dark_lord69
    Imaging you could have PC that is almost all nVidia!
  • rjkucia
    But wouldn't they still need an x86 license from Intel? Once again, Intel has the upper hand here.