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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 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.