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Plausible: Nvidia Working on x86 CPU

For the second time in less than a week, graphics chipset maker Nvidia is at the center of a rumor that could turn the tech sectors upside down.

Last week, the California-based GPU maker was rumored to be pushed out of the console graphics market by none other than Intel. This week, it seems as if the tables have turned, with Nvidia reportedly working on an x86 CPU.

According to The Inquirer, the GPU powerhouse is trying to produce an x86 chip. While the legal implications may stop anything concrete dead in its tracks, that probably wouldn't stop Nvidia from producing the hardware and worrying about a financial settlement later. When Nvidia started collaborating with Stexar back in 2006, many were predicting that some sort of CPU would be the result. It's been over two years, so the market may finally be privy to the fruit of Nvidia's labors.

"Word reached us a bit ago that Nvidia is definitely working on an x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley," says The Inquirer.

While producing an x86 CPU would certainly put a wrench in the works for Intel and AMD, the move seems to be off message for Nvidia. For the past year or so, Nvidia has been pushing its GPGPU, or General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit, concept. This rumored Nvidia CPU would completely go against that grain.

While Nvidia may not be able to snag a license from Intel, there may be another option. If Nvidia collaborated with a company that already possesses an x86 license, VIA for example, you may see an Nvidia-branded CPU yet.

  • one-shot
    I remember reading this on the Inquirer a few days ago. It may be interesting to see Intel come down on them.
    Reply
  • TheFace
    Competition is a great thing for the market. I hope it's true.
    Reply
  • gwellin
    I could be wrong but isn't x86 32-bit? I would think if you're going to invest a crapload of money into developing a new chip, shouldn't you probably do a 64-bit one? Unless you think 32-bit is going to be around forever.
    Reply
  • dragabain
    My two cents (I'm no expert and I don't work in IT) is that Nvidia is working on a hardware decoder to turn x86 commands into something its Graphics cards can handle. That way they can throw 2, 3 or 4 cards in a computer and not need a processor. Also this makes it so they don't have to ask the community to recompile their programs for their arch.
    Reply
  • saljrWhat about merging with AMD/ATI?

    Do you want a monopoly in the graphics card sector? Because if they merge, that is what you'll have. Remember in 2006 when AMD/ATI didn't have a GPU that could compete with the nVidia 8 series? $400 8800GTS 640MB graphics cards for almost a year was the result. nVidia didn't come out with a single GPU that was noticeably better than the 8800GTX for 2 years because they didn't have to.

    nVidia merging with AMD/ATI would be just as bad as AMD going under and Intel being the only CPU maker.
    Reply
  • Well, x86 now generally refers to the instruction set supported by CPUs used in PCs (and now Mac too). On the other hand, if NVIDIA is building a x86 CPU, this should be top secret, and you have to wonder how likely it is that an NVIDIA hater like Charlie at the Inquirer would have access to that. NVIDIA may be hiring engineers with CPU experience, but given AMD's layoff and mandatory pay cut for everyone, isn't that normal for any company looking to hire at this time? If you're looking for an hardware engineer with good experience, you're going to have many candidates who are current or former AMD engineers.
    Reply
  • gwolfman
    dragabainMy two cents (I'm no expert and I don't work in IT) is that Nvidia is working on a hardware decoder to turn x86 commands into something its Graphics cards can handle. That way they can throw 2, 3 or 4 cards in a computer and not need a processor. Also this makes it so they don't have to ask the community to recompile their programs for their arch.I'd guess something similar. If they can use the x86 CPU as the co-processor of some sort, then translate it into GPGPU commands, then the GPU can run any program available. Who knows...
    Reply
  • StupidRabbit
    dragabainMy two cents (I'm no expert and I don't work in IT) is that Nvidia is working on a hardware decoder to turn x86 commands into something its Graphics cards can handle. That way they can throw 2, 3 or 4 cards in a computer and not need a processor. Also this makes it so they don't have to ask the community to recompile their programs for their arch.
    now THAT would be interesting to see. even if it would require a new motherboard design.
    Reply
  • deltatux
    I smell an Apple-motivated move for NVIDIA, seeing that Apple uses NVIDIA exclusive chipset for everything they do.

    deltatux
    Reply
  • Blessedman
    Isn't this what Transmeta tried to do?
    Reply