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Nvidia Reveals x86 CPU Plans


Nvidia Reveals x86 CPU Plans

Rumours have circulated for ages that Nvidia might make an x86 CPU to compete with offerings from the likes of AMD and Intel and it looks like they might prove true. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference, Nvidia's senior vice president of investor relations and communications, Michael Hara, divulged that the company will likely look to enter the x86 CPU business in the next couple of years.

Asked whether Nvidia would look to compete in the general microprocessor market, Hara replied: "the question is not so much, I think, if; I think the question is when." Hara clarified that Nvidia would be unlikely to take on ts rivals' mainstream products, commenting: "If you look at the high-end of the PC market I think it's going to stay fairly discrete, because that seems to be the best of all worlds." Instead, Nvidia would focus on system-on-chip (SoC) solutions as "a highly integrated system-on-chip is going to make sense."

There isn't a firm timescale on such a development, though Hara suggested that "two or three years down the road I think it's going to make sense" but adding: "we won't talk much more about what we think about that timeframe, but there's no question it's on our minds."

Such speculation is all well and good; Nvidia already has SoC solutions using ARM CPUs, and it seems likely that tweaking those designs to accommodate an x86 processor wouldn't be particularly complicated. However it does gloss over the slight issue that Nvidia doesn't own an x86 license, which it needs if it wants to sell a CPU.

Whether Intel would let Nvidia built an x86 processor or not remains to be seen. Still, it's an interesting proposal, if nothing else.


Nvidia at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference.

Via bit-tech.


March 4, 2009, 6:39 pm

Verrry interesting!

? CPU /GPU combo future?

I wonder what Intel are thinking now after the recent spitting contest over the ion platform etc....


March 5, 2009, 8:00 pm

Now this could be interesting timing, doesn't the patent for the 486 processor expire soon. And then maybe Nvidia could spice up the 486 architecture to link in with the GPU for number crunching. IOW: Having a base 486 and then extending it with there own enhancements that could easily be driver implemented. I know you can still put XP on a 486, goes a bit slow, but a supercharged 486 with GPU acceleration could bring it back up to speed. Basically if you can create a CPU with enough instructions to get the OS booting & running, everything else is a bonus. And all the new instructions that will expire as years go on could then be retro fitted to newer versions of Nvidia CPU.


March 15, 2009, 5:58 pm

@Chocoa "CPU /GPU combo future?"

Intel : Someone mention Larabee?

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