NVIDIA Mulls Its Own x86 CPU

Intel and NVIDIA aren't exactly best buds right now, and this certainly isn't going to help matters any. At the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference on Tuesday NVIDIA admitted it is considering entering the general purpose microprocessor arena, where it would compete directly with Intel.

NVIDIA’s senior vice president of investor relations and communications, Michael Hara, was asked:
"Can you provide a framework for us to think about whether --- if or when NVIDIA would need to or want to get into the general purpose microprocessor business, either as a separate component or integrated with a GPU?"
His reply:
"I think some time down the road it makes sense to take the same level of integration that we’ve done with Tegra, because Tegra is by any definition a complete computer on a chip, and the requirements of that market are such that you have to be very low power, very small, but highly efficient. So in that particular state it made a lot of sense to take that approach, and someday it's going to make sense to take the same approach in the x86 market as well.

"Not for every SKU, though. I mean if 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. I think when you get into low-cost, you know, bordering on the MID or the netbook-type space, a highly integrated system-on-chip is going to make sense.

"So the question is when, not so much I think um, you know, um, if, I think the question is when.

"It's not necessary today. I think today when you look at the combination of Atom and Ion that makes a pretty damn nice computer. And we can keep shrinking that and keep making the performance even better there.

"But, you know, two or three years down the road I think it is going to make sense that you have to have an offering that is system-on-chip, and we won’t talk much more about what we think about that timeframe, but there’s no question it’s on our mind."
Pretty definitive. But besides Intel, currently only AMD and VIA have licenses to make x86 chips. Would NVIDIA consider an alliance with VIA to produce chips? It sure wouldn't be an alliance with AMD since that company has its own GPUs to worry about (ATI).

Check out the webcast here. The really interesting part starts about 28 minutes in.
Tags:  Nvidia, AMD, Intel, ATI, CPU