Feeds

Nvidia taps Transmeta team for x86 chip, claims analyst

Shoring up, not quitting chipset biz

The essential guide to IT transformation

Nvidia has taken on staff from one-time star of low-power processor design Transmeta, an analyst has claimed, to drive its own x86 core development programme.

In a note sent to investment clients yesterday, Doug Freedman of research house AmTech said Nvidia has to be considering a move into the x86 CPU market "by necessity to preserve both GPU and chipset revenue".

The chip maker is currently caught up in a legal battle with Intel over the scope it has to develop chipsets for future Intel processors. Clearly, that could limit its ability to sell chipsets long term, as will AMD's increasing willingness to emphasise its own chipsets over third-party products.

If Nvidia can't sell parts to go with Intel or AMD processors, arguably it has to develop its own CPUs which it can tie its own chipsets to.

Freedman noted that around 30 per cent of Nvidia's revenue comes from chipsets, so getting out of the chipset business would simply put too much pressure on Nvidia's other products, not only GPUs but also mobile chips.

Other analysts have forecast that Nvidia will quit the chipset business.

GPU revenue is also threatened by initiatives by both AMD and Intel to incorporate GPUs into their processors, a move that also tasks Nvidia's integrated chipset business.

"We believe Nvidia could (sooner rather than later) enter the x86 CPU business," said Freedman. "Nvidia will likely target mainstream and below performance, and not leading Core i7 like levels."

Nvidia has been said to be interested in x86 development for some time. At one point, it was rumoured that Nvidia would aquire chip maker VIA, though Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang kyboshed that notion in May 2008.

So where will Nvidia's x86 core come from? Internally, said Freedman. "We believe internally developed x86 solutions are more likely than external acquisitions - ie. VIA," he said, adding: "We believe that Nvidia has hired former Transmeta staff extensively." ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins
More USB ports than your laptop? You'd better believe it...
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?