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Nvidia CEO says 'no' to x86 CPU biz

'Very, very clear' focus on GPUs

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Nvidia is not going to get into the x86 chip business, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has stressed.

Claims that the company will offer its own PC CPU are off the mark, Huang said.

“Nvidia's strategy is very, very clear," he said in an interview with Cnet. "I'm very straightforward about it. Right now, more than ever, we have to focus on visual and parallel computing.

That means graphics and running complex scientific and engineering code on graphics chips.

"Our strategy is to proliferate the GPU into all kinds of platforms for growth," he added. "GPUs in servers for parallel computing, for supercomputing. And cloud computing with our GPU is a fabulous growth opportunity – and streaming video.”

Claims that Nvidia will sell x86 CPUs come largely from market watcher Doug Freedman of AmTech. Last week, Freedman said Nvidia has to be considering such a move "by necessity to preserve both GPU and chipset revenue".

Intel is developing a standalone GPU, 'Larrabee'. It's also building graphics cores into CPUs, reducing system logic chipsets to mere I/O handles and thus leaving little room for Nvidia's integrated chipsets. AMD is planning to do the same thing. As this approach matures, it will reduce demand for high-end chipsets too, further eroding Nvidia's ability to compete effectively in the chipset market.

It's only options, then: get out of the business altogether, or start offering CPU+GPU chips of its own. Freedman favours the latter approach, but others have suggested the former.

Huang's comments suggest the second party may be correct. Nvidia has been understandably cautious about letting slip that the chipset business may not be one it sees itself participating in the long term, but this is the closest it has come.

"Getting our GPUs into the lowest power platforms we can imagine and driving mobile computing with it" is also a goal, Huang said - one that ties into that 'GPU first and foremost' strategy. ®

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