NVIDIA’s aspirations to enter the general purpose processor market may never have been clearly spelled out by the company before, but it was getting more and more obvious as each week passed by. Now, it’s pretty much official: NVIDIA says it’s not a question of “if”, but “when”.
During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Michael Hara, the company’s senior vice president of investor relations and communications, made it pretty clear that within two to three years, NVIDIA will enter the general purpose processor market. When asked if NVIDIA was was going to enter that market, he responded:
The question is not so much I think if; I think the question is when. I think some time down the road it makes sense to take the same level of integration that we’ve done with Tegra. 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.
Before everybody gets their knickers in twists, NVIDIA is not going to show up in your general purpose desktop any time soon. Hara explained that it would most likely be a system-on-chip design for MIDs and netbooks. He spelled out a time frame of two to three years.
The big problem is that NVIDIA doesn’t have the license to produce x86 chips. There were some rumours a year ago about NVIDIA buying VIA’s chip division, but those rumours never came to fruition.