Nvidia considers x86 CPUs, Ion netbooks in Q2 2009

March 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Michael Hara, vice president of investor relations at NVIDIA, announced last week that the company may develop an x86 CPU targeted at the netbooks and mobile Internet devices (MID) market.

Tegra, by any definition, is a complete computer-on-chip, and the requirements of that market are such that you have to be very low power and very small but highly efficient. Someday, it’s going to make sense to take the same approach in the x86 market as well,” Hara said.

When asked when that “someday” might be, he responded that he couldn’t discuss specifics, but a mobile x86 NVIDIA CPU may be coming in two to three years. The move would place NVIDIA in direct competition with AMD in CPU industry, as well the GPU industry. And the move would also do little to improve the already sour relations between NVIDIA and Intel, the mobile CPU industry’s top player.

In the short-term Nvidia will be concentrating on the Ion platform, which pairs a low power GeForce integrated processor with an Intel Atom processor. The Ion platform offers the ability to play high definition video and do 3D gaming on integrated graphics. A processor of its own would allow the Ion platform to go 100 percent NVIDIA. NVIDIA also is pushing Tegra, an all-in-one chip targeting smartphones and MIDs that includes an ARM processor, a GeForce graphics core, and other components on a single chip.

In other news, Fudzilla is reporting that we may start to see some Ion based netbooks from Q2 2009. It has learned that some partners do plan to use the platform although release dates are hazy with a Q2/Q3 2009 launch pencilled in.


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