Print 14 comment(s) - last by misuspita.. on Jun 19 at 6:31 PM

Announcement places NVIDIA in direct competition with ARM Holdings, Imagination Technologies

Move over Imagination Technologies Group Plc (LON:IMGand ARM Holdings Plc (LON:ARM), there's a new GPU core dealer in town -- NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA).  In a major announcement on Tuesday NVIDIA announced that it would license its GPU technology to rival mobile chipmakers.

The company writes in a blog:

We’ll start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, the world’s most advanced, most efficient GPU. Its DX11, OpenGL 4.3, and GPGPU capabilities, along with vastly superior performance and efficiency, create a new class of licensable GPU cores. Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we’ve gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes.  As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers.

As NVIDIA points out, this isn't its first foray into licensing.  The PlayStation 3 from Sony Corp. (TYO:6758used a licensed derivative of NVIDIA's G70 GPU.  And Intel Corp. (INTC) pays $250M USD a year in patent licensing for NVIDIA's visual technology patent portfolio, according to the blog.  NVIDIA holds 5,500 patents on graphics technology, the most in the industry, it claims

NVIDIA is already working to incorporate Kepler into "Logan" (the codename for Tegra 5).  Now its rivals like Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) and MediaTek Inc. (TPE:2454) have the opportunity to integrate Kepler into their system on a chip (SoC) products as well, for a fee.  Even more wild possibilities could even pop up; imagine an Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) ARM processor or an Intel x86 Atom processor with NVIDIA GPU cores.

Kepler may be headed to Tegra's SOC rivals via a licensing bid. [Image Source: NVIDIA]

The company enthuses, "[M]ore devices will have the potential to take advantage of our investments.  That means more of the planet’s users will be able to enjoy our advanced graphics technologies.   And that’s what really gets us excited here at NVIDIA."

Given that NVIDIA licenses ARM's Cortex-Ax CPU core designs for use in Tegra chips, one might think this could create tensions between ARM (who also licenses GPU cores) and NVIDIA.  But that risks remains minimal, given that ARM is in a similar situation with AMD and other CPU IP core licensees.

Source: NVIDIA

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

This could get interesting...
By retrospooty on 6/19/2013 11:03:31 AM , Rating: 2
If Nvidia can delevier that is. They are often "hit and miss".

RE: This could get interesting...
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 11:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
NVIDIA has been trying to survive for a long time. They don't have a foothold in anything besides graphics. They used to have motherboards but intel and amd ruined that. They've been trying to do get into many other markets and even went as far as calling themselves a "software company".

Now they're leveraging gpu tech and moving it to mobile hoping to get more royalties from that sector. They'll be exclusive in tegra as a demo product. If that succeeds then you can see a massive boost in licensing fees. Another reason is because AMD announced they have entered the mobile space and products will start rolling out in a few months. It's nothing new, just lots of movement in tech

RE: This could get interesting...
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2013 11:54:25 AM , Rating: 3
They are the picture story of being too big at the wrong time. AMD originally wanted to purchase NVIDIA but they were out of AMD's price range and AMD instead bought ATI.

Intel ruined NVIDIA chipsets by not giving them a chipset license. They still make AMD chipsets but after their whole bumpgate and hard drive driver issue plus AMD being a much smaller part of the market its just kind of died off. Plus a lot of the chipset have moved into the CPU package. They did have a great audio chipset for some reason they abandoned.

Then they lost this generation console war probably overpricing themselves out of market or just managerial arrogance.

What was left for them is to go but into ARM and it makes sense for them to try and license their graphics to someone in that segment.

In a way they are kind of back to where they started as a graphics company but AMD has the advantage because the same engineers that work on CPU manufacturing can work on GPU manufacturing saving costs and with embedded GPU's getting better and better this makes for less graphics cards being sold. This leaves NVIDIA as an Enthusiast choice for graphics. I hope they have something up thier sleeve because AMD's 8xxx series leaked benchies show 30%-40% jump in performance and they arrive in Q3 2013.

There is a lot of value in NVIDIA someone will snag them up most likely Intel. I just dont know if there is enough of a market in discreet graphics cards today.

RE: This could get interesting...
By misuspita on 6/19/2013 1:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if Nvidia buys VIA, do they theoretically have a chance to go into x86 business? What prevents them entering that market? Because it's clear, the future is integrated CPU/GPU, the latter used as a powerhorse in parralel computing when not used as a 3D device.

RE: This could get interesting...
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2013 2:52:25 PM , Rating: 3
Its wishful thinking and fun to ponder if someone could do better but it would destroy Nvidia to buy VIA. The VIA cpu's are weak and it takes years of engineering to develop a CPU especially a high end one. The R&D alone would be huge and it would be years before they had a product. They would have trouble trying to get manufacturers to carry them. It would be hell. AMD went through heck getting vendor support because Intel did a no no and played anti-competitive and most manufacturers probably prefer fewer options than more.

My wish would be for NVIDIA to Merge with AMD and attempt to create a super ARM/Graphics/CPU division to do or die against Qualcom and Intel. That will never happen though.

RE: This could get interesting...
By Argon18 on 6/19/2013 3:01:48 PM , Rating: 1
What do you mean the "future is integrated CPU/GPU"? Integrated graphics on desktop motherboards have been around for over a decade. intel i810 desktop chipset in the late 1990's had integrated graphics.

Discreet graphics with 100+ or even 200+ watts of TDP will always be around for playing 3D video games, and for professional CAD work.

RE: This could get interesting...
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2013 3:16:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think his point is there are things that a CPU does well and there are things that a GPU does well and if developers can rely on knowing there is a CPU/GPU in every package they can optimize code that leverage either for optimal performance.

At some point lets say 10 years from now discreet graphics might not be needed. Probably going to have 16 core CPU's and quad graphics cores on the die. The X-Box one and PS4 and kind of the beginning of that trend. Dont have enough power dual socket mobo and add another 16 core cpu and quad graphics chip and allow Crossfire/SLI to double performance.

At that point too I would expect youll share CPU cycles with all computers in your household or office. So your cad machine decides to start rendering then it leverages all the computers in the office of the workers with free threads and out to lunch. This technology exists today where desktops are used as one giant mass computer.

Microsoft is hinting toward this offloading with the X-Box one and the cloud.

RE: This could get interesting...
By misuspita on 6/19/2013 6:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I was thinking of the recent integration that started a few years ago and is getting to a greater preformance of the combination CPU/GPU then them separated. The new HSA thingie from AMD seems in theory to be a great deal more powerful, we should have to wait and see the real deal when it is done, but I have confidence.

RE: This could get interesting...
By SPOOFE on 6/19/2013 2:35:45 PM , Rating: 2
Then they lost this generation console war probably overpricing themselves out of market or just managerial arrogance.

Is there really that much money in console hardware?

RE: This could get interesting...
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2013 3:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think its a huge win for AMD and a big loss for NVIDIA.

For Every Game Console SoC, AMD Gets $60-100

Think about this your most likely going to buy at least one console. Buy a X-Box one and AMD gets $60.00 dont like the X-Box one then you opt for a PS4 and AMD still gets $60.00 - hey you got kids and maybe you opt for the Wii-U - Amd still gets your $60.00. Not sure if its the same across each or so but no matter what game console consumers flock to AMD wins and with consoles lasting maybe 5-7 years that's a nice revenue stream. I'm not sure if that price drops over time as manufacturing gets cheaper and larger profits get made on cheaper chips.

Also consider the uproar of the X-Box one and a good majority of people saying they aren't getting the x-Box they are getting the PS4 this time. That was NVIDIA's territory and now AMD will reap the rewards while NVIDIA will get nothing.

I read X-Box 360 could sell 100 million consoles before it ends production. If so thats 6 Billion dollars if they were getting $60.00 each. How many PS3's were sold and Wii's and imagine if AMD got $60.00 for each of them.

By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 3:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
The $60 - $100 figure is only for their APUs. It doesn't apply to the 360 or the Wii/Wii U. Those parts were developed through licensing agreements, unlike the APUs in the Gen 8 PlayStation and Xbox which are straight up parts purchases which is slightly unprecedented. But because of that, the $60 number will go down over time -- it won't be $60 per unit forever.

RE: This could get interesting...
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 11:24:46 AM , Rating: 2
This is more or less the only smart move they have at the moment. Kudos to them though for acknowledging and executing on that.

Nvidia delivers fine, to be honest. Tegra is a solid platform, and its recent hiccups are purely time-related and also quite minor.

Once Kepler-based Tegra hits the market, all bets are off. People will have no choice but to pay attention. Pretty much everyone will consider licensing that IP. Even if they don't bite, the fact that so many people will consider it is kind of a win in itself.

By theapparition on 6/19/2013 11:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
This mainly affects Imagination Technologies, as they will compete for design wins directly with them. To a lesser extent, this will also slightly affect ARM and Qualcomm, as both have in house designs (Mali and Adreno, respectively) that they also license. But it might make financial sense for those companies to include nVidia's designs instead.

Interesting development for sure.

By retrospooty on 6/19/2013 12:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
"This is more or less the only smart move they have at the moment. Kudos to them though for acknowledging and executing on that."

Totally agreed.

"Nvidia delivers fine.... Once Kepler-based Tegra hits the market, all bets are off. People will have no choice but to pay attention. "

On this I dont know. Nvidia is very "iffy" on delivery.

IF they can get it out on time, IF they cane make it powerful yet not too power hungry and IF they can release it without too many compatibility issues.

I wont hold my breath and I wont believe anything they say about future products until its officially released and reviewed independently. They have a good shot, and if it's released and working well without a ton of problems I will gladly buy into it. =)

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki