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NVIDIA says trying to design a GPU for the console wasn't worth the cost

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) has quietly dominated the market for commodity graphics chips and CPUs for console gaming systems, and the latest generation of consoles look to be no exception.  Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758PS4, to launch this holiday season, will feature an AMD GPU and CPU.  And there's an AMD 550 MHz Radeon "Latte" GPU aboard Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974popular Wii U.

So how does NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), AMD's chief rival in the PC graphics market feel about AMD's dominance of the increasingly PC-like consoles?  Not too bad, apparently.

NVIDIA's Senior Vice President of content and tecnology told Gamespot in a recent interview that his company is essentially letting AMD win.  While he's convinced his firm could be AMD if it tried, he says it just isn't worth it, remarking:

I'm sure there was a negotiation that went on and we came to the conclusion that we didn't want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay. Having been through the original Xbox and PS3, we understand the economics of the development and the trade-offs.

If we say, did a console, what other piece of our business would we put on hold to chase after that? In the end, you only have so many engineers and so much capability, and if you're going to go off and do chips for Sony or Microsoft, then that's probably a chip that you're not doing for some other portion of your business.

That statement seems a bit odd -- after all, hegemony of consoles could be a ticket for a financially struggling AMD to effectively sell tens, if not hundreds of millions of chips.

The Wii U packs an AMD GPU (blue: memory; red: stream processors; yellow: texture units).
[Image Source: Chipworks]

But NVIDIA's focus is more directed on the mobile market, where it's looking to leverage pared down versions of its GeForce GPUs beside ARM CPU cores.  NVIDIA has its work cut out for it in that market; it largely lost the last round to Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) due to its chips being too power-hungry.  

NVIDIA is focused on its mobile processor war with Qualcomm.

NVIDIA is looking to change later this year with the refresh of Tegra 4 that will include an on-die LTE modem.  Between Tegra and the development of traditional PC GPUs, NVIDIA sounds content to let AMD freely dominate the console market -- or so it says.

Source: GameSpot

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Long memories at nVidia....
By kilkennycat on 3/15/2013 5:36:41 PM , Rating: 0
For an explanation of nVidia's lack of interest in providing chips for consoles see:-

A very thin-margin business with ruthless competition and no opportunities for profitable innovation. AMD is grasping for cash, having just sold their HQ campus for $165million, and the PS4 deal probably includes cash up front. You can be certain that Sony have demanded full design and fabrication information from AMD, so that they can continue to produce chips even if AMD goes under. Sony (with financial troubles of their own) will not have the slightest interest in keeping AMD alive.

RE: Long memories at nVidia....
By Zapp Brannigan on 3/15/2013 6:16:41 PM , Rating: 3
Yet Nvidia don't profitably innovate in the phone/tablet soc market. They have shove a load of bog standard arm cores together and shove it out early, in an attempt to get quick design wins.

Qualcomm, maybe Samsung and ahem, Apple are the only real innovators in the soc market, they also make substantially more money then nvidia do in that market.

RE: Long memories at nVidia....
By UpSpin on 3/16/2013 8:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
You got something wrong, totally wrong.

As far as I know is the Tegra SoC the only SoC with a fifth low power companion core. No one else has this. But this companion core is a huge power saver and a unique part. nVidia does use their own GPU and produced their own radio chip lately. The only stock part is the A9/A15 core.
Samsung on the other hand uses stock ARM cores, stock GPUs from ARM or PowerVR and uses given configurations from ARM (big.LITTLE). No own innovation or SoC design at all, except in the manufacturing process.
Qualcomm on the other hand fully develops its own SoC, cpu, gpu, radio, ...
Apple started to do the same, yet they still rely on a stock GPU from PowerVR. So identical to nVidia, except that nVidia uses defautl ARM CPUs, Apple uses default PowerVR GPUs.

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