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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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RE: Nvidia didn't have a chance...
By GulWestfale on 3/15/2013 6:39:40 PM , Rating: 4
i think no matter how you see this from a fanboy/financial/engineering perspective, teh truth is this: AMD scored several console design wins, and nvidia scored none.

i'm not a fan of either company (i've owned products from both, and they're both great), but as someone else pointed out, if you want an x86 CPU with on-deie graphics (and why wouldn't you, on-die stuff simplifies mobo design and reduces costs) then AMD was simply the only game in town.

overall i think this a good thing for AMD, as they now have a virtually guaranteed source of income over the next 5+ years. in addition, they will perhaps get some name recognition among a younger generation of gamers, who won't look at AMD-powered PCs as second-rate ones when compared to intel. good job, AMD!

By michael67 on 3/16/2013 8:51:06 PM , Rating: 5
Most of them also forget that the chip that AMD designed for the PS4, will also be converted in to a desktop chip, minus some of the stuff Sony owned/needed for the console.

nVidia could even if they wanted it, never make a APU like that.

So yeah they "let" AMD have the design win, as they could not compete whit AMD, as nVidia had to work whit eider AMD for the CPU parts, like that was gone happen, or Intel, and share a lot of IP with Intel and would just cost more to design, or with IBM, but Cell was something Sony did not want any more.

So AMD won by default, not because nVidia let them win.

RE: Nvidia didn't have a chance...
By CeriseCogburn on 3/18/13, Rating: -1
By michael67 on 3/18/2013 1:23:11 PM , Rating: 3
How ???

AMD gets payed to design these chips.

AMD gets payed royalties for every chip thats get made.

AMD is gone use part of the development of these ships also for the desktop.

How is AMD gone loos money on this deal???

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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