NVIDIA: We Let AMD Power the PS4
March 15, 2013 1:26 PM
NVIDIA says trying to design a GPU for the console wasn't worth the cost
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (
) 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 (
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 (
popular Wii U
So how does NVIDIA Corp. (
), 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
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,
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. (
) 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
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.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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