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Buzz: Is Nvidia working on x86 processor?

Posted: 05 Nov 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Nvidia x86 plan? microprocessor? processor?

The rumors are again surfacing that Nvidia Corp. may enter the x86-based microprocessor market.

For some time, there have been reports that Nvidia would enter the x86-based fray to protect its bread-and-butter graphics chip business. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. are separately developing processors with graphics capabilities.

"We believe Nvidia could enter the x86 CPU business," said analyst Doug Freedman of Broadpoint AmTech. "Nvidia could become a supplier of x86 CPUs by necessity to preserve both GPU and chipset revenue."

Nvidia has been quietly hiring former employees of Transmeta, a now-defunct, x86-based processor supplier.

"We believe internally-developed x86 solutions are more likely than external acquisitions (i.e. Via Technologies)," he said in a new report, referring to rumors that Nvidia would acquire Taiwan's Via.

"We believe that Nvidia has hired former Transmeta staff extensively, and that instruction code 'morphing' requirements have declined as more x86 instructions have come off of patent coverage," he said.

Nvidia is also set to report its results. "For October, we expect revenue and GAAP EPS (for Nvidia) to beat our estimates of $846.4 million and $0.06, in-line with the Street at $835.2 million and $0.06," he said in the report. "We believe revenue growth expectations may be as high as up 14 percent quarter-over-quarter, or close to $885 million given the strong sales reports from both Intel and AMD."

Graphics chip vendor Nvidia has halted development of chipsets for next-generation Intel processors that feature the direct media interface bus, pending the outcome of current litigation between the two companies.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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