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Nvidia reportedly gearing up to produce Arm-based CPUs

GPU specialist Nvidia intends to park its tanks on Intel’s lawn with its own Windows PC CPUs based on ARM architecture, according to a report.

Andrew Wooden

October 24, 2023

2 Min Read
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GPU specialist Nvidia intends to park its tanks on Intel’s lawn with its own Windows PC CPUs based on ARM architecture, according to a report.

Nvidia has already begun designing such chips, two little birdies familiar with the matter told Reuters. And sources also claim that Intel’s rival in the x86 space AMD also plans to make chips for PCs with Arm technology.

Nvidia and AMD could sell these new type of PC chips as soon as 2025, one of the sources added, and another – or possibly the same one it’s hard to know – claimed that executives at Microsoft, having observed how efficient Apple’s Arm-based chips are in areas such as AI processing, ‘desire to attain similar performance.’

The sources added that Microsoft has granted Qualcomm an exclusivity arrangement to develop Windows-compatible chips which would last until 2024, and that it has encouraged others to enter the market once that exclusivity deal expires.

The Reuters piece quotes Jay Goldberg, chief executive of D2D Advisory as saying: “Microsoft learned from the 90s that they don’t want to be dependent on Intel again, they don’t want to be dependent on a single vendor.  If Arm really took off in PC (chips), they were never going to let Qualcomm be the sole supplier.”

The fact Apple’s M-series chips seem to be widely regarded as offering comparable performance to Intel’s PC chips would seem to imply such a diversification by Nvidia – which mainly produces GPUs traditionally used in gaming PCs but which have latterly be found to satiate the processing demands of the AI and crypto markets – could at least technically be a winner. However, there are presumably some compatibility issues that could also crop up.

Sadly for Intel, it’s previous attempts to go the other way and produce x86 chipsets for mobile devices did not go so well.

In 2020 Nvidia launched a bid to buy Arm outright from Japanese conglomerate Softbank, a questionable move considering how regulators were clearly going to have something to say about that. It eventually gave up in 2022, leaving $1.25 billion non-refundable deposit on the table in the process.

Whether Nvidia was looking to get Arm under its corporate umbrella back then in order to make a move into Arm-based PC CPUs, or if this is a newer ambition, we don’t know. But with rumours of similar moves in the space by other players as well – it looks like there is going to be a bit of disruption in the PC CPU space, which for decades Intel has comfortably sat upon the lion share of.

 

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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