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Nvidia Is Trying To Make an x86 Chip

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-all-your-friends-built-an-x86-chip dept.

AMD 420

Slatterz writes with a story from PC Authority which says that "Word has reached us that Nvidia is definitely working on an x86 chip and the firm is heavily recruiting x86 engineers all over Silicon Valley. The history behind this can be summarised by saying they bought an x86 team, and don't have a licence to make the parts. Given that the firm burned about every bridge imaginable with the two companies who can give them licences, Nvidia has about a zero chance of getting one."

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420 comments

What? (4, Funny)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771523)

What does that mean, "they don't have a licence to make the parts"? Are they not designing it from the ground up? Are chips typically made up of a bunch of simpler elements, designed by a third party?

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771547)

it means that intel+amd have over 9000 patents on integral parts of an x86 cpu

Re:What? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771671)

Did you mean;

it means that intel+amd have OVER NINE THOUSAAAAANDD! [youtube.com] patents on integral parts of an x86 cpu

Re:What? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771729)

And the faggot mods here can't recognize a funny meme when they see one.

Re:What? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771795)

gb2/b, newfag

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771837)

Maybe Nvidia should talk to Motorola instead.

I'd love to see a modern-day version of the 68060.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771951)

That's the Natami project.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771911)

damn word filters

Re:What? (4, Informative)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771549)

Except that Intel and AMD hold vital patents to the set of technologies that are part of the x86 architeture. They have to cross license because they depend on each other, but they have no obligation to license to NVidia.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771611)

Except that Intel and AMD hold vital patents to the set of technologies that are part of the x86 architeture.

      You realize patents only last 20 years, right? Some of those "vital" x86 components must have expired or be pretty close.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

Forge (2456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771683)

When I saw the summery this is the 1st thing that came to my mind.

What is all they want to do is use the high density chip technology they currently have to produce a 3 Ghz or faster 80386DX CPU ?

One with all the RAM it can handle as (core speed) cache?

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771787)

You think it's funny until you see my Wolfenstein 3D benchmarks.

Re:What? (1)

skroops (1237422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772113)

What is all they want to do is use the high density chip technology they currently have to produce a 3 Ghz or faster 80386DX CPU ? One with all the RAM it can handle as (core speed) cache?

Wow, could you imagine a beowulf cluster of those?

That's my dream... (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772165)

a 3 Ghz or faster 80386DX CPU ?

  One with all the RAM it can handle as (core speed) cache?

Just 4 Gb of RAM, a 32-bit address, and make it as fast as you can. Forget about that 64-bit bullshit, I'm not running the Social Security database. But it must be on a single chip, or as close as it can be. Memory access times are limited by the speed of light once you get into the GHz range, a nanosecond is 300 millimeters.

To go with that, let's have some thousands of cores for number crunching. Mega cores, giga cores, you can never have enough cores for number crunching. But these cores need not have 64-bit capability, all they need to do is multiply-add operations, as quickly as possible.

The CPU industry, unfortunately, has been too long in a monopoly situation. Nvidia [nvidia.com] has done some impressive progress in getting an alternative thinking to the market, let's see what they can bring next.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771743)

That's fantastic if Nvidia wants to make a 486.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771749)

Some will be expired, but the technology employed on the current chips (state of the art and previous generations) are covered by more recent patents, and if NVidia wants to produce anything more advanced that the good old 8086, they will have to negotiate.

Check this [cnet.com] and this [hothardware.com] articles. That shows the heavy politics involved between the big processor companies in order to be able to produce our beloved processors.

Re:What? (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771869)

So why not just buy Via? They have the license to make x86, and more importantly they have low power CPUs that are ready to go, and with Netbooks and Notebooks taking a big chunk out of the market this would give them a BIG advantage in the market. If they were to buy Via they could join the Via Nano and the Ion GPU and have bad ass low power Netbooks and Notebooks ready to hit the market.

So can someone tell me what the point of doing it the hard way by starting from scratch is? Because IMHO it seems like a giant waste of resources when Via is ripe for the picking and the Nano CPU from what I have seen is a nice mix of low power with decent performance for Netbooks/Notebooks. Paired with the Ion GPU I think they would have a combo that would kick some serious ass in the Netbook and Notebook markets with little effort. Then later on if they desired they could always do a Fusion style joining of the CPU/GPU to get even better power to performance ratio. So why are they trying to reinvent the wheel?

Re:What? (1)

abuelos84 (1340505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771945)

Good point. I wasn't aware that VIA was so "buyable".. PD:DAMN EEE keyboard! I keep pressing that fking up arrow they put over MY SHIFT KEY!

Re:What? (1)

allgoodnamesaretaken (689728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772055)

because often starting from the ground up liberates you from cruft and is often the case with technology, it becomes much easier, faster, cheaper and yielding of better results. For example: Mac OS X

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26772163)

You do realise that Mac OS X wasn't built from the ground up in any sense whatsoever. They took Mach and BSD, then added their own GUI to it. I would hardly call that starting from scratch.

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771757)

um there has been massive amounts of changes to the x86 design line over the last 20 years too.

To the point where they are almost superficially x86.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771983)

The current crop of x86 chips really are not x86 at all anymore, other then they present the same instruction set. Most of them are RISC machines with an x86 decoder, and a programable one at that bolted on. This is what microcode is all about. Intel and AMD can probably take their latest CPUs and with very minimal reworking make them act like a PPC if they wanted to do so. Which is not to say the architecture and features of the under line chip would be effecient for that, the designs are optimized for 86 decoders.

Re:What? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772063)

um there has been massive amounts of changes to the x86 design line over the last 20 years too. To the point where they are almost superficially x86.

If nothing else, from the Pentium Pro and Pentium II onwards, Intel's x86 line changed architecture radically to a RISC-based core and hardware translation of x86 instructions to native RISC ones- all inside the CPU.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771819)

Won't the patents regarding the lowly 486 be expiring this year then, because it was released in 1989?

Not even close (5, Informative)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771853)

They may have the base architecture available, but not any of the fancy simd or 64-bit instruction sets.

First appearances (not necessarily patent dates):
MMX - 1997
3DNow! - 1998
SSE - 1999
SSE2 - 2001
AMD 64 - 2003
Intel 64 - 2004
SSE3 - 2004
SSE4 - 2006

Of course, most software doesn't use any of these extensions, but Intel and AMD can use this as a weapon in a possible FUD campaign.

Re:What? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772121)

Except that Intel and AMD hold vital patents to the set of technologies that are part of the x86 architeture.

You realize patents only last 20 years, right? Some of those "vital" x86 components must have expired or be pretty close.

Except that it's quite possble that subsequent patents built upon the earlier ones so that even if the original has expired later ones will still make it difficult to duplicate the technology.

More likely is nVidia looking at their graphic controller patents and using them to get a cross license deal.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771631)

I would imagine that NVidia also has a fairly large patent portfolio where they could find many cases of Intel and AMD/ATI infringing in some way.

Also, how does VIA have a license to make x86 chips? I would imagine they don't have the ability because Intel and AMD decided to be nice to a competitor so, they must have done a patent swapping deal or paid a lot of money.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

Skinkie (815924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771641)

Would those patents include an in hardware x86 instructionset translator to their GPU instructionset? I remember some vague comments around ~5 years ago that nVidia wanted to run an OS on their GPUs.

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772185)

Would those patents include an in hardware x86 instructionset translator to their GPU instructionset?

Could be.

There was a big fight in the chipmaking world over a bunch of patents covering hardware x86/Instruction set translation, which included multicore parallel instruction processing. They were originally held by a company called Exponential Technologies, and though Intel wanted them badly, were grabbed by S3 for ten million in an auction.

In the end, S3 and Intel agreed on a time-limited cross licensing deal. That agreement ended in December 2008.

Coincidence?

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771645)

They have to cross license because they depend on each other, but they have no obligation to license to NVidia.

It is pure speculation that they would not want to license to nVidia, and pure speculation that they would be able to decline. If two companies join forces to use patents to shut out a third competitor, do you really think that would swing with a judge?

Re:What? (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771925)

Yes. Patents give the right to exclude. There is no compulsory license for patents. And there are no antitrust penalties for simply refusing to license patents.

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771665)

Sounds like pretty weak speculation.

You can't, at least officially, patent an aspect of the instruction set itself. In terms of more general patents over processes useful in producing the chips, there's no reason why NVidia couldn't have acquired equally 'vital' patents themselves. Plus Intel and AMD are both in the graphics business too - do they already have suficiently broad cross licensing agreements with NVidia? I don't know and I suspect you don't either.

The question in these situations often comes down to whether companies are really willing to go nuclear and risk having the courts reject a lot of the crap with which they would otherwise intimidate smaller companies. If NVidia are willing to call their bluff then there's every chance they'll succeed. Being seen to use patents to prop up a duopoly isn't necessarily anything that Intel wants to be seen doing anyway.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771705)

Except nVidia probably has a multitude of graphics patents that AMD(ATi) and Intel certainly violate.

Also, I really don't remember when "not having a license" was an impediment (remember Cyrix?? What about VIA?)

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771723)

Which leads to in important consideration. Yes, AMD and Intel hold patents vital to getting into the industry, but why did they cross license? That is simple: Intel had enough patents to have AMD by the balls, and AMD had enough patents to have Intel by the balls. Neither enjoyed being at the mercy of the other, so they came to a mutual agreement.

So now, fast forward to present day. Nvidia wants to get into the game. So how do they do it? Simple: they need to innovate and get patents on core technology before the other 2 do. Then they can agree to license it to one of the 2 to give them a competitive advantage. At that point Nvidia has half the necessary portfolio, and if things go well, the other will need to get their hands on the tech to stay competitive.

Don't forget, AMD *made* Intel chips back in day (2, Interesting)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772071)

I've torn apart quite a few 286 and 386 computers where the chip clearly says "Intel 286" or "Intel 386SX" and in small print down by the serial # for the processor, it is stamped "AMD" or "Made by AMD" or something along those lines (I can't exactly remember how the AMD part was worded)

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771897)

They have to cross license because they depend on each other, but they have no obligation to license to NVidia.

Cross-licensing is a crock. It is done to try and head off any threat of legal action two or more companies might throw at each other, but the suspicion of that threat is not based on anything concrete. It's more about warm fuzzy feelings and to give the legal people something to do. It's also done as a protectionist tactic between companies to make sure no one else enters the party, and if they try to to ensure that everyone will be asking a lot of questions that can't be answered about their legality.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26772037)

Patents are valid for 20 years.

The Intel 80386 (i386) was released in 1986, so the patent expired in 2006.

NVIDIA can produce an i386 chip, and it will run your favorite Linux distro (compiled for i386).

Moreover: if they are making plans for the next 5 or 6 years, they probably can count on the following release dates:

- 2009: i486 (introduced in 1989)
- 2013: i586 (introduced in 1993)
- 2015: i686 (introduced in 1995)

Re:What? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772047)

Everyone keeps saying only two companies can license the technology. This is incorrect. If you're talking about x86-64, then yes, you're right. If you're talking about just the 32-bit x86 instruction set, AFAIK, the patents have expired on this.

Anyway, there are several companies that probably still have licenses: National Semiconductor (who acquired Cyrix some years ago), IBM, NEC, and VIA.

Of those, probably NatSemi, IBM and NEC can still sublicense.
 

Logic says (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771559)

Nvidia are going to challenge the concept of licensing an instruction set, and they know they are going to win.

That will be a great day for all the technology industry and herald a massive price crash in processor power.

Patents vs. GPU (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771607)

At this point, I think it's ridiculous for any part of the x86 (or even AMD64) arch to be patentable. Almost every office on the planet has one --- you don't get much more public domain than that. However, assuming they really can't get patent licenses and can't get around that by some legal loophole, what does that leave? The only thing I can think of is that patents don't apply to software, and that they may be able to achieve decent performance running an x86 emulator on a modified instruction set GPU.

Re:Patents vs. GPU (1)

Phase Shifter (70817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771747)

At this point, I think it's ridiculous for any part of the x86 (or even AMD64) arch to be patentable. Almost every office on the planet has one --- you don't get much more public domain than that.

You can actually get quite a bit more public domain than that--patents determine who gets to make the chips, not who gets to buy them.

Or are you implying that every office in the world has their own fab plant and I didn't know about it?

Re:Patents vs. GPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26772127)

He meant that the intruction sets (the interface) are used by millions of programmers and as such if there was some kind of "patent" on them, the programmers would have to get a license, too.

Re:Patents vs. GPU (4, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772137)

Or are you implying that every office in the world has their own fab plant and I didn't know about it?

Yes. You didn't get yours? It should have arrived last month.

Re:Patents vs. GPU (1)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772167)

Or are you implying that every office in the world has their own fab plant and I didn't know about it?

Of course... Don't you? We keep ours in a shed out back.

Why, just last week, my boss said that our DB cluster needed more horsepower and to slide the "transistor size" switch down to 35nm... Problem solved (of course, we needed to wait overnight for the first batch, we don't have one of the fancy new ones that can pop out a batch of chips in 15 minutes or less).

Re:Patents vs. GPU (3, Informative)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771783)

Intel and AMD has been using hardware x86-emulators running on top of specialized instruction sets since Pentium Pro and Athlon. The last native x86-chip in production was the AMD Geode, and that one is dead now.

But GPU and CPU is still very different things. Performance on CPUs is very dependent on branch, and random-memory access performance. GPU's don't have real-branches and only reads memory linearly. NVidia is going to need a completely new architecture, and can only reuse some of the algorithmic implementations (fast float-point operations, etc.)

I found poo in my brain (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771581)

It was tastey because AMERICA is HOPE! i invite YOU to DREAM with spurting cocks!

this is an theinquirer.net editoral ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771593)

how does pcauthority.com.au get away with re-posting others articles without even linking back to the original source (yes, I know that they credit theinquirer.net at the top, however it just links to all articles stolen from theinquirer.net).

I can't wait (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771603)

The $2700 "gaming" CPU, coming soon from Nvidia. Combine that with your $800 twin video cards, and we're almost back to $5000 per computer again. The worst thing is, people actually buy these overpriced graphics cards giving them incentive to keep doing it. Well, have fun during the recession. I think MSI is going to make a lot of money.

Re:I can't wait (3, Informative)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771615)

MSI has to be the worst quality part maker on the market. I've had terrible experience with them.

If I was betting on it, I'd say ASUS would have the most profitable year.

Re:I can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771909)

$5000 per computer sounds like Apple to me... And Apple doesn't seem to be having any problems with the worldwide economic depression...

Some pretty big leaks... (1, Interesting)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771609)

The day after he brought you news about Intel creating the Playstation 4 GPU [theinquirer.net] discussed here [slashdot.org] comes more industry shaking news, original article here [theinquirer.net].

Wow, that's two pretty big news scoops on back to back days for Charlie with both making Slashdot's homepage at the same time!

Re:Some pretty big leaks... (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771863)

And joining these two pieces of information leads to Intel needing some licenses on GPU technology, I would guess that nVidia probably have quite a lot of that, mayhap there might be some bargaining going on between the two over cross licensing agreements.*

*I actually have no idea but this seems plausible to me.

Re:Some pretty big leaks... (2, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771889)

While Intel and PS4 are pretty much wild speculation - based on logic (Intel is specialist in cheap chip production, something Sony urgently needs for its PS3), the nVidia and x86 are based on hirings.

While I will not go as far as to say that nVidia is attempting to implement whole CPU, it could be that they are trying to put CPU emulator/accelerator on to GPU. Scrapping the shader language and allow to write/compile plain C/etc which can be run unmodified on both CPU and GPU is a huge step forward to allow hybrid/partial acceleration, scaling the technology from lowest-end to highest-end.

Both moves have logic behind them. Both are speculations. First was already denied. But let the soap opera run for few more episodes^W the Inquirer articles more.

Re:Some pretty big leaks... (4, Informative)

ardor (673957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772091)

C allows for things that just don't make sense on GPUs. Arbitrary branching, pointer aliasing, etc. are poisonous for GPU performance.

GPUs excel at tasks that map N input values to one output value, with a minimum amount of unpredictable branches. If a task fits in this well, it is likely being accelerated already, via CUDA, Stream, CTM. If it doesn't fit, forcing it on the GPU is a waste of time.

What you want to look at are things like C++ DSELs, which create expression templates out of compile-time defined language specifications. This way, you can have a "shader language" that is evaluated at compile-time, either to a "real" shading language, or to plain old C++ code for the CPU.

Re:Some pretty big leaks... (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772123)

GPUs excel at tasks that map N input values to one output value, with a minimum amount of unpredictable branches. If a task fits in this well, it is likely being accelerated already, via CUDA, Stream, CTM. If it doesn't fit, forcing it on the GPU is a waste of time.

I understand your sentiment - as software developer.

Yet, if you look at situation from nVidia pov, all what you say are real disadvantages of GPU compared to CPU. Trying to improve in the areas for nVidia is only logical - to compete better against Intel/AMD. Probably even more against AMD than Intel.

Excuse my ignorance (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771619)

Why does a firm wishing to enter the x86 market need to buy licenses, and if this is true, however did AMD come to own any if intel was the one who made x86 afaik?

Just wondering.

Re:Excuse my ignorance (4, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771651)

Why does a firm wishing to enter the x86 market need to buy licenses

They're probably alluding to possible patents held. Of course, NVidia has them in the graphics part and could leverage that anyway. Just another reason why patents need to be scrapped and replaced with a non-exclusive system of financial incentive, if we need one at all.

however did AMD come to own any

Ancient history. AMD got into the x86 market in the 80's when the USG required multiple sources for many components, so Intel was more or less forced to let them in if they wanted USG business. Once they were established they've worked on improvements themselves which they license to Intel, etc.

Re:Excuse my ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771759)

Just another reason why patents need to be scrapped and replaced with a non-exclusive system of financial incentive, if we need one at all.

And free beer for everyone! And ponies!

Re:Excuse my ignorance (5, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771929)

Back in the day, many purchasers demanded that manufacturers of electronics had a secound source of components so you wouldn't get stuck with a product line you could no longer build. AMD was Intel's second source provider. This agreement went to court http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EKF/is_n1961_v39/ai_13734404 [findarticles.com] and the result was a forced agreement that meant AMD had access to Intel intel.

Two companies who can give them licences.. (3, Insightful)

hsa (598343) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771623)

What about Via?

Re:Two companies who can give them licences.. (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771797)

I think the VIA x86 department was sold off to AMD, their last design became the AMD Geode, and then they died.

Re:Two companies who can give them licences.. (3, Informative)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771941)

That's Cyrix.

VIA still make CPUs, they make the old 90nm C7, and the newer 65nm Nano which will be appearing in systems this year.

As regards this story, I don't believe it one bit because it's a story involving the Inquirer and NVIDIA.

If NVIDIA were to do anything, I think they would be creating a far faster ARM based SoC for their Tegra v2 line, based around the ARM Cortex A8. Maybe they're making a hardware x86 translator front-end for it... not to perform well, but to perform well enough to accelerate x86 virtual environments over emulation.

Re:Two companies who can give them licences.. (1)

FreonTrip (694097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771997)

VIA actually bought up Cyrix's engineering team and a good deal of their IP; the original VIA Cyrix III was the last chip that was engineered by that team, and the team quit afterward. IDT's team was also purchased by VIA, and that team is responsible for subsequent VIA CPUs. The Geode was purchased from National Semiconductor back in 2003 and is still being manufactured, but won't be receiving any substantial redesigns in the future.

Re:Two companies who can give them licences.. (2, Informative)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772031)

No. Once upon a time there was the Cyrix MediaGX [wikipedia.org]; Cyrix merged with National Semiconductor, who rebranded the MediaGX as Geode, and subsequently sold the design to AMD.

The only involvement VIA had in the business was buying the Cyrix trademark and some of its IP from National. This IP supposedly helped them tremendously in getting Intel off its back [arstechnica.com]. And VIA keeps happily doing business in the x86 world: C3, C7, and now x86-64 with the Nano.

Good Job (1)

bad_alloc (1441453) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771625)

Some competition would be great, to keep Intel from reaching dominace over that market. I've feared for a long time, that if AMD should go bust prices would rise sharply.

Re:Good Job (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771875)

Only for about 10-15 years, after the monopoly courts have forced intel to license their technology to others.

Where's the *proof*? (5, Insightful)

onion2k (203094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771639)

I can think of a few reasons why nVidia might want a bunch of x86 engineers on-board, and they're not all "to design an x86 chip". nVidia have been pushing the GPGPU model for a while so having people around who know CPU architecture would be very useful, especially if they're looking at ways to emulate x86 assembler on their GPU architecture (which, for a few apps, would be an awesome feature).

The article is full of assumptions and conjecture. And it comes across as incredibly bitter toward nVidia. Did they turn the author down for a job or something?

Re:Where's the *proof*? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771851)

No, the author is Charlie Demerjian from The Inquirer. Some years ago Charlie broke a NDA, so nVidia has removed him from the pool of journalists given notice of new releases. Since then Charlie writes only negative things ("they are broke", "they produce only faulty chips", "ATI is much faster", "CUDA stinks", "3D glasses are no good", etc. etc.) about nVidia. I've a spam filter about "news" about nVidia by Charlie (it's a pity slashdot reports this junk...)

Summary = article = blatant copy of the INQ (4, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771655)

Shame about that, at least try and find some additional information and link to the original article. I didn't know that the INQ has become a news agency of sorts. They certainly don't have the credentials for that. And the author of this article even less.

Then again, we can discuss the idea that nVidia is apparently (no proof whatsoever of the hirings) going for x86 without having the licenses to do so. As I understood, AMD and Intel (and VIA) let each other use patents and designs for x86, so I assume this is about letting nVidia in or not on that scheme.

Personally I'm wondering why nVidia and VIA don't fuse. One just has created a neat little x86 CPU and low power parts the other has neat GPU's. And I heard that VIA is going out of the chipset business anyways.

See, I've started up the discussion for you. If you don't like it you can order up another if you don't think it's any good.

Ripped from The Inquirer (3, Informative)

s390 (33540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771657)

PC Authority ripped off this story, word for word, from The Inquirer. The author at The Inquirer, Charlie Demerjian, ought to sue their pants off for copyright infringement.

Re:Ripped from The Inquirer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771711)

They may have some sort of deal... Just judging by the fact that the Inquirer is acknowledged as the author at the start and end...

Re:Ripped from The Inquirer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771735)

Author of PC Auth. article is "by The Inquirer on Feb 8, 2009
"....

Re:Ripped from The Inquirer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771745)

PC Authority ripped off this story, word for word, from The Inquirer. The author at The Inquirer, Charlie Demerjian, ought to sue their pants off for copyright infringement.

umm it says "by The Inquirer" at the top

Re:Ripped from The Inquirer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26772011)

you can't hold copyright over News you berg.

zero chance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771673)

they can try to demand unrealistic prices, but they can't deny nvidia the license if they start to negotiate.

There are laws against anti-competitive behaviour and it covers exactly that!

More inquirer "news"? (4, Informative)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771691)

The PC Authority site got slashdotted, but this sounds terribly like Charlie Demerijan's article [theinquirer.net] from 2 days ago.

And while Charlie's articles are terribly fun to read, they don't quite qualify as news. Call them rants, speculation, whatever you wish, but not news. At least unless they get picked up blindly [slashdot.org] by other publications...

Nvidia has licensed patents (4, Informative)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771799)

While Intel do hold key x86 related patents, they aren't the only ones with patents in that area. Nvidia have entered into a patent sharing agreement with Via [engadget.com] (and most likely sharing their x86 technology), and on top of that, they have also licensed all patents and patent applications from Transmeta [transmeta.com].

Perhaps they could be making GPGPU that with a translation layer for x86 instructions, like the Transmeta Crusoe did in VLIW, or maybe they are enhancing a Via Nano CPU design with on die GPU (rather like they did with the Tergra ARM11 chip). Either way this won't be a desktop CPU, and it won't be serious competition for Intel, but could be targeted at the growing netbook market.

Intel could step in and try to block them, but they have lost against Via and Transmeta in the past, and they would also put themselves in a difficult situation, since they are being watched in the US, EU and Asia for antitrust violations. This would look quite bad for them.

They already do.. (4, Informative)

mcbridematt (544099) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771813)

... sortof. NVIDIA has a 386(!) SoC [nvidia.com] from the acquisition of ULI.

I'm skeptical about a new entrant like NVIDIA gaining any traction in the x86 market, they would have better luck pushing out their ARM chips.

Its amazing how fast bridges can be rebuilt... (4, Insightful)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771835)

If you have the cash, intel doesnt need cash AMD does.

NVidia vs. AMD, Intel behind? (1)

berarma (1472191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771887)

AMD making GPUs and now NVidia making CPUs, maybe they plan on designing highly coupled CPU/GPU systems for better efficiency and also trying to shake both markets for more impact.

Intel has been doing GPUs for a long time, but they've done it like they do motherboard chipsets, with low interest on competing in the high-end.

Who's the Customer? (1)

indytx (825419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26771931)

What I would really like to know is who at Nvidia thinks this is a good idea? Do we really need another x86 supplier? Are they going to aim for the low end or the high end? If it's the high end, I thought that Nvidia contracted out their manufacturing. http://industry.bnet.com/technology/1000386/nvidia-chip-problems-might-be-warning-for-everyone/ [bnet.com] Maybe that explains why the company has had trouble with some of its graphics chips in the last year or so. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13554_3-10020782-33.html [cnet.com]

Personally, I'm a little tired of companies contracting out their manufacturing to Asia to cut costs, and then not owning up to manufacturing defects when they come to light. It has kept me from buying an Xbox 360, and it will keep me from ever buying an Nvidia CPU. Of course, I don't drink Kook-Aid, so I'm obviously not the potential customer here.

Re:Who's the Customer? (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772143)

.........mod troll for the Kool-Aid remark =)

We always need another x86 supplier. Look at the big picture. Both Intel and AMD are talking about integrating components of GPU's directly onto the CPU die. Firstly it represents a direct assault on nVidia's ability to do business. nVidia must build an x86 CPU.

Also, streaming architectures are probably the way of the future. All of the really successful HPC chips lately utilize some form of steaming processor or coprocessor. (Don't kill me if "streaming" isn't the perfect descriptor for blue gene etc) CPU manufacturers are trying to strap components of GPU's onto CPU's. nVidia has been doing much more interesting things on their GPU's, and I'm tempted to predict we'll see nVidia with the first real x86 streaming monster with lots of math co-processing and graphics capabilities hard-wired in.

As far as companies go, nVidia is one of the best. The CEO is an animal. nVidia is a company you want to see going forward so that they will continue innovating. Watching them get pushed out of the integrated x86-streaming future is unacceptable and would represent a huge loss to the consumer.

Instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26771957)

Why don't they try making graphic chips that don't fail? And drivers that don't crash?

Litigate to Gain Market Access (3, Insightful)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26772093)

I think we're at the point where x86 licensing is honestly kind of silly. For the sake of competition, I believe nVidia will find the right buttons to press and get at least enough breathing room to build parts.

Saying that x86 is a technology that allows Intel or AMD chips to run very powerful software is completely off-target. x86 is a vast software market, which chip makers continually convoluted their designs in order to have the ability to serve.

In other words, it's quite clear that x86 is not a technology anymore and has become more like a standard, which all companies should have some fair access to.

They have to prepare in case Larrabee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26772097)

They have to prepare in case Larrabee from Intel becomes a success.

Larrabee might or might not be a success but IF it does and IF intel has something very good there (maybe even in the steps Larabee II or Larabee III) that does work and has advantages everyone who has to start @zero will be out. There's no way Nvidia could catch up again and a look at the other competitor (ATI) must scare them: Ati has a vast ressource with a lot of experience and working products in the x86 field.

If the rumour is true, nvidia is doing the only useful thing: They start to accumulate experience before it's too late.
Should Larrabee (I, II, or V) work out, Ati can catch up via AMD in one or two years, nvidia would probably need more time and much more investment then.

The rumour is probably false but if it's true it makes perfect sense for nvidia to scout into x86-land.

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