Nvidia expanding CPU strategy

Nvidia has been losing ground to its competitors recently. ATI is now outselling Nvidia in the GPU market, Intel used a legal dispute to end their chipset business, and their original Tegra CPU hasn't gotten a lot of attention in the mobile market. To help get back in the game, Nvidia has started pushing their Tegra 2 CPU to mobile device makers hoping for success.

Nvidia first got into the CPU business with the Tegra chip which is used in the Zune HD. The Tegra is marketed as a "computer on a chip." it houses the CPU, GPU, northbridge, southbridge and memory controller in a single chip. The chip uses the ARM architecture which is the leading CPU architecture in mobile devices. Their next line of CPUs is the Tegra 2 series, it features a dual core processor with speeds up to 1GHz, double the 3D graphics performance of the Tegra, DDR2 memory, dual-display support and the ability to encode and decode 1080p H.264 video.

CNET recently sat down with Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and asked him what Nvidia has planned for the future of their CPU line. 

"Our CPU strategy is ARM, ARM is the fastest growing processor architecture in the world today. ARM supports (Google's) Android best. And Android is the fastest growing OS in the world today."

He also said that the Tegra 2 will come in two varities, the AP20 which will be used in smartphones and the T20 which will be used in tablets.

Intel forced Nvidia out of the chipset business in a legal dispute over a pair of contracts. This was a big blow to Nvidia because they were the sole supplier of chipsets for the last generation of Apple MacBooks. Huang said,

"They (Intel) have disrupted our chipset business. The damage has been done. We've been out of the chipset business for well over a year, so if this got resolved we're not expecting to ramp back up the thousand engineers that we had working on chipsets."

Because of their legal problems and their slowing GPU sales, they need their CPU line to be successful.

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