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.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

BlackBerry Torch sells 150,000 units on release, underwhelms

Next Story

Bing and Yahoo transition beginning today

37 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Yaaay for moble. Tegra2 is an incredible ARM implementation.
I just hope my phone doesn't run as hot as my 9800GX2.
might need oven mitts and a rubber cheek guard.

I've been using Nvidia-based cards for many years now and haven't had too many issues with them. Two years ago the fan on my 8800GT died but the card was still functional. Since I haven't used any ATI cards as my primary video cards in my home boxes I can't comment on performance or driver stability. I'd say at this point both companies make excellent GPUs and have had their ups and downs. Nvidia is currently in down period but hopefully won't remain there.

That said Nvidia seems to be banking on the mobile device market regarding its Tegra CPUs. It's possible they'll need to aquire an x86 license for desktop CPUs if the mobile market strategy doesn't pan out.

even when ATI was competing against NVidia years back, the prices of graphic cards from both companies were not getting lower either. The prices went up with every generation of release. they don't have to collude, but business people sharing the same mind of thoughts is enough.

warr said,
even when ATI was competing against NVidia years back, the prices of graphic cards from both companies were not getting lower either. The prices went up with every generation of release. they don't have to collude, but business people sharing the same mind of thoughts is enough.

+1
most video card is more expensive than a whole videogame console.

I will say something though I know nothing about computers. I brought an XP computer with Nvidia graphics. Still works, never a problem with graphics card EVER. I brought a laptop that had external damage, but Nvidia card worked fine. Same with my current PC.

I never recall ever having problems with their cards. Mins you I don't know much about GPUs etc, but for me they are reliable, the updates are reliable and I do have trust in them.

Why's Nvidia bitching? ATI used to be top notch back when the 9XXXs were out (early 00's) and Nvidia took the lead with the 8XXX series, especially the 8800GT(X). Now ATI is coming out on top. Doesn't mean Nvidia is out for good. Their GT 4XX are pretty good, not good enough but there plenty of time for improvement.

Nvidia will never progress in the mobile industry, not while the Snapdragon and propriertary ARM processors like Apple's A4 are out there. Not to mention the upcoming Snapdragon will have a 1.5-2GHz processor with upgraded everything. By the time Tegra 2 is released, Android phones will already have the next best thing to today's Snapdragon.

Guys, this is an article about mobile/tablet SOCs (System on chip) produced by nVidia. It's not about GPUs or CPUs.
My comment is: Release something with a bloody Tegra2 in it NOW.

Nvidia always has my money. I have had nothing but problems with ATI cards. But what I will admit is that I like how ATI cards have a hdmi port on them being my monitor does also have a hdmi port but the sucky thing being hdmi cables still cost an arm a leg and your first born.

Have you been get ripped off from overprice at your local electronic store? If so, check online site like Amazon or Ebay, they barely cost a cheese burger.

vice le von said,
Have you been get ripped off from overprice at your local electronic store? If so, check online site like Amazon or Ebay, they barely cost a cheese burger.
Never stated I actually bought a hdmi cable I just simply said they are O.P.

vice le von said,
Have you been get ripped off from overprice at your local electronic store? If so, check online site like Amazon or Ebay, they barely cost a cheese burger.

A cheese Burger? Have you ever been to McDonald's on Tuesdays? ....
Just joking.

flashnuke said,
Nvidia always has my money. I have had nothing but problems with ATI cards. But what I will admit is that I like how ATI cards have a hdmi port on them being my monitor does also have a hdmi port but the sucky thing being hdmi cables still cost an arm a leg and your first born.

Personally,
I'll take an ATI card over Nvidia anyday of the week, month or year. Just never have liked Nvidia at all. Glad to see Nvidia get shot down from their high horse!!

cork1958 said,

Personally,
I'll take an ATI card over Nvidia anyday of the week, month or year. Just never have liked Nvidia at all. Glad to see Nvidia get shot down from their high horse!!

To each their own I have seen ATI cards in action and can't say i've seen a difference what so ever so therefore I will stick to what I know.

dotf said,

I think he's talking retail, not monoprice.com
Yes, I do mean retail prices..never heard of monoprice.com but will surely check it out.

It's really unfortunate that Intel had to sue nVidia to get into Apple with Intel chipsets for the Core iX series of processors.

They're certainly inferior to the older nVidia chipsets, if for no other reason than the included non-discrete GPU is garbage compared to nVidia's offerings. Intel is a shady company, and although I am happy to see AMD (ATi) doing better, it does not help to have only one player in the market (if nVidia fails). If nVidia fails, then ATi will stop innovating until Intel catches up in the GPU market, which I assume is just a matter of time.

Now what would be funny is if nVidia and AMD decided to use Intel's own tactics against it, and teamed up to block future Intel chips from working with their graphics cards unless Intel decided to play fair, but AMD has no real benefit there except to hurt Intel by helping nVidia, which hurts AMD through ATi.

Blah. Here's to hoping nVidia can get back into the chipset business because they made the best.

pickypg said,
It's really unfortunate that Intel had to sue nVidia to get into Apple with Intel chipsets for the Core iX series of processors.

They're certainly inferior to the older nVidia chipsets, if for no other reason than the included non-discrete GPU is garbage compared to nVidia's offerings. Intel is a shady company, and although I am happy to see AMD (ATi) doing better, it does not help to have only one player in the market (if nVidia fails). If nVidia fails, then ATi will stop innovating until Intel catches up in the GPU market, which I assume is just a matter of time.

Now what would be funny is if nVidia and AMD decided to use Intel's own tactics against it, and teamed up to block future Intel chips from working with their graphics cards unless Intel decided to play fair, but AMD has no real benefit there except to hurt Intel by helping nVidia, which hurts AMD through ATi.

Blah. Here's to hoping nVidia can get back into the chipset business because they made the best.

nVidia are just as bad as Intel. They make payouts to game developers so graphics features are locked out on ATi hardware - As Intel did to manufacturers like Dell to gain exclusivity, even during the height of the Athlon 64's dominance.

nVidia chipsets were on the way out anyway in my opinion, they've been getting gradually crappier since the nForce 2 (One of the best chipsets ever). Not to mention with Hypertransport and Quickpath replacing the old FSB-designs, chipsets have become less relevant.

Bad news for all us GPU nuts, if nVidia cant do something amazing with its next series ATI will be able to control the pricing of their GPUs even more than they currently can.

Nagisan said,
Bad news for all us GPU nuts, if nVidia cant do something amazing with its next series ATI will be able to control the pricing of their GPUs even more than they currently can.

nVidia's 460GTX is best in it's category again. They're back on the right track. And ATi's 6000 serie won't be a big upgrade over the 5000's.

From personal experience, I just bought an ATi card. A 5750 (1GB) after coming from an nVidia 8600GTS (256mb). Yes, my FPS is better. Would I buy ATi again? NO! Their drivers are horrendous. The nVidia control panel allows for a lot of customization and nVidia drivers get updated a lot. I wouldn't mind a few lost FPS just to regain those things. That, and CUDA and PhysX, which, even though you might not use them a lot, they're both very nice when you can use them.

Ambroos said,

nVidia's 460GTX is best in it's category again. They're back on the right track. And ATi's 6000 serie won't be a big upgrade over the 5000's.

The 6000 series will be enough of a jump to bring ATI back to the top, also, it has been awhile since I looked, but ATI's cards have generally offered very similar performance to the same range nVidia card, for a lower price. Did nVidia lower its prices to be more competitive?

Ambroos said,
From personal experience, I just bought an ATi card. A 5750 (1GB) after coming from an nVidia 8600GTS (256mb). Yes, my FPS is better. Would I buy ATi again? NO! Their drivers are horrendous. The nVidia control panel allows for a lot of customization and nVidia drivers get updated a lot. I wouldn't mind a few lost FPS just to regain those things.
I have found the customazation on ATI cards to be plenty, the ONLY thing ATI drivers are lacking is game-sepcific profiles, which is not something I personally use, but will agree in that nVidia did better on that aspect. As for drivers, how often does nVidia release a new driver? ATI releases driver updates every month, sure they do not release beta's of their drivers, but they are already pressed for time giving their users monthly official driver releases, them releasing beta drivers would likely lead to lots of complaints of the beta drivers crashing and causing issues. I will gladly stick with monthly stable releases over nVidias beta releases and a stable driver release every couple months at best.

Ambroos said,
That, and CUDA and PhysX, which, even though you might not use them a lot, they're both very nice when you can use them.

CUDA and PhysX are both crap IMHO. nVidia and ATI both need to drop the proprietary standards for general processing on their GPUs, as well as physics engines designed only to run on their GPUs and go with open standards. Then the development world can focus on making that open standard better instead of focusing on one or the other GPU.

I say do away with ATI Stream, CUDA, PhysX and what not, and bring on DirectCompute or OpenCL. Instead of building a phsyics engine on PhysX, build it on DirectCompute/OpenCL so developers are not forced to use crappy locked down standards that only half of their customers can take advantage of.

All nVidia is doing with CUDA and PhysX is separating the GPU enthusiast world. One side will say "OMG CUDA AND PHYSX ARE SWEET AND ARE THE FUTURE OMG", and the other will say "OMG CUDA AND PHYSX SUCK AND ARE A GIMMICK", I personally think nVidia needs to bury a grave for both and move to open standards instead of trying to force developers to pick them over their competitors, its really a dick move by nVidia to keep pushing them both as the best solution simply because they want to make an extra buck from developers and some extra cash by people who keep buying their products just for nVidia-only standards when they could instead pick either and get the same stuff if both moved to an open standard.

ati might release a new driver every single month, but most of them are terrible and buggy. it took ati six months to get a decent driver for the 5000 series with 10.3, and drivers since and including 10.5 have been awful.
99% of nvidia whql drivers are rock solid, and if they do have issues they are pulled immediately.
as for physx, there is no open physics engine out. there's physx and havoc, and there must be a reason why devs are using physx over havoc these days. nvidia did try to license physx and cuda to ati, but ati just weren't interested if it cost them anymoney. yep they wanted something nvidia spent time and money on for free asa feature for their video cards.
my real world experiences with nvidia compared to my real world experiences with ati are nothing but favourable for nvidia and nothing but bad for ati. and i've seen nothing but glowing reviews from people who switched from ati to nvidia.
it's popular to hate nvidia right now, but imho, once the dust settles down and people say, hey my ati card kinda sucked compared to my last nvidia card, what with all teh gsod's and low fps and low image quality and no physx and everything else, there's a good chance they'll go back to nvidia.

as for the 6000 series, i have doubts based on the rumours and news on it they'll be able to gain much of performance bump without going hot and high power draw like their older series' luckily their AIB partners invested heavily in aggressive non reference cooling thanks to such lines as the 4000 series and all it's issues, so maybe it won't hurt them as much.
but it won't be worth while for a 5000 series owner to upgrade to a 6000 series card by a long shot, especially if it means spending six months dealing with problems until a decent driver is released again.
whereas for all we know the 500 series from nvidia is right around the corner too, or the 485 etc refreshes from nvidia can compete against the 6000 series cards on price and performance.
and speaking of price, nvidia has already dropped prices on their cards substantially to compete heavily against ati in performance per dollar. when a $300 470 beats a $400 5870 in fps in every game but bc2, which is the case right now.
but like i said it's popular to hate nvidia right now. and to care about things no one has ever cared about until this generation and totally freak out about it.

treemonster said,
ati might release a new driver every single month, but most of them are terrible and buggy. it took ati six months to get a decent driver for the 5000 series with 10.3, and drivers since and including 10.5 have been awful.

I got my 4890 back when it came out and have NEVER had a driver issue with it. 90% of the driver issues I have seen are with crossfire setups, the other 10% are either rare issues, issues being worked on (hard to fix an newly found issue in a months time, especially when the drivers are WHQL which generally takes a week or more AFTER ATI has finished them), or other conflicts with the rest of the users hardware.

treemonster said,
99% of nvidia whql drivers are rock solid, and if they do have issues they are pulled immediately.
as for physx, there is no open physics engine out. there's physx and havoc, and there must be a reason why devs are using physx over havoc these days. nvidia did try to license physx and cuda to ati, but ati just weren't interested if it cost them anymoney. yep they wanted something nvidia spent time and money on for free asa feature for their video cards.

I cannot recall a time that ATI has had drivers that were bad enough that they had to be pulled so they didn't kill more hardware, nVidia has had that happened, and much more, which is why they have had to pull drivers.

As for PhysX, again, the reason there is no open physics engine is because nVidia and ATI are not willing to support it. Wait until more people get cards that can take advantage of DirectCompute, guarantee you that you will see open physics engines built upon it, yet you will still see nVidia pushing PhysX. Developers are sticking to PhysX because in the past nVidia made up a large majority of discrete GPUs, as their market share shrinks, so does the need for developers to stick to PhysX.

treemonster said,
my real world experiences with nvidia compared to my real world experiences with ati are nothing but favourable for nvidia and nothing but bad for ati. and i've seen nothing but glowing reviews from people who switched from ati to nvidia.

Mine is just the opposite, I have NEVER had an issue with ATI cards in the past, and the few nVidia cards I had either died early (6600 GT which died after 3 months), or had multiple other issues (SLI 7800GTX, ended up pulling one out and running a single one due to all the headaches). Granted I have not ran Crossfire so I cannot compare ATI to my last nVidia card in terms of issues, I have never had an ATI card die early on me. In fact, my friend is still using my 4850 I sold him over a year ago and its running great for him, he has never complained once about it.

treemonster said,
it's popular to hate nvidia right now, but imho, once the dust settles down and people say, hey my ati card kinda sucked compared to my last nvidia card, what with all teh gsod's and low fps and low image quality and no physx and everything else, there's a good chance they'll go back to nvidia.
It depends on your own experiences have been. My last two ATI cards rocked compared to the nVidia card I had before that. Not to mention my old laptop had an nVidia GPU in it that just flat out sucked. It wasn't overheated or anything, but any kind of 3D load and it would crash within 30 minutes. I will gladly take no PhysX if it means I get a better GPU for cheaper, as far as image quality goes it depends on the game, I have seen ATI in the past praised over its superior IQ to nVidia, though it generally gets lower FPS, it has (in the past at least) offered superior IQ in my experience.

Like I said, much of what we are arguing about is useless, 90% of it is opinionated, and the 10% that is fact is not enough to say one side is better than the other. I have never had driver issues with ATI, never had an ATI GPU die on me, and never bought into the PhysX hype that is on its way out (notice how not many games support PhysX, and it doesn't seem like many being made right now will?). And since on the contrary, I HAVE had issues with nVidia GPUs where I have not had issues with ATI GPUs, I am more likely to continue buying ATI.

Beyond that, nVidia generally has the highest performance options, while ATI has the best performance:price ratio. If things stay that way (they have been that way since the 4000 series) then people are more likely to buy ATI unless they want the top performance and have the money to spend.

As for the 6000 series, nobody knows the kind of performance increases it will bring, but based on how close the 5000 series is the nVidia's GTX400 series, its almost guaranteed that the 6000 series will be faster. And considering the GTX400 series is extremely new, I highly doubt nVidia will have the GTX500 series out within even a few months of ATIs 6000 series.

Also, I am not sure why you are pulling things out of your rear. The 5870 beats the 470 in most benchmarks, there are a few, but not many, cases where the 470 wins over the 5870, so maybe thats why the 5870 is more expensive? You know, a $400 GPU beats a $300 GPU in almost every game? Makes sense doesn't it?

the internet tends to disagree with you on teh whole driver thing.

ati doesn't pull drivers down no matter what. forget the details on this one, but they've had some very bad drivers for the 5000 series, and i've seen plenty of reports with these same drivers causing issues for 4000 series owners.

the one driver from nvidia that killed hardware? pulled within 24 hours of going up.

people have varying experiences with either brand, and for failed cards that's what warranties and RMA are for.

as for the 6000 series, ati fans seem to be setting a pretty tight schedule for it to release based on mere rumours. and extremely high expectations. let's see if it can live up to those wishes.

as for the 470 and 5870 debate, read some more recent reviews featuring both of them(such as a 460 review)

Nagisan said,

The 6000 series will be enough of a jump to bring ATI back to the top, also, it has been awhile since I looked, but ATI's cards have generally offered very similar performance to the same range nVidia card, for a lower price. Did nVidia lower its prices to be more competitive?

I have found the customazation on ATI cards to be plenty, the ONLY thing ATI drivers are lacking is game-sepcific profiles, which is not something I personally use, but will agree in that nVidia did better on that aspect. As for drivers, how often does nVidia release a new driver? ATI releases driver updates every month, sure they do not release beta's of their drivers, but they are already pressed for time giving their users monthly official driver releases, them releasing beta drivers would likely lead to lots of complaints of the beta drivers crashing and causing issues. I will gladly stick with monthly stable releases over nVidias beta releases and a stable driver release every couple months at best.


CUDA and PhysX are both crap IMHO. nVidia and ATI both need to drop the proprietary standards for general processing on their GPUs, as well as physics engines designed only to run on their GPUs and go with open standards. Then the development world can focus on making that open standard better instead of focusing on one or the other GPU.

I say do away with ATI Stream, CUDA, PhysX and what not, and bring on DirectCompute or OpenCL. Instead of building a phsyics engine on PhysX, build it on DirectCompute/OpenCL so developers are not forced to use crappy locked down standards that only half of their customers can take advantage of.

All nVidia is doing with CUDA and PhysX is separating the GPU enthusiast world. One side will say "OMG CUDA AND PHYSX ARE SWEET AND ARE THE FUTURE OMG", and the other will say "OMG CUDA AND PHYSX SUCK AND ARE A GIMMICK", I personally think nVidia needs to bury a grave for both and move to open standards instead of trying to force developers to pick them over their competitors, its really a dick move by nVidia to keep pushing them both as the best solution simply because they want to make an extra buck from developers and some extra cash by people who keep buying their products just for nVidia-only standards when they could instead pick either and get the same stuff if both moved to an open standard.

Great comment. I completely agree with you.

treemonster said,
the internet tends to disagree with you on teh whole driver thing.

ati doesn't pull drivers down no matter what. forget the details on this one, but they've had some very bad drivers for the 5000 series, and i've seen plenty of reports with these same drivers causing issues for 4000 series owners.

the one driver from nvidia that killed hardware? pulled within 24 hours of going up.

1) There are other people just like me who have had issues with nVidia and none with ATI. So "the internet" is a bit too broad of a statement. The reason ATI doesn't pull drivers is because a large majority of the issues are user-error. The only major errors I have seen people have with ATI drivers come with crossfire setups, I pay attention to some forums (outside of Neowin) with EVERY ATI driver release, and sure there are a few issues that people complain about. But the same thing happens with nVidia releases, and there have not been any major ATI issues I have personally seen since 9.2 or so (back when people were sticking with 8.12, might have the year off by 1, but you get the point). Maybe you just haven't used any recent ATI cards/drivers for any length of time to make your own opinions about them instead of making assumptions off of what you have read?

2) Either way, I have never seen an ATI driver cause as much damage as nVidias killer driver, sure, nVidia pulled the driver shortly after, but it was too late for some, whereas ATI has never let anything like that get past QA. I guarantee you if ATI released a driver that started killing GPUs, it would be pulled just as quickly.

treemonster said,
as for the 470 and 5870 debate, read some more recent reviews featuring both of them(such as a 460 review)

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-460-sli-review/1

In 9 out of 9 GPU tests (that includes 1 benchmarking software and 8 games), the 5870 beats out the 470, sometimes by a small amount, other times by a large amount. The review is from July 13th, just over a month ago.

So again, where did you read that the 470 was better than the 5870? Obviously you didn't get it from researching it.

Maybe instead of telling me to go research it more, you should do so yourself and prove me wrong. After all, I'm the one you are trying to prove wrong, so you should be providing sources to back up your own claim instead of me having to provide sources to prove your claim to be wrong.

Nagisan said,
I cannot recall a time that ATI has had drivers that were bad enough that they had to be pulled so they didn't kill more hardware, nVidia has had that happened, and much more, which is why they have had to pull drivers.

My experience with ATI hardware is that it is bad enough to die without any assistance from software and I am talking about cards built by ATI, not by their partners.

I've had great experience with ATI myself. Well the first ATI card I bought was a 4850 and it ran hot but that was just my particular card but after I got a 4770 and went crossfire I've been pretty happy. The price/performance ratio on my purchases were stellar. A couple drivers from like May-June did cause some issues with my setup though (artifacting/system locks) and had to downgrade temporarily. But last month's driver fixed all my problems so I'm happy. Can't expect every driver to not have problems especially with older generation cards/crossfire setups.

Had a 8600GT before that and ran well and is actually in my dad's system today so I have no real complaints on either side. I just prefer the best price/performance or if I have a system that is particularly crossfire or SLI compatible that might influence my decision as well.

Nagisan said,

I got my 4890 back when it came out and have NEVER had a driver issue with it. 90% of the driver .... sense doesn't it?

If you're trying to convince people with your many long posts that you're an ATI fanboy, welll I have good news for you son; you have succeeded! Congratulations!