NVIDIA talks GPU/CPU integration

Written by Brett Thomas

August 14, 2006 | 14:44

Tags: #integrated-gpu #jen-hsun-huang

Companies: #amd #ati #nvidia

With all of the talk about the AMD/ATI merger, we've been waiting patiently to hear what ATI's rival NVIDIA has to say on the state of things. Discussions have bounced everywhere from raytracing to GPUs being included on the CPU die - and in a call to financial analysts, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked a bit about where his company stands.

"In some segments, we could imagine GPUs integrating with CPUs, or CPUs integrating with GPUs. But we’ll approach those segments as it makes sense. Because often times it’s not necessarily one CPU. It could be x86. It could be ASICs, it could be PowerPC. It could be Cell. It could be ARM. It could be something else,” Huang said.

Perhaps that was as obscure for you as it was for us, as it's quite a laundry-list of technology. PowerPC chips and Cell chips are both console markets in any mainstream capacity. The ARM family of processors is led by the Intel XScale in PocketPCs, and is used in a wide variety of mobile applications. And as for ASICs - well, we assume he means just the textbook definition, which leaves it totally depend on design. We think he missed Motorola's 8-pin PICs...

Thankfully, he further went on to clarify what this would actually mean to NVIDIA:
“The reason why the GPU has been separated from the CPU historically is because the two work off of completely different rhythms. And because of the different segmentations and the velocity of innovation, and all of those things, the GPU continues to be a standalone device for the segments in the marketplace that we serve. Our job isn’t really to worry about which is going to integrate which; our job is to make the GPU valuable.”

Our translation: Wherever the market goes (and on whatever processor) in regard to graphics, NVIDIA will be there to help the graphics be the best they can. Though this does acknowledge Huang's awareness for possible benefits of GPU/CPU integration, it allows NVIDIA to just do its own thing until the market pushes the company in one way or another. However, anyone who knows Jen-Hsun Huang's aggressive and usually visionary leadership will tell you that such non-committal probably just means he's keeping his cards tight to his chest for the time being.

Have you got a thought on NVIDIA's statements? Does it leave you feeling like you wish he'd say something a little more affirmative? let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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