By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm
It’s more than a rumor but less than a fact: Nvidia is apparently considering branching out from its core business of making graphics processors to make system-on-a-chip products that combine a CPU and a GPU on a single chip at some point in the next few years, putting it in the most direct competition imaginable with Intel. The theory–and it certainly sounds plausible–is that SoC designs that pack both a powerful CPU and a powerful GPU will come to dominate the market, leaving a graphics specialist such as Nvidia in a tight spot.
Plenty of companies have tried to compete with Intel over the years; nearly all of them have failed, leaving only AMD and VIA (the latter of which specializes in basic chips for basic devices) still in the game. As a consumer, I love competition, so I hope Nvidia goes for it. Anything that gives Intel reason to be paranoid should help Moore’s Law work its magic of more potent technology at better prices. And if any tech outfit has the combination of ambition, tech chops, and craziness to dive in at this point, it’s probably Nvidia.