Nvidia CEO Refutes Rumors of x86 Chips

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, referring to an analyst report and other rumors that his company would release x86-compatible chips to challenge Intel and AMD, refuted that possibility, saying Nvidia was focused on expanding the reach of its graphics chips products. One analyst had suggested that Nvidia had been hiring ex-Transmeta engineers with the goal of producing x86 processors to protect itself against Intel and AMD, both of which are looking to integrate more graphics capabilities into their CPUs.

Don't look for Nvidia to start cranking out x86-compatible processors.

After announcing Nvidia strong third-quarter financials, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang refuted an analyst report and other rumors that suggested Nvidia may be looking to take on Intel in the x86 chip space.

Talking to analysts and reporters in a conference call, Huang said Nov. 5 that the GPU (graphics processing unit) maker would remain focused on its graphics chips and parallel computing cards offerings.

The question came up after an analyst wrote a report earlier this month suggesting that Nvidia, in order to answer Intel's and Advanced Micro Devices' efforts to integrate greater graphics capabilities into their respective CPUs, would begin making its own x86 processors.

Doug Freedman, an analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, reasoned in his report Nov. 3 that with x86 chips in its portfolio, Nvidia could more aggressively go after such markets as mainstream desktop PCs and notebooks, as well as the burgeoning mini-notebook space with a combined GPU and CPU strategy.

Freedman pointed to the years of rumors about Nvidia eyeing the x86 processor space, possibly by acquiring Via Technologies, another x86 chip maker. However, he also noted that Nvidia recently has hired a number of engineers who used to work for now-defunct Transmeta, a chip maker that offered low-power x86-compatible chips.

With Intel and AMD both looking to add greater graphics capabilities to their processors, the trend is toward creating computing environments that use both GPUs and CPUs.

Nvidia's Huang said the demand for GPU technology is growing rapidly, opening up opportunities for his company's products, giving Nvidia the opportunity to challenge Intel and AMD in such areas as HPC (high-performance computing), cloud computing and video streaming,