In a move that probably doesn't come as a massive surprise to many, Nvidia's CEO, Jensen Huang, has claimed that we could see Nvidia branded CPUs in the not so distant future.
In a conference call earlier in the week and collated by Tom's Hardware, TheNextPlatform's Timothy Prickett Morgan asked Huang, "will you actually take an implementation of something like Neoverse first and make an Nvidia-branded CPU to drive it into the data center? Will you actually make the reference chip for those who just want it and actually help them run it?"
Huang's response? At first, he pointed out it was an "amazing observation" continuing to add "...Now with our backing and Arm’s serious backing, the world can stand on that foundation and realize that they can build server CPUs. Now, some people would like to license the cores and build a CPU themselves. Some people may decide to license the cores and ask us to build those CPUs or modify ours."
He finished with, "it is not possible for one company to build every single version of them but we will have the entire network of partners around Arm that can take the architectures we come up with and depending on what's best for them, whether licensing the core, having a semi-custom chip made, or having a chip that we made, any of those any of those options are available. Any of those options are available, we're open for business and we would like the ecosystem to be as rich as possible, with as many options as possible."
So, effectively, Nvidia is interested in doing more, both in terms of custom orders and for CPUs developed solely by them. It sounds like data centres could be the first port of call for such an excursion but it's probably not going to happen that soon. At least not just yet.
In recent times, Huang has demonstrated his ability to create hype before concrete announcements but we can't but be intrigued here.
The potential for expansion is certainly there given Nvidia's recent acquisition of Arm which suggests the firm could start work on designing custom chips reasonably soon. Production and refinement won't be quick though and there are plenty of other options for Nvidia. It could work on GPU optimisation first instead, for instance. No doubt meetings are commencing right now as to what the plan is to ensure that Nvidia gets the most from its $40 billion acquisition.
What we do know is that Nvidia obviously has some highly ambitious plans to extend its reach even further than it has already accomplished.
October 15 2020 | 14:00