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NVIDIA prepping chip with x86 emulation for tablet market?

Posted on Friday, August 13 2010 @ 18:02:03 CEST by

Bloomberg journalists heard NVIDIA is working on a new chip for tablet devices that would directly compete with Intel's Atom.

Last year there were some reports of manufacturers that were experimenting with NVIDIA Tegra based netbook, but according to the site these ARM-based devices weren't cheap enough to compete with Intel's Atom processor. The new project on the other hand relies on technology acquired from Transmeta, that uses software to emulate the way Intel's x86 processors work.
The Nvidia project relies on a technology pioneered by Transmeta Corp. that uses software to replicate the way Intel chips work, the people said. Intel, whose processors run more than 80 percent of the world’s PCs, owns the so-called X86 instruction set -- technology that went into its first CPUs in the late-1970s. While Intel licenses the design to AMD, it hasn’t granted one to Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia.


Trying to replicate the performance of Intel chips using software -- an approach Transmeta tried about a decade ago -- hasn’t worked before because it’s hard to deliver enough performance to run computer programs like Microsoft Corp.’s Windows fast enough, according to In-Stat’s McGregor. Intel’s X86 technology has taken over the PC and server industries, displacing companies such as Motorola Inc., whose chips once ran Apple computers.



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