It is possible that NVIDIA will add firewall capabilities into its Athlon 64-chipsets next year.
Sources close to NVIDIA’s partners said firewall capabilities will be present in some of the company’s core-logic products, including in code-named CK8-04 that will be mass produced in the third quarter 2004 and the CK8S2. The former is anticipated to be a single-chip logic that will boast with support for PCI Express x16 (PEG x16), PCI Express x2 as well as 10 USB 2.0 ports. The latter – CK8S2 – will be a version of nForce3 250 designed for Socket 939 processors.
It is not fully clear whether NVIDIA’s firewall technology utilises both hardware and software means, or will rely fully on silicon, not software
The trend for safe computing is very popular these days. Some CPU makers, such as Transmeta or VIA Technologies, have added special encryption engines into several of their microprocessors. Leading chipmakers Intel Corporation and Advanced Micro Devices are also likely to bring their security mechanisms with their future chips. However, these companies’ intentions are more solid compared to those of minor players of the market. Intel Prescott chips – the next-generation Pentium 4 with SSE3 technology CPUs – will sport the code-named La Grande security technology that helps to create safer computing environments for e-Business, enabling protected execution, memory and storage. AMD is projected to build support for Microsoft's Next-Generation Secure Computing Base code-named Palladium into future generations of its microprocessors, such as AMD K9.
NVIDIA surely does not want to be behind the train and will add its developments in the security area. Given that one of the target markets for AMD Athlon 64 microprocessors are enterprise workstations, firewall may be an interesting option to decrease the cost of such computers as well as the cost of their ownership. Additionally, the Santa Clara, California-based fabless semiconductor company is expected to support all mainstream security technologies, such as Palladium, in its upcoming products too.