Last week NVIDIA licensed Transmeta's LongRun technologies for $25 million and PC World writes the firm might use these power-management technologies to make its mobile chips like the upcoming Tegra processors more efficient. It's also speculated that this technology could avoid chips overheating due to thermal stress:
The technology could apply to Nvidia's system-on-chip for cell phones announced earlier this year, called Tegra, which includes a graphics processor. Specific details about products with LongRun-based technology will be announced in the future, said Derek Perez, an Nvidia spokesman.
"We are using power-management technologies already, but with their LongRun Technology, we can leverage this technology to improve the power/performance metrics of our products moving forward," Perez said.
The technology may go into Nvidia's traditional graphics chips as a power-management tool to avoid chips overheating due to thermal stress, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. In May, Nvidia reported some of its graphics chips had failed due to thermal stress.
The deal doesn't appear to bring Nvidia closer to building x86 chips that would compete against those of Intel and AMD, a move that has been widely rumored. Although Transmeta has made x86 chips in the past, including Crusoe, this agreement doesn't give Nvidia a license to execute x86 code on its chips, Brookwood said. The move is more relevant to developing circuits designed to reduce leakage and save power, and not a passage for Nvidia to enter the x86 market to compete with Intel, he said.