NVIDIA announced yesterday that it will engage in licensing its graphics designs to third parties. HotHardware picked up the news and writes NVIDIA will start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, allowing other firms like smartphone makers to use the basic design and add other elements.
In a blog post today, company spokesperson David Shannon writes: "our next step is to license our GPU cores and visual computing patent portfolio to device manufacturers to serve the needs of a large piece of the market... We’ll start by licensing the GPU core based on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture, the world’s most advanced, most efficient GPU. Its DX11, OpenGL 4.3, and GPGPU capabilities, along with vastly superior performance and efficiency, create a new class of licensable GPU cores. Through our efforts designing Tegra into mobile devices, we’ve gained valuable experience designing for the smallest power envelopes. As a result, Kepler can operate in a half-watt power envelope, making it scalable from smartphones to supercomputers."
It's not hard to see why. Imagination Technologies is currently the graphics darling of the mobile industry. It has provided GPU solutions to Apple, Intel, Samsung, and a host of other, smaller players. With Tegra, NVIDIA tackled the market with an all-in-one solution that it hoped would win designs on the strength of its overall performance and mobile graphics. Clearly, NVIDIA now feels it has more to offer beyond just a silicon solution, by licensing its graphics IP separately, rather than trying to entice manufacturers with only packaged silicon.