Speculation over how the three main competitors for market share are going to manage to create a general purpose processing unit capable of handling the duties of both CPU and GPU have been keeping tech analysts busy over the past year and a bit.  With AMD and Intel it has been obvious the path they are most likely to take as they currently have both CPU and GPU products and experience developing them is to find a way to combine their two existing products into a single die or at least a single ZIF chip. 

nVIDIA eyes integrating graphics into a southbridge - General Tech 2

nVIDIA on the other hand has only a GPU line and some experience creating chipsets.  Currently the only mainstream non-GPU is the nForce 200 a chip that is capable of providing and additional 32 PCIe Express 2.0 lanes to any motherboard that has included it in its design.  This is partly because nVIDIA lost the licensing to make memory controllers for Intel processors, though that may change thanks to the recent decision against Intel by the FTC.  In the meantime, DigiTimes has heard tell that nVIDIA will be working on a solution to bypass that by designing a southbridge with an integrated GPU to counter Intel’s northbridge on a CPU.

“Nvidia has recently been developing a chipset that combines the functions of a southbridge and a GPU, with the goal of the product to reduce cost for PC makers as well as create more potential for smaller and lighter devices, according to sources from motherboard makers.

The makers stated that legal considerations, in terms of permission from Intel for Nvidia to participate in the chipset business, should be made smoother by the recent lawsuit the US Fair Trade Commission (FTC) took up with Intel. However, Intel is not expected to start any such negotiations with Nvidia in the near future, the sources speculated.

Therefore, Nvidia is developing the new chipset to bypass Intel’s new Sandy Bridge architecture, which combines CPU and northbridge chipsets. Nvidia’s chipsets is expected to be US$10-15 less than Intel’s standard GPU-integrated southbridge chipsets and makers will no longer need to integrate an extra graphics chip.”

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