Nvidia's New Front Against AMD and Intel

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The processor space is changing quickly, with Nvidia's announcements yesterday that it will come out with a "supercomputing" solution and a Hybrid SLI solution by the end of the year.

The supercomputing solution, via a new GPU called "Tesla," will make Nvidia instantly more competitive in the high-performance computing space. The Hybrid SLI solution could shake up system builders, OEMs and software vendors if Nvidia positions it correctly and does its job to ready the channel.


SLI -- or scalable link interface -- is Nvidia's technology that allows a single system to run multiple graphics processors. But, as Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told analysts during a Wednesday briefing, multiple GPUs running in a single system can get very, very hot. A Hybrid SLI is smarter, because even though it provides extra graphics processing capabilities, the technology only turns on when the extra performance is needed. The rest of the time, the extra GPU is asleep.

"This particular design, and this particular technology . . . is effectively 100 miles per gallon and 500 horse power at the same time," Huang said.

That's great for design engineers, but what about the rest of the market? Well, the rest of the market is working hard at developing multimedia content. For example, yesterday's announcement that Youtube will now stream directly to iPhones ensures that multimedia will only get higher-touch and ubiquitous even as devices get smaller. In short: everybody will be a multimedia content producer. Extra GPU power will be an attractive option. Hybrid SLI technology will be an option.

But Nvidia isn't stopping there. The company is working on expanding its GPU-motherboard strategy that will put it deeper into the ring against Intel and AMD. (It already has a single GPU motherboard in the AMD space, and will have one in the Intel space by year's end.)

All this is seems to be leaving Rahul Sood, CTO of Hewlett-Packard's VooDoo PC unit (aka it's Global Gaming Unit), trying to sort it all out:

Whether or not NVIDIA wants to beat Intel at the Centrino game, they certainly want to keep AMD in check. Not only do all three companies compete against one another, but they partner with each other as well.

On a similar note, I think it is risky going head to head against a giant like Intel, and it could prove extremely rewarding or somewhat disastrous for NVIDIA.

For companies that have gone at it in the gaming space for years, this is no game.

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