Nvidia's Huang shoots down x86 CPU rumors

— 6:00 AM on November 9, 2009

Once again last week, the rumor mill began grinding away about the possibility of Nvidia developing an x86 microprocessor. And, once again, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has shot down the speculation. CNet News got the official line from Huang during Nvidia's latest earnings conference call:

"No," he said when asked if there was any truth to the rumor. "Nvidia's strategy is very, very clear. I'm very straightforward about it. Right now, more than ever, we have to focus on visual and parallel computing."

Huang went on to describe where the chip supplier sees its best opportunities for growth. "Our strategy is to proliferate the GPU (graphics processing unit) into all kinds of platforms for growth," he said. "GPUs in servers for parallel computing, for supercomputing--and cloud computing with our GPU is a fabulous growth opportunity--and streaming video."

"And also getting our GPUs into the lowest power platforms we can imagine and driving mobile computing with it," Huang added, referring to its Tegra chip, which, for example, powers Microsoft's Zune HD media player.

Huang made similar comments in April 2008 in response to the first wave of rumors. Back then, the Nvidia CEO pledged to "open a can of whoop-ass" on Intel in the future battle between Nvidia graphics processors and Larrabee, Intel's upcoming discrete GPU.

The latest rumor originates from a  Broadpoint AmTech analyst who claims Nvidia has been covertly snatching up former Transmeta employees. That analyst believes Nvidia is building an x86 CPU design in-house.

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