NVIDIA’s Licenses its Intellectual Property; Starts Build Your Own GPU Club…

In the fast changing silicon world a company needs to be nimble, NVIDIA is such a company. The jolly green giant of graphics companies is preparing to take the radical step of licensing its Intellectual Property, allowing other companies to produce chips using NVIDIA’s technology.

The fast paced growth of the mobile sector along with the success of ARM and PowerVR, the two dominant companies in the mobile sector, has to be a major motivation for NVIDIA. While NVIDIA already sells its own Tegra all in one chipset to manufacturers selling its IP to chip designers opens up markets for the company.

NVIDIA’s initial portfolio will include Kepler graphics core designs, visual compute technology and rumors suggest eventually they will add their LTE modem technology. Being a new market for NVIDIA it will take time to build the eco-system around their new IP products. To date there are no customers for the new offerings but it is early days.

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NVIDIA EVP David Shannon wrote yesterday on his blog “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 Smartphone’s to supercomputers.”

The traditional PC market may be going through major adjustments at the moment but this is still the bread and butter market for NVIDIA’s products, for the foreseeable future. Supercomputers, cloud gaming and mobile are all being tested by NVIDIA, to varying levels of success.

Many large corporations will wait for trouble before they learn to be light on their feet, Microsoft is possibly the best example of this in the last decade. NVIDIA is not in this group, they are a company with happy feet, a company willing to test new markets.

Reference NVIDIA Blog