Exclusive: Nvidia sets new challenger to Intel to build Arm-based PC chips

Oct 23 (Reuters) – Nvidia ( NVDAO.O ) dominates the market for artificial intelligence computing chips. Now comes Intel’s long-running line of personal computers.

Nvidia has quietly begun designing central processing units (CPUs) that run Microsoft’s ( MSFT.O ) Windows operating system and use Arm Holdings’ ( O9Ty.F ) technology, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The AI ​​chip company’s new venture is part of Microsoft’s effort to help chip companies develop ARM-based processors for Windows PCs. Microsoft’s plans are aimed at Apple, according to preliminary third-quarter data from research firm IDC.

Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD.O ) also plans to make chips for PCs with Kai technology, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Nvidia and AMD could sell PC chips as early as 2025, said one of the people familiar with the matter. Nvidia and AMD will join Qualcomm ( QCOM.O ), which has been making Arm-based chips for laptops since 2016. Tuesday’s event will be attended by Microsoft executives, including vice president of Windows and devices Pawan Dauluri. to reveal more Details about the main chip According to a person familiar with the matter, it was designed by a team of former Apple engineers.

Nvidia shares rose 4.4% and Intel shares fell 2.9% after the Reuters report on Nvidia’s plans. Arm shares rose 3.4%.

Nvidia spokesman Ken Brown, AMD spokeswoman Brandi Marina, Arm spokeswoman Kristen Ray and Microsoft spokesman Pete Wooten declined to comment.

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Efforts by Nvidia, AMD and Qualcomm could shake up the PC sector, long dominated by Intel, but it is under pressure from Apple ( AAPL.O ). Apple’s custom chips have given Mac computers better battery life and faster performance to rival more power-hungry chips. Microsoft executives have noticed how capable Apple’s Arm-based chips are, including AI processing, and want to achieve similar performance, one of the sources said.

In 2016, Microsoft tapped Qualcomm to lead an effort to move the Windows operating system to Arm’s underlying processor architecture, which powers long-running smartphones and their small batteries. Microsoft gave Qualcomm an exclusive deal to make Windows-compatible chips until 2024, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Microsoft has encouraged others to enter the market once the exclusivity agreement expires, the two sources told Reuters.

“Microsoft learned from the ’90s that they didn’t want to depend on Intel again, they didn’t want to depend on one vendor,” said Jay Goldberg, chief executive of financial and strategy consulting firm D2D Advisory. “If Arm really takes off in PC (chips), they’re never going to let Qualcomm be the sole supplier.”

Microsoft is encouraging relevant chipmakers to build advanced AI features into the CPUs they design. The company expects AI-enhanced software like its Copilot to become an increasingly important part of using Windows. To make that a reality, upcoming chips from Nvidia, AMD and others will need to allocate on-chip resources to do so.

Success is not guaranteed if Microsoft and the chip companies proceed with the plans. Software developers have spent decades and billions of dollars writing code for Windows, which runs on the x86 computing architecture, which is owned by Intel but licensed to AMD. System code developed for x86 chips does not run automatically on ARM-based designs, and can pose conversion challenges.

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Intel is also packing AI features into its chips and recently showed off laptop-powered features like ChatGPT directly on the device.

Intel spokesman Will Moss did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AMD’s entry into the Arm-based PC market was previously reported by chip-focused publication SemiAccurate.

Stephen Nellis and Max A. in San Francisco. Czerny’s report; Editing by Kenneth Li and Josie Cao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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