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Advanced Micro Devices is unlikely to follow Nvidia Corp. and license its technologies to third-party developers of system-on-chips. By contrast, the company will stick to its semi-custom designs strategy to address previously untapped markets, a good approach from business point view, but a moderate one from market share expansion point of view. Still, licensing is not something completely new for AMD.

On Tuesday Nvidia Corp. said that while it can develop a rich portfolio of solutions, it was not practical to build silicon or systems to address every part of the expanding market. As a result, Nvidia decided to license its GPU cores and visual computing patent portfolio to device manufacturers to serve the needs of a large piece of the market. Initially, Nvidia will license its Kepler graphics technologies, which is the basis for currently shipping GeForce, Quadro and Tesla GPUs, as well as the next-generation Tegra mobile processor codenamed Logan. Licensees will receive all necessary designs, collateral and support to integrate Nvidia’s graphics cores into their devices.

For Nvidia, licensing its Kepler technology will help to fight against ARM and Imagination Technologies as well as to leverage its graphics architecture across a wide range of mobile devices. AMD is also clearly interested in popularization of its architectures. However, the company has no plans to license its GCN or other cores just now.

“We have made no announcements regarding the license of GCN or our graphics IP. […] In additional to our ambidextrous approach, our  semi-custom business offers customers the ability to tap into AMD’s extensive IP portfolio across x86, ARM, multimedia, and of course our industry-leading graphics. This strategy enables customers a level of design capability and customization unlike any other in the industry, as we actually have a team of engineers that collaborate and work with customers to create customized solutions based on AMD IP and customer-specific IP. We are focused on a wide array of markets with this business beyond the traditional PC landscape (smart TVs, set-top-boxes, infrastructure applications, etc.), and in fact, this strategy is the driving force behind AMD powering the next-generation PS4 and Xbox One game consoles,” said Travis William, a spokesman for AMD’s embedded and semi-custom business units, in a conversation with X-bit labs.

The differences between AMD’s and Nvidia’s business approaches are obvious: if Nvidia plans to allow others to integrate its graphics architecture into a wide range of application processors, then AMD wants to design chips with third-party IP for various markets. Nvidia’s approach allows the company’s technologies to be in the infinite number of devices; whereas AMD’s approach is bound to the company’s abilities to design semi-custom chips, which limits the addressable market to several large-scale contracts per year. 

While currently AMD is concentrated on its semi-custom business, in the past ATI Technologies (now AMD’s graphics business unit) licensed its graphics cores to Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo for use inside the chips that power Xbox 360 and Wii consoles. At least openly, AMD has never closed doors to such a business approach.

Tags: AMD, Nvidia, Business, GCN, Radeon

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 06/20/13 02:17:23 AM
Latest comment: 06/23/13 05:25:06 PM
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1. 
I get the feeling AMD are just behind the curve here. Nvidia has been in the market for a while, realised that they aren't big enough to sell complete solutions, and decided that licensing was the next best option.

The likes of Apple and Samsung really don't want to be dependent on any 3rd party for chips. This means not only does Nvidia have little chance, but even big players like Intel and Qualcomm are up against it. ARM without it's draconian licensing restrictions gives Apple/Samsung the power to control their own hardware destiny, unlike x86 where they were locked into whatever Intel felt like giving them.

In that market Nvidia just might manage to license their gpu tech to the big players and stay in the game.
4 0 [Posted by: Dribble  | Date: 06/20/13 02:17:23 AM]
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Quote Semiaccurate "Nvidia licensing it’s Kepler architecture is nothing more than a last-ditch play to keep the stock price from tanking."

Quote VR-Zone "Everyone seems to be benefiting (from the new games consoles) except Nvidia here. The real worry with AMD’s push for unified gaming is that games developers might shirk Nvidia optimizations. If it’s relatively simple to get Xbox One games up and running on PCs with AMD graphics, publishers might not see the need to spend the additional cash to optimize for Nvidia cards. This could be a huge hassle for the majority of PC gamers with existing Nvidia cards, but it would be even worse for Nvidia itself. While AMD has been lagging well behind lately, this PC-console strategy could help it leapfrog its competitors in a meaningful way".

Mr Huang is out of ideas, except to get his secretaries to make up pretty slides of imaginary future products. Nvidia will be non-existent after 2016. Watch the investors flock to AMD.
4 2 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 06/20/13 05:12:34 AM]
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I wouldn't take anything Semiaccurate says serious when it comes to nvidia.
0 1 [Posted by: sanity  | Date: 06/20/13 05:07:43 PM]
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2. 
Unfortunately Nvidia's business model is doomed in a rapidly changing PC world. AMD's APUs are changing the face of the PC world for the better and forever. Discrete CPU/GPU combinations will only be for those with too much money and poor judgment. Nvidia has no future in PCs nor even in portable devices be it game consoles or phones, as AMD has these segments all covered with APUs or SoCs. Nvidia's best option is to sell out to Intel who is desperate to catch up to AMD in APUs.
3 3 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 06/20/13 05:44:28 AM]
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Intel aren't desperate at all. Look at the Steam hardware survey, and it's Intel graphics that have made the inroads - despite their lack of performance. AMD might make more of an impact with HUMA and the next-gen consoles, but that's still to be seen.

Nvidia is better placed in the mobile space than AMD, AMD's ARM overtures seem firmly in the server space.
1 1 [Posted by: hahnchen  | Date: 06/20/13 06:54:37 AM]
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3. 
Discrete CPU/GPU combinations will only be for those with too much money and poor judgment.


Too much money... discutable, poor judgment, I don't think so.
APU's performance are getting better and better, it's true, but performance levels are not sufficient for hard core gamers, graphic designers, videos specialists and many other professionals. I don't think it will happen anytime soon either.

Like Linux said tough, I also believe that publishers might drop Nvidia optimisation in the near future. It's precisely why I went for a Radeon 7970.

Still, this battle is quite interesting to follow. Times are changing and we're lucky enough to witness all of this.

Anton, in the next pool, how about asking people about what graphic technologies they will be upgrading to this fall?
1 0 [Posted by: MHudon  | Date: 06/20/13 01:06:44 PM]
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4. 
Apple already has an excellent in house design team, taking the ARM instruction set, making and custom engineering a CPU that runs their Phones and tablets! I am sure Apple could take the Nvidia IP, and create an Apple "APU" from the ARM 64 instruction set! Apple could make a 12 or 16 core Apple customizied ARM/Nvidia APU type processor/graphics chip that could replace the lower performing high cost Haswell chips that Apple uses in the macbook air, and with Nvidia graphics it would not be very hard for an Apple Multi-ARM CPU/Nvidia GPU to best Intel's iris graphics! AMD better start licensing its IP also, beacuse the whole industry is heading towards a Liscensed IP model, starting with ARM holdings, imagination technologies , and others! ARM is taking over everywhere, and already owns the mobile sector! The next level will begin with server grade ARM chips modified to run inside laptops and utilizing their GPUs for graphics and GPGPU! This conversion is starting with the lower power chromebooks and will progress to laptops that were traditionally powered by Intel core i3, i5, and AMD x86 processors, such as the macbook air and bottom tier ultrabooks! Get ready for the Multi-Core wars, as computer OEMs switch to the new Liscensed CPU/GPU IP based processor chips made by any number of new and established custom processor companys, and its x86 vurses ARM! ARM chips are so inexpensive and now, with Nvidia IP for sell, the attraction of custom ARM CPU/GPU solutions over high cost x86 will be too good to pass up!
0 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 06/23/13 05:25:06 PM]
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