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NVIDIA & Why They Passed on the PS4

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Gamespot’s headline for this article is a bit sensationalist but I don’t believe it’s inaccurate. NVIDIA spun the fact that they were outbid with partial truths.

Outbid

Out of all the hardware manufacturers who could provide chip designs for the console manufacturers, AMD is the only one with competitive CPU and GPU designs. And since AMD can provide both of them, they’re also in the position to offer deeper discounts and outbid the competition.

Intel has a CPU and GPU business but their GPU offering is woefully underpowered for the demands of consoles. NVIDIA has a strong GPU offering but their only CPU offering comes in the form of ARM chips. As for IBM? They only have a CPU design to offer; the console manufacturers will need to head over to AMD or NVIDIA in order to get a GPU solution.

Sony and Microsoft are looking to get the most bang out of their buck and thus AMD was the only logical choice.

Other Priorities

“We’re building a whole bunch of stuff,” continued Tamasi, “and we had to look at console business as an opportunity cost. If we say, did a console, what other piece of our business would we put on hold to chase after that?”

 

“In the end, you only have so many engineers and so much capability, and if you’re going to go off and do chips for Sony or Microsoft, then that’s probably a chip that you’re not doing for some other portion of your business.

NVIDIA’s business centers around mobile, desktop and high performance computing. Those are their focuses and I can understand them not being able to shift resources away from those businesses unless it was worth their trouble aka “if they were given enough bags of money”.

They’ve been rapidly iterating on their Tegra line of SoCs and they just finished contributing to the world’s fastest supercomputer late last year. And according to AnandTech’s podcast, it was only after their work with Cray that they were able to churn out Geforce Titan chips.

Sour Grapes?

Of course any business contract it worth it if you could accomodate it and I’m sure there’s a tinge of sour grapes.

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