Chips made on ARMs designs have gained prominence amongst PC makers, especially with tech giant Apple choosing to shift from Intel for its Macbooks
NEW DELHI: Chipmaker Intel’s hold on the personal computing market is facing a whole new threat from Nvidia. At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2021, last night, the company — which is known for its graphics chips — showcased a demo of a game called Wolfenstein: Youngblood running on MediaTek’s ARM-based Kompanio 1200 processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 GPU.
This paves the way for laptops that run fully on ARM chips paired with Nvidia’s PC-class gaming GPUs, something that hasn’t been seen so far.
The demo won’t come as a surprise to industry watchers, who have expected such a pairing since the chip giant agreed to buy ARM for $40 billion in September last year. ARM’s chip designs have largely been used for mobile chips, running on every smartphone today but the company has also made inroads into the data center and supercomputer markets.
More recently, chips made on ARMs designs have gained prominence amongst PC makers, especially with tech giant Apple choosing to shift from Intel for its Macbooks. The company started the transition last year, announcing its own M1 chip, which is based on ARM’s designs. Apple has said that it plans to transition completely away from Intel’s chips for all of its personal computing devices by 2023.
Fellow GPU giant, AMD, has also been working with mobile chipmaker Samsung to build synergy between its GPUs and Samsung’s ARM-based chips. The two companies had announced a partnership earlier this year, which will see Samsung’s ARM-based Exynos chips using AMD’s RDNA2 GPU architecture.
While companies like Apple and Microsoft have been pushing for personal computing devices to run on ARM-based chips, Nvidia’s GDC demo also paves the way for gaming laptops on such chips. This is a major development since ARM chips are known for their energy efficiency, making laptops last much longer on battery, and allowing slimmer devices to be created.
These chips should also, in theory, be cheaper than traditional PC chips, though Apple’s M1 Macbooks are being sold at the same price as earlier Intel-powered devices.