Should Apple buy Nvidia?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by glis, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. glis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #1
    Nvidia is shaping up to become the main competitor in the tablet CPU space. The Tegra 3 will have 4 CPU cores and 12 GPU cores with about 5 times the performance of the Tegra 2. Apple is getting into a performance race with Nvidia and the Tegra line is becoming increasingly hard to beat.

    Should Apple buy Nvidia outright? This would be a massive setback for all iPad competitors and it would add valuable expertise and IP to Apple's portfolio. Nvidia's market cap of $8 billion is just pocket change for Apple.
     
  2. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #2
    It's always alarming to read that. I don't want a setback for competitors. Competition is good for us (the consumers).
     
  3. BergerFan macrumors 68020

    BergerFan

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    #3
    Tegra 2 was supposed to be the OMG-super chipset. Anyways: :D
     
  4. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    Canada
    #4
    You sure about this? Main competitor to who else?

    Because at the moment there's an iPad market - and it's expanding in a big way. The rest of the tablet market is a bit . . . flaccid. And it looks like it'll be an iPad market for a while longer.

    iPads don't use Nvidia CPUs. Apple continues to develop the A-series.
     
  5. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #5
    Apple are free to use nvidia's chips if they want to. Right now, they don't want to, because despite all the hype the tegra 2 turned out to be quite slow. The A5 GPU is much, much faster.

    But anyway, you do realise that nvidia don't design the CPU part? They license it from ARM. Apple license the same design from ARM. Samsung and all the other tablet processor makers? They also license it from ARM. They all tweak it a bit, and add a GPU and other bits, that's all. As it is, apple is some way ahead on performance, why would they want to buy nvidia who are (as of right now) producing slower chips?

    Also, this "It's going to have X cores" thing. For the CPU, yes, it's a good thing, but each core is likely to be similar in speed (or possibly slower!) compared to the current CPUs. More of them, but perhaps slower. Most apps don't use 2 cores yet, so what will 4 get you? It'll get you a bigger chip, that eats battery faster, and you probably won't see much speed improvement.

    The GPU cores are somewhat meaningless, it can have 1,000 cores and still be slow, or it can have just 1 super fast one. All that matters is the speed it can make pretty pictures at, the feature set (so we devs can make the pictures prettier), how much power it needs, and most of all it needs plenty of software that will use it well.

    There's very little software that uses the A5 GPU fully still. On android, there's likely even less that takes advantage even of the tegra 2. Again, more power might not get you much real benefit.

    Last point on that: apple used imagination's SGX 543MP core in the A5. That chip is multi-core. Apple went with 2 cores, but they COULD have gone for 4 or even 8. But very little software will use even the power of 2 cores, and battery life would go down, so it seems they made the right choice, no?

    Having said all that, I'm finding the ipad 2 somewhat underpowered for my current app, and wish it was quad core with a much faster gpu :D
     
  6. kenypowa macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    judging from recent history, it's far more likely Apple will file a patent lawsuit against Nvidia for infringing its patents that are filed 15 years ago.
     
  7. SA22C macrumors regular

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    Mar 10, 2010
    Location:
    Top Gear Test Track.
    #7
    Why buy nVidia when Apple's own chip team has been doing great things combining ARM CPU and SGX CPU with Apple logic? The iPad 2 has a slightly faster CPU and a much faster GPU than Tegra 2 and still manages to get better battery life than the competition so far. The next Apple A-series chip isn't going to stand still, so rest assured: you will see quad core and beyond in future iPad models.
     
  8. tstarks33 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    #8
    Yeah, when Microsoft bought Yahoo, I thought for sure Google was dead. But then Google bought a dinosaur and opened up that theme park to raise money. Thank god!
     
  9. gpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
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    Italy
    #9
    No, but they should buy RIM once the price lowers a little more. Kill that ancient beast called the BlackBerry, integrate BBM with iMessage, and make iPhone the next "must have" in business world.
     
  10. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Aug 29, 2006
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    Washington DC
    #10
    Did I step into an alternate dimension where Microsoft bought Yahoo? Why is there more than one person saying this in the same thread?

    Was time-travel somehow involved in this? Usually that's the prime cause of alternate dimensions.
     
  11. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #11
    The first one is clearly mistaken. The second one also mentions google opening a dinosaur theme park, perhaps it's not entirely serious?
     
  12. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    #12
    A sign that the timeline is slowly being fixed by someone or something. Thank god.
     
  13. Meanee macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 8, 2011
    #13
    With the same logic, you can say that Apple should buy Qualcomm. It's Scorpion TOC is a serious competitor to current Tegra and Apple's A4. The Adreno 220 is a bit more powerful than sgx543mp2. And unlike nVidia, Qualcomm is not mainly focused on desktop GPUs and chipsets.

    And hopefully introduce the actual true Push email delivery that delivers messages as they come in, not current iPhone or iPad's "Yea, I will deliver it. Eventually. If you ask me nicely. And slaughter a goat in a sacrificial ceremony" Exchange delivery.
     
  14. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #14
    Both mobileme and gmail are pretty much instant for me. As in sometimes it arrives on my phone before I hear the 'email sent' sound from my desktop.
     
  15. Meanee macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 8, 2011
    #15
    Yes, gmail is pretty responsive. I do not use mobile me, so can't say. But Microsoft Exchange is just insanely bad. We have 3 ipads in a company (not counting mine) and I constantly have to hear this from executives. They think it's our network because Apple products are too perfect for them not to work. :rolleyes:
     
  16. gpat macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 1, 2011
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    Italy
    #16
    i actually use gmail with exchange on my ipad (selecting "gmail" in the setup somehow prevents contacts from being synced) and it's pretty much flawless..
     
  17. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

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    Dec 18, 2009
    #17
    Why would it be a such massive setback? Both TI and Qualcomm provide chips that are very competitive against Tegra2, if not better in some aspects, in OMAP and Snapdragon, and there's no reason to think that will discontinue in the future. Qualcomm, ARM and PowerVR all have great GPUs in their pipeline that will be more than fast enough for most games on the market.

    With so many companies producing CPUs based on the same ARM architecture or its derivatives, there will always be other companies who will provide ARM chips of competitive performance even if nVidia disappears tomorrow. It's more about battery management and using the optimized software.
     
  18. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #18
    If Apple bought Nvidia to control or restrict access to Tegra processors on the part of competitors in the smartphone and tablet business it would be clearly in violation of US and international competition and anti-trust laws.

    That is simply not the way Apple operates. Apple may very well continue to invest in companies that supply strategic components and materials for its own use. This is a perfectly legitimate business practice.

    But buying a chipmaker to choke off or restrict supplies to its competitors? Thats such a non-starter, its not even worth discussing.
     
  19. Jagardn macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 18, 2011
    #19
    Apple bought P.A. Semi so they could design their own chips and they seem to be doing a pretty damn good job of it. :D
     
  20. vvswarup macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 21, 2010
    #20
    I doubt the government will let Apple buy Nvidia.
     
  21. psonice macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 22, 2005
    #21
    Actually, maybe this will help people understand why the tegra is so damn good:

    Marketing.

    The chip itself is really nothing special (at least the current generation, the last gen was quite poor). But it's been very well hyped by nvidia. The next gen chip is currently being hyped plenty, so lots of people have heard how awesome it's going to be.

    Have you heard how awesome the A6 will be? How about qualcomms next chip, or samsungs? They'll all likely be competitive with nvidia's kal-el chip, some will likely be faster. But none of them will match nvidia's marketing ;)
     
  22. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

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    Dec 18, 2009
    #22
    That's the thing. Sony really used the chip marketing well with "Emotion Engine" and "Cell," and I guess nVidia learnt something from that. Tegra2 has been oddly popular with tech geeks considering how mediocre its performance is. OMAP4, Snapdragon(Adreno 220 ones), A5, Exynos, etc all at least closely match Tegra2's performance and outperform its GPU, often by a large margin.

    Since nVidia uses the ARM architecture and uses an outside fab(TSMC) to produce Tegar2 chips, there's no reason to think nVidia will somehow be way ahead of others. There are some difference between the chips and especially the supporting issue, but by and large the basic processing speed of the chips are pretty similar on the same generation. The GPUs can differ quite a bit, but seeing the roadmaps of future GPUs of ARM, PowerVR, nVidia, Qualcomm etc, there'll be more than plenty of fast GPUs outside nVidia's.
     
  23. GnillGnoll macrumors member

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    Sep 16, 2009
    #23
    It's not even close.
     
  24. blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 19, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    I'm not sure that nvidia really had to do that much in the way of marketing specifically for the Tegra 2. They have a really big following amongst PC enthusiasts so I think there was just an assumption that they would easily beat the other mobile contenders just because they were nvidia. Of course it took a huge amount of effort in both R&D and marketing to generate nvidia reputation in the PC market.
     
  25. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    #25
    They've been doing quite a lot of marketing for it. This kind of illustrates it:

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/tegra.html

    http://www.imgtec.com/powervr/powervr-graphics.asp
     

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