When it comes to building central processing units, chip designer NVIDIA Corporation is determined to take the ball to chip titan Intel Corporation’s proverbial court (CPUs). NVIDIA is the largest graphics processing unit (GPU) designer in the world and is often credited with inventing the modern GPU.
Advances in semiconductor fabrication, combined with the growing amount of data generated by corporations and consumers, have resulted in the GPU playing a significant role in large-scale enterprise use cases like data centers, with recent market surveys indicating that NVIDIA is the market leader in the data center GPU market.
However, the company lacks a product in the data center CPU category, and it is actively pursuing the acquisition of British design house Arm Ltd in this regard. Even though the purchase attempt is not going as planned, NVIDIA is moving forward with its plans to develop a data center CPU. This is demonstrated by NVIDIA’s new research and development center in Israel, which will expand its capabilities to encompass CPU research.
According to Globes and the Times of Israel, the American chipmaker has expanded its R&D activities in the Middle Eastern country to include CPUs. Mr. Michael Kagan, NVIDIA’s chief technical officer, is quoted as saying:
“Israel, with its unique wealth of talent, is a key player in the global tech ecosystem, and we are excited to be creating a new CPU group here,” said Michael Kagan, Nvidia’s chief technology officer in a statement Tuesday. “We look forward to further growing our local R&D activities both in this area and in our extensive work supporting the local ecosystem through unique programs for startups and developers,”
In April of last year, NVIDIA introduced their first CPU, codenamed Grace. Grace will only be available to data center customers and will be built on the Arm instruction set architecture (ISA).
The announcement of increased R&D in Israel comes as Intel, the world’s top chip designer by market capitalization, continues to face legal challenges in numerous jurisdictions over its multibillion-dollar acquisition of British design house Arm Ltd. The deal was announced by NVIDIA in September 2020, and it is currently being scrutinized in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States has taken legal action against NVIDIA for participating in an agreement that the FTC believes will result in substantial anticompetitive effects. Similarly, the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned that the transaction could put Arm’s customers at a disadvantage because NVIDIA will be able to block them from acquiring the British company’s designs, which have grown common in the technology industry.
In its most recent file with the CMA, NVIDIA refuted these assertions. Instead of generating anticompetitive externalities, the business thinks that its takeover bid will ensure Arm’s ability to compete in the data center CPU market.
NVIDIA believes Intel Corporation and other firms such as Qualcomm Incorporated do not want the agreement to go through because NVIDIA and Arm will be able to offer a data center alternative to Intel’s x86 CPUs. It has also told the CMA that if the deal does not go through, Arm will have little incentive to develop data center technologies, cementing Intel’s position as the world’s largest data center CPU provider.