Rene Haas, general manager of Nvidia’s notebook division, was kind enough to offer us a cup of Starbuck’s coffee at Nvidia’s headquarters, and talk about some of the company’s mobile plans.
He was energized with the success of his group, as Nvidia got more than 200 design wins on Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform. Last time we met Rene, almost a year to the day, he mentioned external graphics and hinted that Nvidia might go down that road, a road less travelled.
He didn’t mention much more than that, he merely said that Nvidia was still working on it, so stay tuned for an update. Thunderbolt connectivity was mentioned in the conversation, giving us the impression that this might the connection of a choice, but this was not confirmed by Nvidia’s mobile boss.
We got a feeling that we might see this external graphics materializing in 2012 and with 28nm Nvidia mobile chips, but this is not something we got confirmed or denied at this time.
The bottom line is, external graphics with Nvidia chips inside are happening, something that might be the future for a number of Nvidia add-in-board partners who might end up selling external graphics, as the desktop graphics market dwindles. EVGA, Gainward, Asus, MSI, XFX, TGT and other usual suspects might resort to selling notebook external cards.
This sounds like a decent model for the future and one of the ways AIBs could maintain their revenues at reasonable levels. Also, bear in mind that AMD pioneered external graphics three years ago with XGP and it is still in the game. Sony’s Vaio Z, introduced last May, offers optional AMD external graphics via Thunderbolt.