updated 09:25 am EDT, Fri August 8, 2008
NVIDIA Transmeta License
NVIDIA today licensed a collection of technologies from Transmeta for $25 million that will potentially improve the power use of the former's graphics and mainboard hardware. The license primarily grants NVIDIA access to LongRun2, a technique to reduce the amount of waste power for processors and similar chips. The approach uses a combination of circuitry and advanced math to reduce the effect of leaking power as processors are made on smaller and smaller manufacturing processes. This lets companies shrink components to make them more complex without having to throttle back clock speed or other elements to avoid creating too much waste power and heat.
The creator of the GeForce and nForce lines also gains access to the original LongRun technology as well as to all of Transmeta's existing and submitted patents, additional power management technology, and "other computing technologies" unnamed as part of the grant.
Neither of the involved companies has described any future products likely to use the technology, though NVIDIA has regularly had to maintain or even decrease clock speeds for its graphics cores as it moves to higher chip densities for the sake of additional features. The firm is also increasingly involved with cellphone and handheld processors through its Tegra line, which is more sensitive to power issues.
The company is also launching into complete notebook platforms in the near future, and is speculated as a possible supplier for new Mac mainboard platforms that would require more efficient components.