Look out, Snapdragon — Nvidia, MediaTek may team up to make chips for AI laptops

Nvidia GPU
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Qualcomm hopes that 2024 will go down as the year of the Snapdragon X Elite processor, as computer makers look for the silicon to power AI PCs. But a new report suggests that Nvidia and MediaTek aren't about to let that happen without a fight.

As reported by Extreme Tech, the processor manufacturers are teaming up with an eye toward creating Arm-based chips for laptops. The original claim comes from a Taiwanese site, which adds that the resulting silicon will be larger and more expensive than mobile-optimized Arm chips.

In recent months, Nvidia has made a concerted effort to shift its focus away from gaming with moves into the AI space. The company has created AI bots, AI NPCs with Ubisoft and has been pitching the RTX GPU as an option for AI PCs. Qualcomm and Intel have been pushing NPUs with their respective Snapdragon and Ultra chips, but Nvidia is banking on GPUs being just as capable.

Earlier this year, Nvidia unveiled the B100 Blackwell GPU designed specifically for AI. It’s a whole platform that targets commercial enterprises like Microsoft and Google. 

MediaTek is best known for building smartphone silicon. Some of those chips have made their way into midrange and budget phones in the United States, but the chip maker has more of a presence in the Chinese and Indian smartphone markets. That said, MediaTek has also made laptop chips that have appeared in Chromebooks and already partnered with Nvidia on automotive tech. And the company is actively creating some AI-related products including AI processors for mobile phone chips.  

Based on reports, the Nvidia/MediaTek chip will be completed sometime in the third quarter of 2024, but we might not see it in action until 2025.  The new chip is expected to use Arm architecture and TSMC’s 3nm process. 

For now, Qualcomm has the edge in the AI PC market as companies like Lenovo, Dell and Microsoft are already leaning in on the Snapdragon X Elite chipset for laptops coming out this year. And, now that Qualcomm knows it'll have competition, there's some lead time on producing the next generation of AI-based chips. 

Still, competition is good, and it’ll be interesting to see how Qualcomm and the Nvidia/Mediatek team up alters the market in the coming years. 

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.