NVIDIA, MediaTek plan to equip future Chromebooks with RTX graphics
NVIDIA has revealed a unique partnership with MediaTek at its GPU Technology Conference. NVIDIA will be using the fellow Taiwanese chipmaker's ARM expertise to create SDKs for a reference platform that can eventually herald GeForce graphics to Chromebooks. This could give the usually underpowered Chromebooks access to an energy efficient approach to ray-traced graphics and cutting-edge AI, thanks to NVIDIA's RTX GPUs.
ARM hardware with NVIDIA GPUs coming to Linux, not Windows
This new development isn't restricted to Chromebooks, but also extends to Linux PCs and NVIDIA's own developer kits. Interestingly, support for Windows is conspicuous by its absence, despite some of Microsoft's Surface series of laptops being ARM-based. Just don't expect anything soon, because the reference design has no specific timeline. Actual commercial products combining ARM hardware with RTX GPUs will certainly take longer.
MediaTek CEO Rick Tsai underscores potential of GPU integration
"We look forward to using our technology and working with NVIDIA to bring the power of GPUs to the ARM PC platform for gaming, content creation and much more. GPU acceleration will be a huge boost for the ARM ecosystem," said MediaTeK's CEO Rick Tsai.
GPU integration will allow light gaming and content creation
Tsai mentioned that the RTX GPUs could be used for gaming and content creation. This will indeed extend the utility of Chromebooks from basic web browsing and light productivity tasks to gaming and content creation. However, these Chromebooks would not be able to match the performance of laptops and desktops with discrete graphics due to thermal and power constraints.
Improved hardware with powerful graphics will elevate app quality
Further, the infusion of such RTX GPU-equipped Chromebooks could also improve the quality of software in the ecosystem. The widespread adoption and high volume of devices sporting capable GPUs will prompt app developers to tap into these resources to improve their offerings. With Apple's paradigm shift to ARM-based hardware for Macs, NVIDIA and MediaTek's partnership comes at an opportune time for the masses.