NVIDIA + VIA = Low Cost Multimedia PC

A Via CPU, paired with an NVIDIA GPU could be the platform for cheap multimedia computers. The idea is simple: with multimedia applications like a Media Center PC, most of the workload is “fixed”. SDTV resolution is fixed, 1080p resolution is “fixed”, Blu-Ray’s decoding workload is “fixed” and so on…

It means that you can tailor a system that is powerfull enough to address these needs, at the lowest possible cost (a $45 design). That’s what NVIDIA is aiming for, and they have a big advantage over the competition: they can make cheap graphics that actually perform (graphics is the hard part of multimedia). Here, Intel’s huge lead in CPU architecture doesn’t help much, simply because the Via CPU is basically “good enough” to handle these tasks.

The flipside of handling “fixed” function for NVIDIA is that Intel will eventually catch-up to these basic graphics functions, and if they want this market badly enough, they can either try to lower the prices my squeezing their own margins, or use a better manufacturing process to reduce their costs.

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