Aside from GeForce Now, we don’t spill a lot of digital ink covering news about NVIDIA but that may no longer be the case. In a blog post that was focused mainly on NVIDIA’s expansion of ARM-based silicon, the behemoth GPU-maker slid in a little morsel that could have an enormous impact on the Chrome OS ecosystem.
In the press release for NVIDIA’s annual GTC conference, the company announced its collaboration with MediaTek to bring RTX GPUs to future notebooks that would run alongside ARM-powered SoCs. NVIDIA didn’t specifically mention Chromebooks but they did point to reference platforms that run Chromium as well as Linux.
In PCs, NVIDIA is working with MediaTek, the world’s largest supplier of smartphone chips, to create a new class of notebooks powered by an Arm-based CPU alongside an NVIDIA RTX GPU.
The notebooks will use Arm cores and NVIDIA graphics to give consumers energy-efficient portables with no-compromise media capabilities based on a reference platform that supports Chromium, Linux and NVIDIA SDKs.
No timeline was given for when we might see this collaboration flesh out but given MediaTek’s extensive investment in the Chrome OS platform, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see NVIDIA’s RTX pop up in the repository over the next few months. This is big news for Chrome OS users as we prepare for the highly anticipated Tiger Lake CPUs from Intel that will feature Iris Xe graphics. These Intel chips may offer the first-ever performance-focused graphics in a Chromebook. That said, the power-friendly nature of ARM combined with NVIDIA’s powerful GPUs could be a match made in heaven for users wanting the best of both worlds.
I really feel as if this move by NVIDIA is part of a larger initiative in which Google is looking to make Chrome OS the all-inclusive operating system. For those wanting simple, lightweight web browsing, Chrome OS is perfect as a stand-alone system but the addition of the Linux app environment, Parallels, Steam, and other VMs could allow Chromebooks to offer its services to any and all users regardless of the software they may need. With RTX graphics onboard, there will be very little (if anything) you won’t be able to do on Chrome OS and that’s a very exciting proposition.