Nvidia said to be prepping AI PC chip with Arm and Blackwell cores

Rivalry in Windows on Arm space would intensify once GPU giant enters the fray

Competition could be heating up in the Windows on Arm space amid talk in the industry that Nvidia is readying a chip pairing next-gen Arm cores with its Blackwell GPU architecture.

Qualcomm has been the chief chipmaker driving Arm-based Windows systems, and Microsoft itself is using that silicon for a new generation of Surface Laptop and Pro tablets. These are just two of 20 "Copilot+ PCs" Qualcomm says its OEM partners are preparing to launch.

But a purported exclusivity agreement between Redmond and the chipmaker for Windows on Arm platforms is said to expire this year, opening up the market to other silicon providers such as Mediatek, which already makes chips for Chromebooks.

Nvidia is looking to join this party, according to the word on the street. The GPU giant is understood to be preparing a system-on-chip (SoC) that pairs Arm's Cortex-X5 core design with GPUs based on its own recently introduced Blackwell architecture.

Arm did not respond to our requests for comment, and Nvidia told us it has "nothing to announce today."

Given Nvidia's investments in all things AI, it would make sense for the company to want a greater slice of the AI PC market, which is coalescing around CPUs with built-in AI acceleration and support for these capabilities in Windows. The company already has its own Grace Arm CPU design, but this is targeted at datacenter applications.

However, Blackwell would seem to be an odd choice for an SoC aimed at laptops, as it is Nvidia's latest high performance GPU design. Yet some reports indicate that Nvidia is set to use a so-far unannounced Blackwell-based RTX GPU aimed at consumers, along with LPDDR6 memory.

Arm's Cortex-X5 is set to be the next iteration of its high performance cores designed for smartphones and laptops, following on from the Cortex-X4 introduced last year. Codenamed Blackhawk, this has yet to be officially announced, but is expected to demonstrate a "substantial performance gain" over existing Arm cores.

Early details of Cortex-X5 were disclosed earlier this year by Patrick Moorhead, CEO at Moor Insights & Strategy, following a briefing with Arm. It will deliver "the largest year-over-year IPC (instructions per cycle) performance increase in five years," he wrote at the time.

The Cortex-X5 is still due to be launched sometime this year, which would suggest that any such Windows on Arm chip would not be seen until next year at the earliest, given that the CPU core, the Blackwell RTX GPU and LPDDR6 memory have all yet to materialize. ®

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