NVIDIA and MediaTek want to bring RTX graphics to ARM laptops

Does an ARM Chromebook need ray tracing?

Tyrone Siu / Reuters

What would an ARM-based laptop look like with an RTX graphics card? That's something NVIDIA is exploring together with MediaTek, a company best known for building ARM-based chips. Together, they're building a reference laptop platform that'll support Chromium, Linux and NVIDIA SDKs (software development kits). While it's unclear what, if anything, this partnership will lead to, it's not hard to get excited about the idea of a next-generation Chromebook that's light, energy efficient and equipped with NVIDIA's ray-tracing RTX hardware, even if they inevitably end up being stripped down.

It's also yet another way NVIDIA is banking on ARM. Today, the company also announced an ARM-based chip named Grace, its first datacenter processor. The obvious enemy is Intel and its dominant x86 architecture, but AMD is also a worthy competitor. If the rumors are true, and AMD decides to build its own ARM chip, it could easily integrate its Radeon graphics. And if that happens, NVIDIA will need a lot more than its Tegra hardware to compete.

“MediaTek is the world’s largest supplier of ARM chips, used to power everything from smartphones, Chromebooks, and smart TVs," MediaTek CEO Rick Tsai said in a statement. "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 entire ARM ecosystem.”