NVIDIA and MediaTek are rumored to be developing an Arm-based SoC for PC gaming handhelds

NVIDIA could be expanding is partnership with MediaTek to create a custom Arm-based SoC for PC gaming handhelds like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally.

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Rumors about NVIDIA working with various partners to enter the PC gaming handheld market are heating up. NVIDIA and GeForce are synonymous with gaming, especially when it comes to PCs. However, everything from the Steam Deck to the ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion GO, and handhelds from AYANEO are powered by AMD Ryzen with Radeon hardware.

NVIDIA and MediaTek are rumored to be developing an Arm-based SoC for PC gaming handhelds 01

It's a growing market, and Intel recently entered it by partnering with MSI to launch the MSI Claw gaming handheld. And now, it seems, it's NVIDIA's turn, with insider XpeaGPU claiming that NVIDIA is working with MediaTek to develop an Arm-based handheld SoC with integrated NVIDIA graphics.

This follows the news that NVIDIA and MediaTek are reportedly working on an Arm-based AI processor for AI PCs that could be revealed in a few weeks at Computex 2024. A SoC for PC gaming, running Windows 11 or Linux, would be something else entirely - and something that could blow the Steam Deck out of the water, performance-wise.

Analyst Dan Nystedt said we should expect to see the Arm-based chip for AI PCs as soon as Q3 2024 - but shipments aren't expected until 2025. They should be priced at around $300, which would be high for desktop CPU hardware, but the rumor is that they're using TSMC's cutting-edge 3nm node.

If NVIDIA and MediaTek are also working on a PC gaming handheld SoC, this would be for third parties like ASUS, AYANEO, Lenovo, and others to incorporate in custom hardware - NVIDIA won't be making a console. It'll be similar to the Nintendo Switch 2 situation, where NVIDIA is supplying Ampere-based CPU/GPU hardware for the long-awaited console's 2025 launch. This new chip will come from NVIDIA's new semi-custom division and apparently is in some sense a response to NVIDIA's frustration with Nintendo choosing older-gen hardware for its consoles versus showcasing the latest and treated GeForce technologies.

There's no word on a potential timeline or whether this new chip will also be built using TSMC's 3nm node. A GeForce handheld could also be a way for NVIDIA to attract more customers to its GeForceNOW cloud streaming service. It will be a pretty exciting addition to the PC gaming handheld space if it pans out, so stay tuned.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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