IBM used to dominate the super-computer market decades ago, but in the past 2 decades or so, Intel has kept disrupting it, and eating away its market, by coming from below, with cheaper prices, and with chips that may not have been as powerful, but when stacked together, they could form powerful super-computers.
The Sony PS4 has also moved away from IBM’s chips, and has adopted the x86 architecture, to make it easier for developers to port their PC games, or simply be able to make cross-platform games. IBM has felt increasingly more cornered by Intel especially, but also AMD, so they’ll now adopt ARM’s model of licensing the POWER architecture to others, specifically to customers interested in making super-computers or datacenters for their cloud computing. This is why the OpenPOWER consortium is being formed.
Nvidia especially seems very interested in this, because they’ve had a lot of problems with Intel, and they probably see the writing on the wall, that they’re not going to be able to use x86 chips forever in super-computers and servers. Intel is starting to deeply integrate its CPU’s and GPU’s, and they’re also trying to push the CPU-only Xeon Phi chips, that are supposed to handle graphics with the CPU.
Nvidia sees that the door is closing on them in the super-computer and datacenter market, too, and they need an alternative at the high-end. ARM is probably going to take a while until it can do that. But Nvidia has also been preparing to launch its custom ARMv8 “Denver” CPU sore in 2015, too. So it should survive in the market, if it’s fast enough to implement these new chips, and get its customers to adopt them. In fact, Nvidia may even be able to disrupt Intel, too, with the ARM chips, the same way Intel has been disrupting IBM with its chips, but that’s going to take many years, too.[Via IBM]