Nvidia RTX GPU powered Chromebooks might be on the way after new ARM demo

Nvidia GDC 2021

Nvidia is working hard to expand its RTX GPU support, and with a new demo at GDC 2021 demonstrating high-end gaming features like DLSS and ray-traced lighting for the first time on Arm hardware, suggest that Nvidia’s RTX GPU powered Chromebooks might become a reality soon.

The demo has Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Nvidia’s “The Bistro” demo running on an RTX 3060 GPU and a MediaTek Kompanio 1200 Arm CPU (MediaTek’s flagship-level chipset slated for a new wave of more powerful Chromebooks). Obviously, an RTX 3060 can run those demos on its own, but Nvidia is laying the groundwork here because it’s providing the drivers and support needed for them to operate on Arm hardware specifically.

Nvidia RTX GPU with ARM hardware

DLSS, RTX Direct Illumination, RTX Global Illumination, RTX Memory Utility, and Nvidia’s Optix AI-Accelerated Denoiser are among the five RTX technologies that Nvidia claims to have migrated to Arm and Linux. For developers, SDKs for those tools for Arm with Linux and Chromium are either available now or will be available shortly.

While it will be some time before you can buy a Chromebook with an Arm processor and an RTX 3080 GPU, today’s announcement is a crucial proof of concept, demonstrating that it is both doable and that Nvidia is interested in developing the tools and software required to do it.

Nvidia RTX GPU on Arm demo

What are the Plans?

PC Tseng, general manager of MediaTek’s intelligent multimedia business unit said that:

RTX is the most groundbreaking technology to come to PC gaming in the last two decades. MediaTek and NVIDIA are laying the foundation for a new category of Arm-based high-performance PCs.

Given its (still ongoing) purchase of Arm for $40 billion last year, Nvidia has a new vested interest in ensuring that its GPUs work well with popular Arm-based devices and hence we can expect RTX GPU powered Chromebooks to arrive in near future.

The company has also introduced the next version of Studio Drivers, which now supports two of the most prominent game engines, Unity and Unreal Engine, as well as Toolbag, Omniverse, and other features.

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