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ATI's Intel Chipset Team Reassigned

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August 21, 2006 2:57:09 AM

http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/skvideo/1540/ati-facto...

http://www.google.ca/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hwupg...

This Italian site did a recent tour of ATI's facilities and they have a few interesting tidbits to report. Supposedly, most of the design team specializing in Intel chipsets have been redeployed to work on AMD platforms. Obviously the RD600 and probably the RS600 are already in final stages so they will be completed but future chipsets are in doubt. They mention something about expecting just 50% Intel chipset sales levels in 2007 and 0% by 2008. They predict, probably correctly, that Intel is going to move to lock them out anyways so they are acting pre-emptively accordingly.

Giving credit where credit's due I first noticed this article from Beyond3D, which is partnered with Hexus now, but I expect this will be on The Inquirer tomorrow.
August 21, 2006 4:03:50 AM

Thanks for this information ltcd...it'll be interesting to see how this whole thing shakes out. I guess we'll know in another year or two...either way, very exciting to watch.
August 21, 2006 5:24:47 AM

Quote:
Thanks for this information ltcd...it'll be interesting to see how this whole thing shakes out. I guess we'll know in another year or two...either way, very exciting to watch.


I second that. Great find.
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August 21, 2006 6:22:59 AM

Do you think that RD600 will have any effect on how long it takes ATi to separate from the Intel platform? Let me also ask how you think it will affect Intel's reputation. I ask this because of an article that I saw testing the RD600 - apparently, it was matching and in some cases outperforming the 975X (That result is from memory, and may not be 100% correct). How would it look if Intel forced out a competitor that put out a higher performing product? (Emphasis on look)
August 21, 2006 11:30:05 PM

Well in this case it isn't as much Intel forcing ATI out as Intel not wanting ATI in and ATI deciding for themselves to leave quietly. Besides, Intel isn't going to bluntly deny system builders permission to use the RD600 all they are going to do is ensure test systems are built around Intel or nVidia chipsets. What Intel is going to do with the i975X is probably lower its price to make it more competitive and in this case it is justified since it's an old mature chipset so the manufacturing costs are very low allowing Intel to simply pass on the savings. In the case of nVidia, it isn't Intel favouring nVidia chipsets as much as Intel support Quad SLI which just happens to only work on nVidia chipsets. As you say it's all a matter of perception.

The thing that concerns me is also that the RD600 may be a great card, but if they don't launch in the next month it's going to be late to the party. With the i975X it's been around a long time allowing people like ASUS to build a very feature rich board like their Digital Home Edition. This way you may be selling a slightly slower board, but it has lots of things thrown in to make up for it. Feature rich boards take a while to design since you need to layout a more complicated board and ensure all the third party chips work properly and don't interfere with each other. If the RD600 takes too long, the boards that are going to be available in Q4 may be fast, but they may not be a nice Premium edition which enthousiasts like, which limits its momentum.

Besides, the RD600's lifespan only extends to about Q2 2007. Past that point Intel is releasing their new high-end chipset and everything is switching to DDR3 and it looks like ATI isn't going to bother developing any new boards. Between Q4 2006 and Q2 2007, the RD600 should sell very well and in that timeframe Intel probably wouldn't be too concerned anyways because ATI wouldn't be fully merged with AMD yet. Past Q2 Intel will get more aggressive, but by that time ATI looks to have already pulled themselves out anyways so it kind of works out for everyone.
August 22, 2006 1:13:26 AM

The notice seems to have spread over the net, already ("Intel pulls the license on ATI").

Intel has a stronghold on its chipset income (about 50% of its chip's); do you think this move could strenghten their investment in more performant & feature-rich chipset solutions or, on the contrary, start or increase its partnership with other contenders, like nVidia?


Cheers!
August 22, 2006 1:27:37 AM

I think this spells out doom for the "Boundless Gaming" concept. RD600 was going to be THE chipset for that kind of thing. Now, the AMD merger has made it more likely that AMD and ATI are going to get drunk one night and kick out some mutant spawn of a C/GPU nine months later instead.

ATI might still attempt to focus on physics, in fact I'd bet on it, but I don't think they'll persue the 3x PCIe 16x slot idea. From what I remember, several motherboard manufactures have said that they simply won't bother with 3x PCIe 16x slots. They'd rather provide the user with PCI options.
August 22, 2006 1:58:46 AM

Quote:
Intel has a stronghold on its chipset income (about 50% of its chip's); do you think this move could strenghten their investment in more performant & feature-rich chipset solutions or, on the contrary, start or increase its partnership with other contenders, like nVidia?

For the time being I think Intel is focused on getting the P965 chipset optimized since it does have quite a bit of potential in it's new memory controller. For the high-end they are probably letting nVidia take the lead with Quad SLI which is what was shown at Conroe's launch and is what Dell's top model is if they ever decide to ship it.

In terms of overclocking potential the i975X definitely still has a lot of potential due to it's advantage of being on the market so long the hardware and BIOS is very heavily optimized.

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=11...

Here they reached a 100% OC on the E6600 to 4.88GHz and a 2.17GHz FSB. It was on water cooling too, not LN2. I don't think the current nVidia 590SLI is the most overclockable chipset, but nVidia is supposed to release a refresh in Q4 to coincide with Kentsfield, which should improve things. The RD600 will probably still be better, but it probably won't be by much.

In the long term though I can't see Intel sitting idle on high-end chipsets and deferring to nVidia. They just can't do that on their flagship product. The indications are though that with Bearlake-X they are going to come back strong. DDR3 is supposed to launch starting at 800MHz yet Bearlake-X is going to support DDR3 1333, which is very aggressive. Nobodies mentioned anything yet, but I'm hoping it'll have support for a 1600MHz FSB also for single die chips since that's certainly achieveable and would be preferable for a single die 45nm quad core.

The question I have is whether Intel is really going to create their own discrete GPUs. The Inquirer mentioned that Intel acquired 3DLab's design team, the ones who designed OpenGL 2.0, earlier this year so they certainly have the manpower now. With Bearlake-X and it's support for PCIe 2.0 that would be the perfect time to introduce discrete GPUs as the the industry is transitioning to the new bus. At that point, Intel will be beginning to transition to 45nm and the 65nm Fabs would be mature which allows capacity room. That way Bearlake-X doesn't need to support SLI because it can have an Intel in house solution. Having SLI support also would be preferential too of course.
August 22, 2006 1:58:52 AM

I, for one, am dissapointed. I'm a fan of ATi and Intel. If Intel locks out ATi or vise-versa, then if I buy Intel I'm stuck with AMD (Unless I want a VIA/3rd party chipset).

:cry: 
August 22, 2006 3:28:04 AM

http://digitimes.com/mobos/a20060821A5023.html

In a related story motherboard makers aren't overly enthousiastic about developing motherboards with ATI chipsets. With motherboard makers unwilling to make Intel motherboards with ATI chipsets, and ATI unwilling to make new Intel chipsets, it looks like the Intel chipset market has been "secured" without any blatant intervention from Intel itself.
August 22, 2006 4:09:21 AM

Quote:
http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/skvideo/1540/ati-facto...

http://www.google.ca/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hwupg...

This Italian site did a recent tour of ATI's facilities and they have a few interesting tidbits to report. Supposedly, most of the design team specializing in Intel chipsets have been redeployed to work on AMD platforms. Obviously the RD600 and probably the RS600 are already in final stages so they will be completed but future chipsets are in doubt. They mention something about expecting just 50% Intel chipset sales levels in 2007 and 0% by 2008. They predict, probably correctly, that Intel is going to move to lock them out anyways so they are acting pre-emptively accordingly.

Giving credit where credit's due I first noticed this article from Beyond3D, which is partnered with Hexus now, but I expect this will be on The Inquirer tomorrow.


Good find. I don't think it's much of a shock that ATI/AMD will eventually stop making intel chipsets. Not only is it an awkward situation for both companies, Intel could pull the license at any time which would leave AMD in a bad position. And would you blame Intel? Clearly, AMD/ATI would in theory be able to make very competitive intel based chipsets in volume. That would be a huge threat to Intel's existing chipset business.

Look at it this way: do you think AMD would appreciate Intel making competitive Athlon/Operton based chipsets? Hell no.

Right now AMD and ATI are in sort of a anti-trust situation because the deal hasn't gone through. So AMD and ATI still cannot share important information like bus licenses. But when the deal IS final, Intel may very well terminate ATI's chipset license due to a conflict of interest. Again, can you blame them?

;-)
August 22, 2006 4:15:01 AM

Quote:
The notice seems to have spread over the net, already ("Intel pulls the license on ATI").

Intel has a stronghold on its chipset income (about 50% of its chip's); do you think this move could strenghten their investment in more performant & feature-rich chipset solutions or, on the contrary, start or increase its partnership with other contenders, like nVidia?


Cheers!


Undoubtedly, it will create a stronger partnership with companies like nVidia or even VIA. Intel knows it has no competing products in dual graphics- which is a quickly growing platform not only in enthusiast markets, but professional markets as well. Despite what everyone likes to think about SLI, there is a very big market for it. The SLI platform expands way beyond dual video cards. It has a very real use in professional graphics. Anyways, getting back on track- I think Intel NEEDS to have a partner if it wants to get serious about professional graphics platforms. And right now that only partner is nVidia.

So the outcome seems pretty clear to me: Intel will eventually partner with nVidia. And I suspect it'll be sooner rather than later.
a b à CPUs
August 22, 2006 1:52:17 PM

This may cause a problem for me.

What happens if Intel have the fastest CPU and ATi the fastest Graphics card and I'm wanting to use Crossfire?

What chipset would I be able to use to enable Crossfire? I am worried that Intel will cancel Crossfire on there own chipsets. And with ATi no longer making chipsets for Intel based systems then I'll be left out of the cold.

The only thing that could save me is if nVIDIA end up making the better GPU's or AMD the better CPU's. Other then that.. in the future some users may be royally f*dged!
a b à CPUs
August 22, 2006 2:38:59 PM

Quote:
in the future some users may be royally f*dged!

Especially when nVidia currently can't produce an Intel chipset that satisfies my demand and will keep the Intel chipset I need price high.

Agreed... nVIDIA's Intel Chipsets are CRAP...lol. Unless they've improved with the 570 and 590 which I have yet to see a Tomshardware Live stress test to confirm.
August 22, 2006 3:23:19 PM

Quote:
In the long term though I can't see Intel sitting idle on high-end chipsets and deferring to nVidia. They just can't do that on their flagship product. The indications are though that with Bearlake-X they are going to come back strong. DDR3 is supposed to launch starting at 800MHz yet Bearlake-X is going to support DDR3 1333, which is very aggressive. Nobodies mentioned anything yet, but I'm hoping it'll have support for a 1600MHz FSB also for single die chips since that's certainly achieveable and would be preferable for a single die 45nm quad core.


Yes, rumours has it that Intel won't be pushing its 9xx chipset line any further (i.e., a 980, for instance; don't have any link, though); hence, Bearlake (& downgraded versions) will probably be used in the server as well as in the DT spaces.

Quote:
The question I have is whether Intel is really going to create their own discrete GPUs. The Inquirer mentioned that Intel acquired 3DLab's design team, the ones who designed OpenGL 2.0, earlier this year so they certainly have the manpower now. With Bearlake-X and it's support for PCIe 2.0 that would be the perfect time to introduce discrete GPUs as the the industry is transitioning to the new bus. At that point, Intel will be beginning to transition to 45nm and the 65nm Fabs would be mature which allows capacity room. That way Bearlake-X doesn't need to support SLI because it can have an Intel in house solution. Having SLI support also would be preferential too of course.


I wasn't aware of such a bombastic aquisition (trusting the Inq., that is); bit-tech.net has also mentioned Intel's intentions to move GPU tasks back into the CPU, as quoted:

Quote:
Intel has already dropped support for CrossFire on its 965-series chipsets and it is unclear whether Intel will continue to design chipsets that support multi-GPU technologies. The company has been hinting at moving GPU tasks back onto the CPU for a few months now.


Not really a very reliable source, so...


Cheers!
August 22, 2006 3:37:00 PM

Quote:
So the outcome seems pretty clear to me: Intel will eventually partner with nVidia. And I suspect it'll be sooner rather than later.


If Intel's aquisition of 3D Labs is confirmed, I find it hard to believe in any soon-to-be partnership, graphics-wise. Intel already has what it takes to be competitive, in the mid-to-high-end space. 3D Labs is a strong & reliable IP company.

That leaves nVidia in a somewhat awkward position; will nVidia 'grow up' into another CPU/GPU/PPU/... manufacturer? A new platform in a 'dull' AMD/ATi vs Intel landscape?


Cheers!
August 22, 2006 4:51:50 PM

Quote:
I, for one, am dissapointed. I'm a fan of ATi and Intel. If Intel locks out ATi or vise-versa, then if I buy Intel I'm stuck with AMD (Unless I want a VIA/3rd party chipset).

:cry: 


*correction* "...then if I buy Intel I'm stuck with nVidia..."

Wow that was bad..... I gotta stop posting past my bed-time ;) 
August 22, 2006 5:10:21 PM

Quote:
So the outcome seems pretty clear to me: Intel will eventually partner with nVidia. And I suspect it'll be sooner rather than later.


If Intel's aquisition of 3D Labs is confirmed, I find it hard to believe in any soon-to-be partnership, graphics-wise. Intel already has what it takes to be competitive, in the mid-to-high-end space. 3D Labs is a strong & reliable IP company.

That leaves nVidia in a somewhat awkward position; will nVidia 'grow up' into another CPU/GPU/PPU/... manufacturer? A new platform in a 'dull' AMD/ATi vs Intel landscape?


Cheers!

Perhaps a close relationship between nVidia and Intel won't happen, but I'd be surprised if they don't have SLI support on their boards to some degree. Intel has seen success with their enthusiest line of products (BadAxe, XE procs), so we know enthusiests are well-within their field-of-view. We also know that Intel highly values its chipset business, and it will lose substancial support, and inevidebly market share, if it discontinues its persuing the enthusiest market.

I think a real concern amongst Intel Chipset fans is that the drivers for Xfire and ATi will start to suck once the merger finalizes. They can still fulfill their obligatory support for their products, but as we all know, the drivers are in an obligatory gray-area. Why would I invest in an ATi card if I know its going to lose support soon on my intel chipset? This is going to hurt Intel's chipset sales for the high-end market.

We also know that the bigger concern with Intel's chipset market is where it currently dominates, and that's the enterprise desktop. It's possible they could move to preserve this market and cut support temporarily, or indefinately, of white-box enthusiest desktops.

I guess its all speculation, but even with the purchase of 3D labs' team, I don't think they're going to snum nVidia. Intel has a discrete graphics team, but it's not dedicated to the same product lines as nVidia and ATi. Even if Intel comes out with a competitive line of enthusiest video cards, they don't have the experience or the reputation to cause any real damage to AMD/ATi, which will give AMD another 2-3 year period of market domination until Intel proves itself as a viable competitor.

So again, unless I'm mistaken, I don't really think Intel will snub nVidia. I think that they need each other in the interim, at least until some new business strategies solidify.
August 22, 2006 8:07:03 PM

Quote:
that translation was pretty rocky its amazing how those romantic languages use words,,,


Yes, that's why we get all the chicks... È solo l'amore!!
August 23, 2006 12:32:35 AM

Further confirmation that ATI is discontinuing development of Intel chipsets.

http://www.hkepc.com/bbs/itnews.php?tid=656138&starttim...

ATI has removed the 2007 timeline chipsets the RD700, RS700, and RC710 from their roadmaps. All that remain are the already confirmed RD600 for high-end, RS600 for mid-range, and RC610 for low-end.

Quote:
I wasn't aware of such a bombastic aquisition (trusting the Inq., that is);

The original article is here:

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33812

Essentially, 3DLabs was downsizing their graphics division so they laid off people who Intel picked up. I don't think it was an official corporate deal just that it worked out that way. Intel and 3DLabs has worked together on graphics chips before so it's likely the engineers that were hired were known to Intel so it was basically Intel helping "friends" in a tight spot.

X-Bit Labs also confirms this story and they reported on it before The Inquirer picked up on it, which is probably a good thing.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/display/200608160309...

Quote:
While the possibility for Intel to develop a graphics core is fairly high, as the company is continuously hiring new staff members (for instance, the chipmaker now employs several people from the former 3Dlabs workstation graphics team), another project that involves experience of CPU and GPU development could be a processor that combines general-purpose processing and graphics processing capability. Earlier this year Intel already confirmed intention to build such a chip.

Quote:
the pic of the ati integrated video mb was cool,it has the equivalent of an x700 gpu;I think thats what i read.

The RS600 and the AMD equivalent the RS690 use a graphics core based on the X700 although there are quite a few differences. For one, those chipsets look to incorporate some form of AVIVO which is a X1xxx generation technology. However, the performance of the IGP will not be at X700 level. The target performance is X600 level and it'll have 4 pixel shaders and 2 vertex shaders which is doubled what the Xpress 200 has. The RS600 will also only be DirectX 9.0b level not DX9.0c or DX10. The DX10 IGP was supposed to be the RS700 in 2007 (Q2?), but that looks to be cancelled now. In contrast to the RS600, the Intel GMA X3000 has 16 ALUs which seems to agree with an 8 unified shader configuration so in theory it should be faster than the RS600. However, Intel can't seem to get their drivers in line since hardware PS, VS, and T&L aren't activated yet. That lack of driver support is why people are reporting poor GMA X3000 performance up to this point.
August 23, 2006 12:42:43 AM

Quote:
So again, unless I'm mistaken, I don't really think Intel will snub nVidia. I think that they need each other in the interim, at least until some new business strategies solidify.


While I do agree that, overall, every company needs the other, in more ways than one can think of, this particular conjuncture has already sprung a fair amount of surprises; I'd dare to say that Intel doesn't play dice :wink: ; if this 3D Labs aquisition is confirmed, Intel will not just be 'upgrading' its GPU division; it will be creating an entirely new one (that's my conviction, anyway). Otherwise, why should they need such a high-end [graphics] expertise?
More than ATi, 3D Labs' main competitor has been nVidia's Quadro line, in the high-end workstation graphics; now, nVidia will have to deal with two immensely strong contenders: AMD/ATi & Intel, graphics-wise. In my opinion, the 'enthusiast' platform will be strenghtened; there's a non-zero probability that the 'enthusiasm' will be shifted... Again, where will nVidia stand?
On the other hand, nVidia 'only' lacks its own CPU for a complete "n-platform"...
Pure speculation, of course.

Cheers!
August 23, 2006 12:51:43 AM

Quote:
On the other hand, nVidia 'only' lacks its own CPU for a complete "n-platform"...
Pure speculation, of course.

I believe it was The Inquirer that also pointed out that CPU defiency for nVidia. They suggested that nVidia might acquire VIA. It's pretty farfetched right now, but it is logical and it would give nVidia very strong mobile expertise. With low power consumption being a primary reason why AMD bought ATI, it would make a lot of sense for nVidia to bulk up on that area in addition to acquiring VIA's C7 processors. VIA's processors are also ideal for integrated GPU solutions since they use very little die space allowing GPU room and are great low-end solutions which would be the perfect target market for CPUs with built-in GPUs.
August 23, 2006 1:02:10 AM

Quote:
Essentially, 3DLabs was downsizing their graphics division so they laid off people who Intel picked up. I don't think it was an official corporate deal just that it worked out that way. Intel and 3DLabs has worked together on graphics chips before so it's likely the engineers that were hired were known to Intel so it was basically Intel helping "friends" in a tight spot.

(...)

While the possibility for Intel to develop a graphics core is fairly high, as the company is continuously hiring new staff members (for instance, the chipmaker now employs several people from the former 3Dlabs workstation graphics team), another project that involves experience of CPU and GPU development could be a processor that combines general-purpose processing and graphics processing capability. Earlier this year Intel already confirmed intention to build such a chip.


Seems a causal reaction to the AMD/ATi merger; in some sort, that also implies that AMD/ATi might have some [obvious?] plans of going a similar line...


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 1:22:47 AM

Quote:
On the other hand, nVidia 'only' lacks its own CPU for a complete "n-platform"...
Pure speculation, of course.

I believe it was The Inquirer that also pointed out that CPU defiency for nVidia. They suggested that nVidia might acquire VIA. It's pretty farfetched right now, but it is logical and it would give nVidia very strong mobile expertise. With low power consumption being a primary reason why AMD bought ATI, it would make a lot of sense for nVidia to bulk up on that area in addition to acquiring VIA's C7 processors. VIA's processors are also ideal for integrated GPU solutions since they use very little die space allowing GPU room and are great low-end solutions which would be the perfect target market for CPUs with built-in GPUs.

Yes, that seemed to me a way of nVidia reacting to this platform polarization (the 'growing-up' of a proprietary CPU); although the aquisition of VIA seems reasonable, it also sounds like a downgrade in nVidia's current offerings; excellent GPU/Chipsets and a so-so CPU (for the low-end to mid-range); unless both (nVidia/VIA) could come up with a competitive mainstream-to-high-end CPU (which I find unlikely, in the mid-term). And, they'd be left with Intel, for the mainstream/high-end...

Well, seems that speculation can be very stimulating...


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 1:07:11 PM

Quote:
i was aware of the uli aquisition by nvidia,but i am unaware of a via aquisition;could you post a link?


Quote:
I believe it was The Inquirer that also pointed out that CPU defiency for nVidia. They suggested that nVidia might acquire VIA. It's pretty farfetched right now, but it is logical and it would give nVidia very strong mobile expertise



Cheers!
August 23, 2006 2:28:58 PM

Quote:

On the other hand, nVidia 'only' lacks its own CPU for a complete "n-platform"...


They should merge with VIA, and put out a 64bit CPU....

edit: oops sorry, I see someone has beaten me to the idea... Good to know I am not the only one here who thinks outside the box :D 
August 23, 2006 2:32:53 PM

Quote:
They should merge with VIA, and put out a 64bit CPU....


VIA may become a very appealing company, in the mid-term... :wink:


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 3:56:17 PM

Quote:
They should merge with VIA, and put out a 64bit CPU....


VIA may become a very appealing company, in the mid-term... :wink:


Cheers!

It might, but how long would it take for an Nvidia/VIA merger take to develop a CPU that could face C2D and K8L? And how would either AMD and Intel react to such a merger? Would both companies just end all licensing to Nvidia? If such thing happen for how long Nvidia could survive before having it's own complete system? With ATI, AMD wouldn't be needing Nvidia GPUs and Intel might bring up some hidden cards (like discrete graphics) to face this...
August 23, 2006 4:45:50 PM

Quote:
It might, but how long would it take for an Nvidia/VIA merger take to develop a CPU that could face C2D nad K8L? And how would either AMD and Intel react to such a merger? Would both companies just end all licensing to Nvidia? If such thing happen for how long Nvidia could survive before having it's own complete system? With ATI, AMD wouldn't be needing Nvidia GPUs and Intel might bring up some hidden cards (like discrete graphics) to face this...


Well, these are just suppositions & speculations but, here's a view:

a. AMD/ATi: CPU/Chipset/GPU/...; full platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end;

b. Intel (+ 3D Labs...): CPU/Chipset/GPU/...; full platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end;

c. nVidia: GPU/Chipset/...); depleted platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end.

NOTE: the designations are not exactly accurate.

As the Inq. suggested, nVidia could aquire VIA as the complement to its [CPU depleted] platform; it's not that it will happen for sure but a possibility, nevertheless.
AMD/ATi wont be needing any CPU/Chipset/GPU/Mainboard manufacturers/suppliers to achieve a full blown platform; neither Intel.
Apparently, Intel has no reason to stop supplying its CPU lines to nVidia's platforms (Chipset/GPU/Mainboard); and, nVidia will keep supplying its [CPU depleted] platform to Intel.
With this sort of 'passive' agreement, Intel & nVidia lost both AMD/ATi's platform spaces; Intel can afford it but, that alone, leaves nVidia totally dependent on Intel; and, if - with the incorporation of brainpower from 3D Labs - Intel's going to strenghten its graphics division, upgrade its Chipset line, improve its CPU and so on, nVidia will be left with a increasingly shattered & pulverized plaform.

I think the question should be quite the opposite of yours:

As it was suggested, nVidia's aquisition of VIA would turn it somewhat independent of Intel, namely on what regards the mid-to-low-end & the embedded spaces; it would keep its dependence on Intel, on the mainstream & high-end... but, it still would have to compete - directly - with AMD/ATi & with Intel itself! And, there are not many options, on what regards chipmakers.
While there are other niches where nVidia can compete with some agressivity (Communications, ultra-portable graphics chips,...), so can ATi (which aquired the finnish Bit Boys Oy, last year, I think).

So, for how long could nVidia survive if it doesn't create its own CPU division? (reformulating your question).

Of course, this is a possible, but not unique, scenario.


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 5:36:27 PM

Quote:
It might, but how long would it take for an Nvidia/VIA merger take to develop a CPU that could face C2D nad K8L? And how would either AMD and Intel react to such a merger? Would both companies just end all licensing to Nvidia? If such thing happen for how long Nvidia could survive before having it's own complete system? With ATI, AMD wouldn't be needing Nvidia GPUs and Intel might bring up some hidden cards (like discrete graphics) to face this...


Well, these are just suppositions & speculations but, here's a view:

a. AMD/ATi: CPU/Chipset/GPU/...; full platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end;

b. Intel (+ 3D Labs...): CPU/Chipset/GPU/...; full platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end;

c. nVidia: GPU/Chipset/...); depleted platforms (mobile/desktop/server); low-end/mainstream/high-end.

NOTE: the designations are not exactly accurate.

As the Inq. suggested, nVidia could aquire VIA as the complement to its [CPU depleted] platform; it's not that it will happen for sure but a possibility, nevertheless.
AMD/ATi wont be needing any CPU/Chipset/GPU/Mainboard manufacturers/suppliers to achieve a full blown platform; neither Intel.
Apparently, Intel has no reason to stop supplying its CPU lines to nVidia's platforms (Chipset/GPU/Mainboard); and, nVidia will keep supplying its [CPU depleted] platform to Intel.
With this sort of 'passive' agreement, Intel & nVidia lost both AMD/ATi's platform spaces; Intel can afford it but, that alone, leaves nVidia totally dependent on Intel; and, if - with the incorporation of brainpower from 3D Labs - Intel's going to strenghten its graphics division, upgrade its Chipset line, improve its CPU and so on, nVidia will be left with a increasingly shattered & pulverized plaform.

I think the question should be quite the opposite of yours:

As it was suggested, nVidia's aquisition of VIA would turn it somewhat independent of Intel, namely on what regards the mid-to-low-end & the embedded spaces; it would keep its dependence on Intel, on the mainstream & high-end... but, it still would have to compete - directly - with AMD/ATi & with Intel itself! And, there are not many options, on what regards chipmakers.
While there are other niches where nVidia can compete with some agressivity (Communications, ultra-portable graphics chips,...), so can ATi (which aquired the finnish Bit Boys Oy, last year, I think).

So, for how long could nVidia survive if it doesn't create its own CPU division? (reformulating your question).

Of course, this is a possible, but not unique, scenario.


Cheers!

Joset,

What I meant is that VIA's CPU is a really weak processor, and probably won't be able to compete with current processors unless they redesigned it. This brings a few things into the scenario:

Nvidia would spend a lot of money on a acquisition/merger that might have an impact in their ability to invest in R&D of a new CPU. Also it could affect their chipset and gpu business.

Intel might feel even more threatened by this second merger in less than 6 months and could really give a hard time for Nvidia for the next year.

AMD, which has stated it won't take support from Nvidia in their plataform, might feel threaned as well (as they are the underdog in the cpu industry) and might cut all Nvidia products next year.

This could be really bad for Nvidia, because it would hamper their business and would have to come up with a great solution in a small amount of time, which means, investing a really big amount of money. Things could get really hard for them.

But they could also get to the other side of the tunnel and bring a whole bunch of new technology.

Well, as long as we're talking about suppositions, Nvidia has worked on the Playstation 3, and so they have access to Cell and XDR. If they'd bring such a plataform for the PC, could be an interesting thing. RAMBUS has already developed XDR2 (8 GHz bandwith) and we could see a very powerful plataform that could change computing in the next few years.
August 23, 2006 6:25:01 PM

Quote:
joset you really reaching for nvidia to create a cpu


:D  No, not really. Just speculating about a possible, viable scenario.

Quote:
and via's post cyrix cpu is kind of a joke;that bieng said,they could redesign the chip,although fab investment would be outrageous;not to say it couldnt or shouldnt be done,just that it would be a long road to bring it up to current speeds and processes.


Yes, the investment would be drastic; however, better late than never (i.e., while nVidia still can...).
nVidia is getting somewhat locked in its isolation; the scenario I considered above wouldn't be threatening for Intel since, as you state, VIA's CPUs are actually unable to compete from the low-end up (the embedded space is another matter); but, VIA has a good portfolio in the chipset arena, for the low-end customers. Hence, the referred aquisition would provide, for sometime, the best of both worlds: nVidia + VIA for the low-end & nVidia + Intel, for the remaining spaces (priced accordingly). Obviously, any 'proprietary' nVidia CPU would be a mid-to-long-term process...


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 6:37:19 PM

Quote:
Well, as long as we're talking about suppositions, Nvidia has worked on the Playstation 3, and so they have access to Cell and XDR. If they'd bring such a plataform for the PC, could be an interesting thing. RAMBUS has already developed XDR2 (8 GHz bandwith) and we could see a very powerful plataform that could change computing in the next few years.


That would be another possible scenario.

I just brought this VIA thing because it was quoted from the Inq. (and from someone else before, as it seems).

The issue remains, however: With these latest two moves (AMD/ATi & Intel/3D Labs), how will nVidia overcome its seemingly outcast position, in the near-term?


Cheers!
August 23, 2006 9:27:33 PM

Let me sum up what joset & I are saying this way....

Nvidia has to do something before they go out of business.... They are sitting pretty now - no doubt about it.... But as Intel/AMD start to integrate the CPU and the GPU - Nvidia will start declining.... So basically the question is: How can NVidia afford not to try something drastic.... Intel doesn't seem to need to merge with them - they are going to find a way to do high end gfx on their own....

Maybe via/nvidia could make their mark in the small form factor/pda/mp4/handheld business....
August 23, 2006 9:32:20 PM

I'm glad you don't manage a business.
August 23, 2006 10:42:25 PM

Quote:
I'm glad you don't manage a business.


I created 3 very succesfull businesses.... Every time you criticise me - I have been proven correct.... You think by now you would learn to listen to me when I speak.... I have been in technology 24 years, and have either been a manager and/or business owner 12 years....

Your one of the people who ganged up on me and insisted the GPU and the CPU couldn't merge - and were not shut up until AMD said they could be publicly....

OK smarty.... How do you think NVidia is going to still be in business 5/10 years from now - if they don't make a big change? You think the PC business is going to be the same? The industry is moving to smaller devices(if you have not read).... Notebook sales will overtake desktop PCs probably in 2007.... When HDTVs are the norm - alot of people will buy 1 box to do their games, and internet browsing(alot will dump their PCs).... Handheld devices will be even more popular when sprint/nextel has 1/3 the U.S. setup with high speed wireless G4/WiMAX by end 2007.... I am sure Australia, and the EU will do the same thing(if not sooner)....
August 23, 2006 11:44:15 PM

Quote:
Every time you criticise me - I have been proven correct


:lol:  In your little fantasy world maybe.

Quote:
Your one of the people who ganged up on me and insisted the GPU and the CPU couldn't merge - and were not shut up until AMD said they could be publicly....


:roll: Why don't you go back and read my thoughts on it then you'll see how much of an idiot you really are.

Quote:
OK smarty.... How do you think NVidia is going to still be in business 5/10 years from now - if they don't make a big change?


By making a series of small changes according to market? No that'd be too smart.
August 24, 2006 12:37:01 PM

Quote:
joset you really reaching for nvidia to create a cpu


:D  No, not really. Just speculating about a possible, viable scenario.

Quote:
and via's post cyrix cpu is kind of a joke;that bieng said,they could redesign the chip,although fab investment would be outrageous;not to say it couldnt or shouldnt be done,just that it would be a long road to bring it up to current speeds and processes.


Yes, the investment would be drastic; however, better late than never (i.e., while nVidia still can...).
nVidia is getting somewhat locked in its isolation; the scenario I considered above wouldn't be threatening for Intel since, as you state, VIA's CPUs are actually unable to compete from the low-end up (the embedded space is another matter); but, VIA has a good portfolio in the chipset arena, for the low-end customers. Hence, the referred aquisition would provide, for sometime, the best of both worlds: nVidia + VIA for the low-end & nVidia + Intel, for the remaining spaces (priced accordingly). Obviously, any 'proprietary' nVidia CPU would be a mid-to-long-term process...


Cheers!

:D  i was tossing the idea around months ago as well ,while the nvidia via thing seems exciting ,i just wonder how things will evolve.having 3 proprietary vendors is kind of scary and exciting,are we to look at a future where interchangability is grossly limited?

we could be witnessing the era in which there will be 3 platforms and no cpu is interchangeable nor is the graphics solution,kind of making a console esque pc market,and if that is the end result ;ibm should jump back into the game and take whats left of the gpu vendors like matrox,or whoever is left.
is this just crazy or what?sure it opens new doors of technology but it potentially closes the enthusiast builders market,after a point in the maturation of said companies mergers.
the concern i point out is ;in 5 years or ten ,can i put an nvidia card on an amd board?Are we seeing the closure of this interchangability?

Well, first, I don't think IBM will go back to the desktop market (they sold their PC and Notebook part to Lenovo).

On the other issues, if things do go as you say, probably we'll have in a few years something like the PC/Mac market a few years, where you'll also get specific OS for systems and each won't be compatible.
a c 100 à CPUs
August 24, 2006 1:05:38 PM

You forget that there are OSes that are relatively CPU-independent that would likely run on all of the platforms. Just not Windows.
August 24, 2006 4:52:02 PM

Quote:
You forget that there are OSes that are relatively CPU-independent that would likely run on all of the platforms. Just not Windows.


Oh no, I thought about these ones too (unix, linux, freeBSD, etc), but I was referring to the more "used", like MacOS and Windows, that are far more used on their plataforms (at least by end users).
August 24, 2006 7:11:50 PM

I hope you're (Joset) right about Intel entering the high-end graphics space. Intel has a tremendous amount of expertise in fabrication and design, and it seems a shame that they don't enter the graphics space. They have a great reputation for reliability, but a poor reputation when it comes to graphics. It would be nice to seem them address this.

I'd like to see Intel pull a rabit out of their hats with GPUs the way they did with Conroe. That was just awesome :) 

As for VIA and nVidia, it seems like a mini-ATi/AMD merger to me. The difference is that the merger (or even partnership) would apply more to the embedded and CE sector. SoC (System-On-Chip) has been growing tremendously over the years. A lot of embedded solutions depend more on price per functionality, not price per performance. I don't think VIA or nVidia would be able to produce something, together or seperately, for the desktop PC that would compete with AMD or Intel at this point. I think that it would be a fantastic move when you're talking CE, UMPCs, and the likes.
August 24, 2006 8:06:01 PM

Quote:
I hope you're (Joset) right about Intel entering the high-end graphics space. Intel has a tremendous amount of expertise in fabrication and design, and it seems a shame that they don't enter the graphics space. They have a great reputation for reliability, but a poor reputation when it comes to graphics. It would be nice to seem them address this.

I'd like to see Intel pull a rabit out of their hats with GPUs the way they did with Conroe. That was just awesome :) 

As for VIA and nVidia, it seems like a mini-ATi/AMD merger to me. The difference is that the merger (or even partnership) would apply more to the embedded and CE sector. SoC (System-On-Chip) has been growing tremendously over the years. A lot of embedded solutions depend more on price per functionality, not price per performance. I don't think VIA or nVidia would be able to produce something, together or seperately, for the desktop PC that would compete with AMD or Intel at this point. I think that it would be a fantastic move when you're talking CE, UMPCs, and the likes.


I agree on this direction a Nvidia/VIa merger might go, but this could bring a dark age on graphics for the desktop...Nvidia could loose focus on the desktop and start longer term boards, and AMD/ATI could go into the on-board frenzy with Intel, making gpu become a less important. This could make the gpu dvelopment loose it's 6 month renewal rate (might even be good to our pockets).
August 24, 2006 9:06:52 PM

Ultimately i think we're going to see a slowing in product releases. AMD's purchase of ATi has essentially removed some of the fierce competition, at least in the graphics space. This is mainly because if you now buy an Intel chip, you're limited to nVidia.

If Intel enters the high-end space, this will change the landscape a bit. AMD dropping support for Intel chips means that if you buy an ATi/AMD vid card, you're married to the AMD platform. At the same time, you're locking out a lot of your potential customer base. It's a risky move, but not entirely unexpected. The point is, once Intel enters the mainstream graphics space, nVidia may be the only company producing video cards that are very compatable between both platforms.

From a strictly competetive standpoint, if Intel is indeed entering the high-end gfx space, it may be in their best interest to buy out nVidia, just to eliminate them as a competitor (if the SEC approves, of course).

On an aside, Intel really needs to do more with their current integrated gfx chipsets. They're a real dissapointment.
August 25, 2006 1:02:40 AM

Quote:
:D  i was tossing the idea around months ago as well ,while the nvidia via thing seems exciting ,i just wonder how things will evolve.having 3 proprietary vendors is kind of scary and exciting,are we to look at a future where interchangability is grossly limited?

we could be witnessing the era in which there will be 3 platforms and no cpu is interchangeable nor is the graphics solution,kind of making a console esque pc market,and if that is the end result ;ibm should jump back into the game and take whats left of the gpu vendors like matrox,or whoever is left.
is this just crazy or what?sure it opens new doors of technology but it potentially closes the enthusiast builders market,after a point in the maturation of said companies mergers.
the concern i point out is ;in 5 years or ten ,can i put an nvidia card on an amd board?Are we seeing the closure of this interchangability?


Still within speculation, I believe that, sooner or later, new players will interrupt this "linear" platform interplay. Take IBM/Apple/Intel, for instance: Who'd say?! Or AMD/ATi?!
Two years ago, the landscape was mostly quiet & flat, CPU wise: Intel, AMD, IBM (Motorola, Freescale if you wish). Suddenly, take that!
As for interchangeability, almost only CPUs have been polarized towards their own manufacturers (sockets, board logic, features/performance...); there has been a run off of proprietary solutions in benefit of standardization (excluding some specific niches, of course); mutual profit was the slogan. What ticks inside a MacIntosh, now? IBM left its mobile & DT business (for the time being?), Intel came up with Core and AMD's still reacting... whim wasn't certainly the reason it aquired ATi. Exclusive profit, massive reorganization & tight timmings seem to be the rules, now.
Graphics-wise, there's been rumours of another paradigmatic shift: The gradual inclusion of graphics's functions (and others) into the CPUs. Ultra-portable comms growing in image, sound & feature-rich capabilities; hence, demanding very sophisticated processors, low-profile & low power in a highly (& growing) profitable market. The list goes on and no-one wants to loose the track...

Although I still believe standartization will continue (for the sake of customers... and mutual profit), Intel has not adhered to the HyperTransport Consortium and will certainly create its own protocol; AMD (and others, Apple included), is utterly commited into the HTT development... and so will ATI, from now on. Apparently, different protocols will co-exist in the existing platforms... unless someone takes a more drastic turn.
Again, where does nVidia fit in this panorama?

(All the above is my opinion and merely speculation).


Cheers!
August 25, 2006 1:11:28 AM

Quote:
I hope you're (Joset) right about Intel entering the high-end graphics space. Intel has a tremendous amount of expertise in fabrication and design, and it seems a shame that they don't enter the graphics space. They have a great reputation for reliability, but a poor reputation when it comes to graphics. It would be nice to seem them address this.


I merely stated my (speculative) opinion on the matter; I'm not affirming that it will happen.

That said, I really don't see any other strong reason for Intel's recruitment of brainpower from 3D Labs; and, I find it too close to the AMD/ATi merger to be mere coincidence.

By the way, all this is somewhat contextualized in the first post of this thread's author (with his respective quotes).


Cheers!
August 25, 2006 1:38:45 AM

Quote:
I agree on this direction a Nvidia/VIa merger might go, but this could bring a dark age on graphics for the desktop...Nvidia could loose focus on the desktop and start longer term boards, and AMD/ATI could go into the on-board frenzy with Intel, making gpu become a less important. This could make the gpu dvelopment loose it's 6 month renewal rate (might even be good to our pockets).


Addressing your previous post, "Virtualization" technologies are now more viable than ever; while chips will grow in processing power, more VT capabilities will be put into it. Seems that software will be the most independent & pervasive technology, in the mid-term. VT isn't a coincidence either, Intel's or AMD's.

Concerning your above statement, I beg to disagree: Either in discrete cards, on-board discrete chips, included in CPUs or in any other form, GPU/PPU/whatever will always have to increase, power & features wise, especially on the DT (and mobile), just because we demand it (who would buy the most powerful CPU and get stuck with [very] early XXI century graphics?); OGL 2.x & DX 1x.x only make sense in a highly sophisticated powerhouse; and that is but the workstation (DT or mobile) we'll be having right in front of us. :wink:


Cheers!
August 30, 2006 3:01:04 AM

I thought I would provide a ATI chipset update, but it doesn't really deserve it's own thread so I'll just add it here.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3993

http://www.ati.com/products/Radeonxpress1250mob/index.h...

Today, ATI launched the last of the breed and the first of the Rx600 series. This being the RS600M dubbed the Xpress 1250. It's for mobile and supports up to Merom. Interestingly, it doesn't officially support the Netburst processors yet they promote HT support. It's also the first mobile chipset to claim DDR2 800 support (although actual SO-DIMMs are lacking), which even Santa Rosa and the GM965 doesn't have. It doesn't list FSB support, but with the DDR2 800 I'm going to assume that the chipset can also be used with future 800MHz Meroms.

Also, the RS600M contains a X700 based IGP. They don't list the configuration, but it's probably safe to assume it'll be 4PS/2VS (double the Xpress 200M). Of interest is that they don't try to claim DX9.0b support like a X700 would, but only regular DX9.0 support like a X600. Anyways, Vista Premium and Aero Glass is obviously supported.
August 30, 2006 1:02:17 PM

Quote:
I thought I would provide a ATI chipset update, but it doesn't really deserve it's own thread so I'll just add it here.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=3993

http://www.ati.com/products/Radeonxpress1250mob/index.h...

Today, ATI launched the last of the breed and the first of the Rx600 series. This being the RS600M dubbed the Xpress 1250. It's for mobile and supports up to Merom. Interestingly, it doesn't officially support the Netburst processors yet they promote HT support. It's also the first mobile chipset to claim DDR2 800 support (although actual SO-DIMMs are lacking), which even Santa Rosa and the GM965 doesn't have. It doesn't list FSB support, but with the DDR2 800 I'm going to assume that the chipset can also be used with future 800MHz Meroms.

Also, the RS600M contains a X700 based IGP. They don't list the configuration, but it's probably safe to assume it'll be 4PS/2VS (double the Xpress 200M). Of interest is that they don't try to claim DX9.0b support like a X700 would, but only regular DX9.0 support like a X600. Anyways, Vista Premium and Aero Glass is obviously supported.
~

If, as reported in the news (http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/chipsets/display/20060823235224.html, for instance), ATi will cease to support Intel platforms, namely, with its Rx7xx chipset line, these Rx600 series will certainly be their last incursion into their contender's platforms.
At first, I thought ATi was throwing all they could into it (DDR2 800 SO-DIMMs, backwards compatible ATA133, AVIVO, Power Management enhancements, integrated UMA IGP and so on...); curiously, they include support for HyperThreading but no NetBurst; x16 PCIe slot but no >DX9.0b support and no support at all for Dual-Channel DDR2...

Somewhat puzzling...


Cheers!
August 30, 2006 2:45:17 PM

Seems like they're releasing a 1/2 done project for a little ROI.
August 30, 2006 3:49:36 PM

Quote:
Seems like they're releasing a 1/2 done project for a little ROI.



Exactly.
I'd even dare to say that, these series were already thought out much before the merger; "at the last minute", DX9.0b & Dual-Channel DDR2 were left out for the "bombastic" Rx7xx series (DT/Mobile?)
A conspiracy theory could be something like... Dual-Channel DDR2 support & >DX9.0b (DX 10.0?) should come out at the same time for both AMD/Intel platforms (both chipsets have a lot in common...); and, the HyperThreading/no-NetBurst support could be a "wait & see" step, regarding Intel's moves on NetBurst/Core (I hardly believe whatever x-Threading AMD will have will be Intel compliant...).


Cheers!
!