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Going to war with NVIDIA USDOJ-ATD - Investigation Deepens

Tags:
  • Nvidia
  • Chipsets
  • Graphics Cards
  • Core
  • Logic
  • Graphics
  • Product
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 30, 2006 10:10:50 AM

The United States Department Of Justice Antitrust Division is Investigating NVIDIA and ATI for price fixing.

In addition there are activities that suggest a deeper investigation on NVIDIA relating to their drivers, and software and feature support on other vendors core logic chipsets.


Excerpted from my letter to USDOJ-ATD and Michigan Attorney General:

NVIDIA has engaged in illegal anti-competitive practices that violate Anti-trust laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitrust]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antitrust

Tying - The practice of making the sale of one good conditional on the purchase of a second distinctive good

By forcing the purchase of NVIDIA Core Logic Chipsets in order to maintain features in their Graphics Cards as well as locking out competitors Core Logic Chipsets in their Graphics Card Driver Software.
Also by denying Driver support of certain features on competitors Core Logic Chipsets.

Vendor lock-in -
Is a situation in which a customer is so dependent on a vendor for products and services that he or she cannot move to another vendor without substantial switching costs, real and/or perceived

By forcing the purchase of NVIDIA Core Logic Chipsets in order to maintain features in their Graphics Cards as well as locking out competitors Core Logic Chipsets in their Graphics Card Driver Software.
Also by denying Driver support of certain features on competitors Core Logic Chipsets.


“The changing definition of “SLI” (Scaleable Link Interface)

Newer supporting graphics card drivers “Lock-Out SLI Functionality on Competitors Core Logic Chipsets.” (IE: Intel 975x)

On the rear panel of the boxes, there is product information collateral that NVIDIA Corp.
feeds to the partners, that manufacture, and distribute NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards.

In the Personal Computer industry it is routine for AMD, Intel, ATI etc. to provide verbatim collateral that their partners must use in all forms of advertising and product information, provided during the sales phase to the potential/prospective customer.

This explanation of what SLI is appears on the rear panel of my product box:

“What is SLI ? How does it Work?
An NVIDIA SLI system requires a PCI Express motherboard that supports two physical connectors that are capable of having two NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards plugged into them. Joined by the NVIDIA SLI connector, the two graphics cards power one monitor, delivering earth shattering PC performance. SLI requires a PCI Express motherboard, and both graphics cards must be the exact same model number and from the same vendor. For example, two GeForce 7800 GT OC PCI Express cards from BFG Technologies.”

NVIDIA produces GPU chips, and does proof of concept development that the partners use in the development of their product. The consumer depends upon NVIDIA for graphics driver software.

(See Scanned Box Images Below)

http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/9237/whatisslikf4.jp...]http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/9237/whatisslikf4.jp...

http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/5627/systemrequireme...]http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/5627/systemrequireme...


PCI/SIG http://www.pcisig.com/home]http://www.pcisig.com/home
is the PCI Express interoperability specifications consortium that assures add-on card communications protocols are compatible thru all PC platforms.

All PCI Express motherboards and Graphics Cards are built to be compliant to that specification regardless of core logic chipset, or manufacturer.

My graphics cards will not function in SLI mode with this (Intel 975x)Core Logic Chipset with current NVIDIA Graphics Drivers.

NVIDIA has changed the definition of [/u]SLI since the purchase of my graphics cards, and locked out competitive compliant Core Logic Chipsets in their Graphics Drivers software. It now requires NVIDIA Core Logic Chipsets only.

This is not a hardware issue, as in the past with older video card drivers,(pre 88.55) you could edit your Windows XP registry to enable the second graphics slot.

NVIDIA in their drivers beyond 88.55 have enabled aggressive overwriting to not allow the user to alter the Windows XP registry in this manner. Editing the registry in this manner does not infringe upon NVIDIA software intellectual property, as you are editing the Windows XP registry.


Per below:

Step 1. Click the Windows' "Start" button, click on "Run", type "regedit" and click the Ok button.

Step 2. Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Curr entControlSet\Control\Video\" where you'll find a list of keys identifying all the installed so far video cards.

Step 3. Find which are the two keys representing the currently installed 2 video cards in your system (look for "Device Description" in the \0000 under the display id key).

Step 4. Now you have to insert the following keys under the main display key (or modify their values if they are already present):

\0000
MB_Capable REG_BINARY 01 00 00 00
MB_Enable REG_BINARY 01 00 00 00

\0001
MB_Enable REG_BINARY 01 00 00 00



http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8622/reg1pe4.jpg]http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8622/reg1pe4.jpg



http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8844/reg2xw5.jpg]http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8844/reg2xw5.jpg



• In the above product information collateral no where is the phrase “NVIDIA SLI READY” this change came later in the game, and the proper information, was never communicated properly during the sales phase, to the potential/prospective customers.

“An NVIDIA SLI system requires a PCI Express motherboard that supports two physical connectors that are capable of having two NVIDIA-based PCI Express graphics cards plugged into them.”

• This collateral came from NVIDIA and BFG tech. as a partner was required to use this collateral verbatim as supplied by their supplier.

• Because of this issue, I have no official SLI support and can only use older drivers; this limits me from upgrading to Windows Vista as I will lose SLI functionality.

• NVIDIA has effectively shielded itself from the end users, thru their manufacturing, and distribution partners that they can then ignore, as they are in effect the partners revenue source.

• BFG Technologies has attempted in good faith to influence NVIDIA but at this point this is a political issue, and BFG Technologies hands are tied.

• I personally am at a dead end from NVIDIA’s actions when it comes to something as simple as Driver Support for SLI on anyone else’s Core Logic Chipsets.

• This issue effects thousands of NVIDIA’s Partners Customers and some form of relief is needed from NVIDIA’s unscrupulous business practices.

• I have paid for the hardware and all associated rights, and am being denied proper ongoing product support and usage based upon information that was not made available during the sales phase.

• Intel developed and is the primary supporter of PCI Express

• NVIDIA Quaddro Graphics cards are not affected by the SLI Lockout on Intel Core Logic Chipsets. These are used in Enterprise CAD workstations primarily.

• NVIDIA has chosen to operate in a monopolistic fashion, and is sacrificing it’s partners’ customer relationships for simple greed.

• At this point because of the Major Issues that exist with NVIDIA Core Logic I must request relief in the form of forced driver support for my Graphics Cards.



What SLI is was clearly defined in open statements on the product boxes in black and green. NVIDIA produced that collateral, and should be held responsible for the support of their products, within that clearly defined definition. The trademarked phrase “SLI Ready” were absent from this collateral.

By attempting to subjugate that after the fact is a deplorable act, and shows total disregard for their customers, and partners.

Because of NVIDIA’s poor Core Logic Chipsets for Intel Core 2 Duo CPU’s it puts the end user in a very tough position to either buy their poor product, or loose feature support buying a competitor. Intel, pioneered and drove PCI-Express their Core Logic Chipsets are fully compliant with the specifications.



Thank You !!

If it isn't broke ... Leave it Alone !!


Reynard131

More about : war nvidia usdoj atd investigation deepens

December 30, 2006 10:51:40 AM

You joined the Forumz just to tell us this?
January 3, 2007 7:02:07 PM

He has a point. The only problem is nVidia considers SLI a platform and a competing technology to both Intel and ATI.

By this investigation's logic Intel should open up it's core logic chipsets for AMD to use on future chips. But will that happen? Unlikely.

This case will probably go nowhere.
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