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Intel Sues Nvidia; Nvidia Says Intel is Afraid

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

On Monday, Intel filed a lawsuit against Nvidia, which apparently stated that the chipset license agreement the two companies signed four years ago does not extend to Intel’s future generation CPUs with integrated memory controllers.

The original deal allowed Nvidia to produce chipsets for Intel CPUs without integrated memory controllers. At the time however, Intel did not have any integrated memory controllers in its plans and so no stipulation was in place to forbid Nvidia from making chipsets for CPUs with memory controllers.

Today, Nvidia responded to the court filing with a press release stating that “we are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies," and that "Nvidia has been attempting to resolve the disagreement with Intel in a fair and reasonable manner for over a year." 

Although currently shipping Nvidia chipsets are not affected by this dispute, future chipsets from Nvidia designed for Intel's Core i7 or future Atom processors are at risk.  Nvidia's upcoming Ion platform for use with future Intel Atom processors is one such a product that may be affected by the court filing, as future Intel Atom processor are expected to feature an integrated memory controller. Judging from Nvidia's response, it seems Nvidia believes Intel is trying to inhibit Nvidia from releasing innovative products such as the Ion platform. 

"When combined with a CPU, Ion enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel’s own solution. In addition, the Ion platform offers 10x the performance of Intel’s current three chip design."  Nvidia continues to state, "given the broad and growing adoption of Nvidia’s platform innovations, it is not surprising that Intel is now initiating a dispute over a contract signed four years ago. Innovations like Ion, SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA threaten Intel’s ability to control the PC platform."

The Nvidia Ion platform was recently put to the test and the results showed that the Ion platform was indeed a winner, offering excellent power savings and excellent graphical performance.  Although the Intel Atom processor had been designed for use in inexpensive netbooks and nettops, Nvidia was able to show with its Ion platform that GPU performance does not need to be sacrificed to achieve a low cost Intel Atom-based system.  With future Intel Atom processors expected to also feature integrated graphics solutions though, there may even more pressure on the long-term viability of the Ion platform.

Although the Nvidia Ion platform will likely appear first in inexpensive desktop systems, if rumors hold true it may be Lenovo that is first to release notebooks featuring the Nvidia Ion platform.  According to a Commerical Times report, an 11-inch, a 12-inch and possibly a 13-inch Ion-based notebook will be released by Lenovo in the second quarter of 2009.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    sacre , February 18, 2009 7:49 PM
    What... Ok guys, level with me here, We want faster devices, that pump better performance, with lower energy costs right? Intel right now, from what i see, is trying to stop nVidia from making something thats better, faster, smoother, thats for US...

    I want faster, if nVidia makes it, then i'm buying nvidia.. Dont silence nvidia and force us to use your subpar shitty product. Man this upsets me.. a company releases better but the giant says no, you HAVE TO USE OUR slower products if you want anything like this.

    This is upsetting. My final words.. Go nVidia.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    danimal_the_animal , February 18, 2009 7:34 PM
    funny how as soon as nvidia showed the ion platform intel days later said they were working on a HD chipset of their own....a laughable 720p.
  • 2 Hide
    danimal_the_animal , February 18, 2009 7:35 PM
    also what good is 720p when people want a cheap computer that can play blueray.
  • 5 Hide
    Blessedman , February 18, 2009 7:45 PM
    yeah might as well get a ps3... This news is not surprising and to be honest I think Nvidia is correct, Intel is scared (remember the internal memo about a year or so ago?).
  • 20 Hide
    sacre , February 18, 2009 7:49 PM
    What... Ok guys, level with me here, We want faster devices, that pump better performance, with lower energy costs right? Intel right now, from what i see, is trying to stop nVidia from making something thats better, faster, smoother, thats for US...

    I want faster, if nVidia makes it, then i'm buying nvidia.. Dont silence nvidia and force us to use your subpar shitty product. Man this upsets me.. a company releases better but the giant says no, you HAVE TO USE OUR slower products if you want anything like this.

    This is upsetting. My final words.. Go nVidia.
  • 0 Hide
    monkeysweat , February 18, 2009 8:09 PM
    hey, why bother with these agreements, if intel or amd makes a cpu, how bout let amd, intel & nvidia make their own chipsets for either cpu,, i'm sure the intel made chipset would generally be better for the intel cpu & the amd chipset would be better for the amd cpu,,,if i had an alpine deck in my car,,i can use any speakers i want,,, the better speakers will be chosen,,same goes for the chipsets
  • -7 Hide
    rooket , February 18, 2009 8:22 PM
    Fanboys will argue that we still have ATI but I don't buy ATI products. Hopefully this gets resolved in nvidia's favor, we don't want intel to monopolize on the graphics card industry, they haven't made a decent performing video chip since somewhere in the early to mid 1990's. I know we're talking about mainboard chipsets here, but nvidia won't allow intel to use their SLI technology which is kinda dumb but at least nvidia has their own chipset for the socket 775. I have a 790i and it works great. I would've bought an intel chipset if I would've found a manufacturer with a decent warranty term. But it is very disappointing to see intel trying to force nvidia out of the chipset business. However I would not have minded them shutting down VIA, via sucks hardcore.
  • 9 Hide
    smalltime0 , February 18, 2009 8:27 PM
    If AMD was in a better market position Nvidia would have probably given Intel the finger and left...
    However if AMD was in a better market position Intel wouldnt have pulled this stunt.

    Suppose there is always VIA, who do have an x86 CPU...
  • 2 Hide
    PrangeWay , February 18, 2009 8:28 PM
    Go Nvidia!
  • 3 Hide
    rooket , February 18, 2009 8:39 PM
    AMD owns ATI so I doubt Nvidia would go to them.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 18, 2009 8:39 PM
    Maybe this is a good argument to buy AMD if you don't support Intel? After all Nvidia does make motherboard chips for AMD. If AMD goes under and we're left with Intel who doesn't like Nvidia and who will fight tooth and nail to keep Nvidia out, so much for competition in both areas. :p 
  • 1 Hide
    deltatux , February 18, 2009 9:00 PM
    If Intel doesn't want to comply, then NVIDIA should work with VIA or AMD on this. It's Intel's loss. NVIDIA has a great bargaining chip at hand.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 18, 2009 9:33 PM
    Intel and Microsoft look too high and mighty, setting rules as to how their products can be used or not; stopping progress and evolution, and inventions by their rules.
    In the end, if nVidia buys their chips to mod them,is the same thing as if I buy a car and pimp it.

    It slowly starts bothering me much, MS' limitations on Vista downgrades to xp, XP's rules, and the rules intel sets on the Atom processor.

    Besides, intel didn't show the slightest effort in helping out the mininotebook sector by upgrading it's almost 6 years old GMA950.

    I think it's time to start thinking about showing them a lesson...
    When they get too high and mighty, I might start buying Via CPU powered computers and Linux (running windows app through wine); or just go over to mac...
  • 8 Hide
    goonting , February 18, 2009 9:56 PM
    man... all we want is affordable and fast systems... i do hope AMD gets back on track...
  • 4 Hide
    fonzy , February 18, 2009 10:00 PM
    Welcome to Intel's New World Order.
  • 2 Hide
    trevorvdw , February 18, 2009 10:06 PM
    rooketAMD owns ATI so I doubt Nvidia would go to them.

    You forget that AMD/ATI and Nvidia were caught in bed together fixing GPU prices, so I'm sure they'd work something out. If it makes money for both companies they'll do it.
  • 1 Hide
    yoda8232 , February 18, 2009 10:09 PM
    Nvidia should just make better ties with AMD and make a SLI and CrossFire capable AM3 platform which would own.
  • 2 Hide
    roofus , February 18, 2009 11:12 PM
    Nvidia obviously holds no ill will towards AMD. I don't think I have ever read a derogatory remark from Nvidia about them and they sure aren't very reserved if they don't like something. I could see them giving something to AMD that they would charge Intel for just out of spite and to aid in degrading Intel market share.
  • 1 Hide
    vider , February 18, 2009 11:27 PM
    nVidia needs to buy ViA, once they have ViA, they can integrate x86 instructions into thier future GPU's (they will need to get the x64 somehow, to scare Intel). Once they get this, they can make a CP-GPU. I think that this will help drop prices, which is good for everyone ;) .
  • -1 Hide
    foxmulder_ms , February 19, 2009 12:34 AM
    Nvidia and AMD should merge and give a real challenge to INTEL. otherwise, they are too little alone.
  • 1 Hide
    Master Exon , February 19, 2009 1:34 AM
    IBM should merge with Microsoft.
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