Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Intel To Lock Out Nvidia From Atom And Netbooks

Let's hear from the legal mobile warriors on this issue.  According to Digitimes, Nvidia wants to offer the 9400M GPU with Atom to make for more powerful netbooks.  Netbooks capable of playing games and HD content.

You say that's great.  Me too.  Except that Intel is making sure that Atom is only sold with its own chipsets, meaning all those sucky integrated graphic processors.  Okay, sucky is too strong a word.  Intel's IGP works and if you know what it's capable of, there should be no complaints about it.  If you want better graphics, there are other solutions out there from AMD and Nvidia.

Nvidia is offering their own custom solution dubbed "Ion" which marries Atom with its 9400M GPU.  Such a combo would offer a great deal for mobile warriors.  Imagine playing a lot of today's games and HD video.  the 9400M first appeared in Apple's new Macbook lines in the fall.  So far, the Mac folks only have good things to say about it.

But without Intel's cooperation, Ion would not be possible as Intel made sure to remind netbook makers Atom and its 945 chipset (very very old) are married together.  No exceptions.

So, what now?  Well, Intel has been the subject of many anti-trust and anti-competitive lawsuits and complaints in the past.  I can't say this is where its headed and I can't say if Intel is doing the right thing or not.  Certainly, mobile users will be stuck with a slower graphic solution with Intel's 945 chipset.  But we are talking about netbooks here, not Alienware or Macbooks.

Still, it sucks.  Impact on mobile users?  Well, either Intel opens up or Nvidia says "fine, I'll go make my own chips.  See if I care".  Now, that could take a whole.  Years down the road if Nvidia designs its own CPU.  But it also means competition in the marketplace and could very well force Intel to get more serious about graphic cards.

Since Apple switched over to using Intel CPUs, it had been using Intel's integrated graphics solutions.  It was not until this fall the new Macbooks sport Nvidia's 9400M GPU and forgo Intel's X4500 offerings.

Via Digitimes , Gizmodo

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