Nvidia on Monday announced that Intel and leading motherboard manufacturers have licensed the graphic chip maker's SLI technology for use in Intel's P55 Express chipset. This will include boards from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI.
"Nvidia technology is a perfect complement to the processing prowess of our new Core i7 and Intel DP55KG desktop brand," said Clem Russo, VP and General Manager of Intel Client Board Division. "Nvidia and Intel share a combined passion for furthering the PC as the definitive platform for gaming, and this combination will surely be attractive to anyone building or purchasing a brand new PC this fall."
By adding the P55 chipset under SLI's licensing umbrella, SLI is now available for all consumer PC platforms, including the Intel Core i7, Core i5, Core 2 Quad, and Core 2 Duo processor, in addition to those based on the AMD Phenom II CPU, Nvidia points out.
We don't often get excited over integrated graphics chipsets, but as far as that segment goes, AMD's new 785G chipset looks awfully enticing, at least on paper.
Whereas the older 780G was built around the Radeon HD 3200 GPU, the 785G bumps up graphics duties to the HD 4200, and with it support for DirectX 10.1. The new chipset also updates the HDMI 1.2 port to HDMI 1.3. Other goodies include support for PCI-E 2.0 graphics and ATI's Hybrid Graphics mode, 3Gbps SATA connectors, USB 2.0, and HD audio.
Moving away from the hardware, AMD apparently is putting extra effort into building support for Windows 7.
"We recognized that inflection point and realized we needed a product for that timeline," Adam Kozak, Desktop Marketing Manager for AMD, told ExtremeTech. "One of the things with AMD, there's a lot around this, and our driver schedules and everything are part of the proof that we value this transition. That's why you'll get the WHQL drivers way ahead of launch. We've worked hard with Microsoft to ensure that all these features work. It's been a long process to get to where we are now."
While hardcore gamers probably need not apply, AMD says that an Athlon II X2 CPu and 785G-based mobo combo should run under 200 clams.
Nvidia isn't saying much about its next Ion platform, but if recent rumors turn out to be true, the followup platform looks to be a doozie. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, Nvidia will double up the number of shaders on the second generation of Ion.
That means Ion 2, as it will likely be called, would ship with at least 32 shaders, providing a big boost to gaming performance on netbooks and nettops built around the platform. And best of all, thermals aren't expected to rise very much, if at all, on the upcoming shrunken version of Ion.
Nvidia's first Ion has yet to really penetrate the market and cut into Intel's Atom platform marketshare, but that could change as more major manufacturers jump on board. Samsung recently announced plans to launch an Ion netbook this month, and Lenovo's Ion-based IdeaPad S12 is due out in August.
Nevertheless, Fudzilla says Ion 2 should launch by the end of this year.
AMD has slated November 2009 as the month that they will begin mass production of their 8 series chipsets.
The new RD890 chipset is poised to replace the RD790 and RS880D in January 2010, after they pass the engineering verification (EVT) and design verification tests (DVT). The RD890 will pair up with AMD’s quad-core AM3 processors in the high-end market, and will support DDR3 memory and HyperTransport 3.0.
Along with this, AMD is planning to launch their SB800 series of southbridges in January of next year.
Originally scheduled to debut in July, DigiTimes says Intel has gone ahead and postponed the launch of its Core i5 platform until the first half of September, or so that's what "sources at motherboard makers" have been telling them.
Bummer, right? Maybe not. The news and rumor site went on to say that Core i5 processors will show up in the retail sector by late August, with P55-based motherboards surfacing in mid-August. So to sum it up, Core i5 has been delayed until September, but Core i7 will be available in August. Color us confused.
As it currently stands, Core i5 will launch in three speed grades: 2.93GHz, 2.8GHz,and 2.66GHz for $562, $284, and $196, respectively (thousand-unit trays).
Intel's Atom platform has been such a resounding success, one has to wonder what the No. 1 chip maker has planned for a follow-up. You don't have to wonder anymore, as Intel this week officially unveiled 'Pine Trail', the codename for Atom's successor.
The CPU used in Pine Trail, called 'Pineview,' moves the memory controller and GPU onto the same die as the CPU. This means Pine Trail will be a two-chip solution, one less than Intel's current netbook platform. In theory, this should result in cost savings and lower power consumption.
Pineview is being built on a 45nm manufacturing process. Intel hasn't said what type of memory controller it will use, though previous speculation pointed to single-channel DDR2. But what's most interesting is how the war between Intel and Nvidia is shaping up. Like Pine Trail, Nvidia's Ion platform is also a two-chip solution and will have had time to mature by the time Pine Trail debuts later this year. Performance looks to be better on the 9400M-based Ion as well, but Intel's price structure for selling standalone Atoms could put Nvidia at a disadvantage. Moreover, what chips will Nvidia use once Intel makes the move to a CPU+GPU solution?
Forget about a woman scorned - Hell hath no fury like Intel and Nvidia going at each other, both in and out of the courtroom. After being sued by Intel last week over a Nehalem chipset license, Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang responded by saying the suit was "clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business." And in a related press release, Huang pointed out how much better Nvidia's Ion platform is compared to Intel's current three chip design.
Now a week later, the latest episode of "As the Chipset World Turns" has Intel reportedly slamming Nvidia's Ion platform. According to news and review site Bit-Tech, Intel is sending out a document titled "Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide," which includes everything Intel sees wrong with the platform.
This is starting to get ugly. It's bad enough watching Intel and Nvidia go at each other over licensing disputes (remember how long we waited for SLI on Intel chipsets?), but the two aren't showing any signs of letting up. In response to Intel's recent lawsuit, which alleges Nvidia has no right to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has an integrated memory controller, the GPU/chipset maker had some choice words for Intel.
"We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business."
Huang has never been one to mince words, at one time declaring his company would "open a can of whoop-ass." Now less than a year later, the quote-worthy CEO has declared the CPU just another run-of-the-mill component taking a backseat to the GPU.
Nvidia's press release went on to talk up the company's Ion platform, and was quick to point out that it "offers 10x the performance of Intel's current three chip design." Huang also said that given the broad and growing adoption of Nvidia's platforms, including the Ion, he's not the least bit surprised Intel is disputing a four-year-old contract.
You know that couple that is always at odds with each other, turning parties and other get-togethers into awkward affairs? The worst part is when they both turn to you to pick a side, and all you're trying to do is have a good time. For power users, that couple is Intel and Nvidia. We don't know what it is with these two, but just when their relationship appears to be on an upswing, another squabble breaks out.
After years of butting heads, Intel and Nvidia just recently came to agreement over licensing the GPU maker's SLI technology for use on Intel chipsets, and all appeared to be right in the world. But now the two are at it again, this time with Intel taking the offensive. Intel has filed suit against Nvidia this week claiming that the four-year old chipset license agreement between the two does not cover both its current and any future CPUs with integrated memory controllers.
"Intel has filed suit against Nvidia seeking a declaratory judgment over rights associated with two agreements between the companies," Intel said in a statement. "The suit seeks to have the court declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors and that Nvidia has breached the agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Intel has been in discussions with Nvidia for more than a year attempting to resolve the matter but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. As a result Intel is asking the court to resolve this dispute."
Nvida contends that the license agreement is still valid, however admits that it has been "working with Intel to come to some kind of agreement" for the past year. And despite the lawsuit, Nvidia says it has no plans of changing its roadmap, including those chipsets which extend to future processors.
Following Intel's P55 chipset, which is expected to launch sometime late this summer, Intel will release four more mainstream chipsets in the first quarter of 2010. These include the H57, P57, Q57, and H55.
DigiTimes says the higher end H57, P57, and Q57 chipsets will boast support for a revamped version of Intel's Turbo Memory technology currently codenamed Braidwood. This will help with boot times by moving frequently accessed data away from the hard drive and over to Flash memory. The memory chips will also sport a dedicated NVRAM controller for SSD-like read and write speeds, Fudzilla says.
All chipsets will support up to 14 USB 2.0 ports (save for the H55, which checks in with 12), up to 6 SATA ports, and up to 8 PCI-E x1 ports (H55 again being the exception with 6 PCI-E x1 ports).