Nvidia Set to Quit Chipset Business, end of SLI?


Y

Yousuf Khan

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R

rjn

This story seems to have originated at DigiTimes.
Their latest update is:
"Nvidia said to be quitting chipset business; company denies claims"
DT: <http://www.digitimes.com/mobos/a20080801VL203.html>
Note: goes to subscription after a few days.

They are unimpressed with the "confirmation by official denial".

The XbitLabs article was interesting. I was surprised to
learn that SLI requires motherboard support (whereas
CrossFire does not). That makes NV's fate as a high-end
graphics maker contingent on getting that support (unless
they can cleverly parallelize on a single slot, or
re-engineer to bridge the cards independently).

Other challenges facing NV include:
* G84 and G86 melt-down recall fiasco
* is NV IGP performance falling behind ATI ?

The low end of the graphics card market, and perhaps the
mid range, may be about to suffer the fate as many PC
ports that started out as cards, migrated to on-board,
and ended up in the southbridge. The AMD/ATI 790GX intro
next week may be yet another threat to NV (well, for
buyers who don't insist on Intel CPUs, anyway).

According to DT, and perhaps coincidental with the 790GX
and NV troubles, some graphics card cloners have decided
that the future of those cards is not rosy, and perhaps
they need to make IGP motherboards (they need to ask
abit.com.tw about that, rumored to be the next victim
of MB market consolidation).
"More graphics card makers to start selling IGP motherboards"
DT: <http://www.digitimes.com/mobos/a20080725PD205.html>
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

rjn said:
The low end of the graphics card market, and perhaps the
mid range, may be about to suffer the fate as many PC
ports that started out as cards, migrated to on-board,
and ended up in the southbridge. The AMD/ATI 790GX intro
next week may be yet another threat to NV (well, for
buyers who don't insist on Intel CPUs, anyway).

According to DT, and perhaps coincidental with the 790GX
and NV troubles, some graphics card cloners have decided
that the future of those cards is not rosy, and perhaps
they need to make IGP motherboards (they need to ask
abit.com.tw about that, rumored to be the next victim
of MB market consolidation).
"More graphics card makers to start selling IGP motherboards"
DT: <http://www.digitimes.com/mobos/a20080725PD205.html>
I think that's just about right, the graphics cards are going away. And
this will be especially true when laptops become the dominant
form-factor in PCs and desktops go away. In a laptop, your upgrade
options are limited -- basicallly buy a new laptop is all you can do.

Mind you, I see plenty of opportunities for GPUs in the laptop era, but
they will simply be chips soldiered to motherboards, maybe as part of a
southbridge, maybe discrete, or even as part of the CPU. So chipmakers
are going to be making deals with OEMs to see which chips get shipped
with which chips go with which models.

Yousuf Khan
 
R

rjn

Ed Light said:
Don't worry, nvidia has strongly denied it.
And continues to, dutifully reported by DT:
"Nvidia says it is not quitting the chipset market"
<http://www.digitimes.com/mobos/a20080804VL201.html>

The Inq remains unfazed, and piles on with some
supposed insider details:
"Nvidia chipsets are history"
<http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/08/02/nvidia-
chipsets-dead>
"Just over a week ago, Nvidia's maximum leader, Jen-Hsun Huang,
held a meeting with Taiwanese mobo partners. He directly asked
them if there was a reason why Nvidia should stay in the chipset
business. You could hear the crickets chirp."

If (big if) this report, and the Inq's interpretation of it, are true,
I expect Nv to remain in full denial mode until they have an
SLI migration plan - or until they merge with someone, which
strikes me as an equally likely outcome.
 
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R

rjn

Yousuf Khan said:
... it is hardly a surprise that mainboard
makers are not enthusiastic about Nvidia chipsets.
In related recent news on this topic, AMD just let it be known
that they plan to offer their own server chipset, "Fiorano"
next year. We only learned of it on Aug 18. Presumably
nVidia and Broadcom have known longer. This hardly makes
it more likely that nV will stay in the AMD chipset market.
 
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