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Intel says no to Nvidia's Ion

Intel says no to Nvidia's Ion

Nvidia's Ion Platform - You've got more chance of seeing Santa tonight than one of these..

Business comes first for Intel it seems as the season of goodwill is denied, because the word from Taiwan is that Intel insists it will only sell its Atom CPUs bundled with its limited 945-based chipset.

This effectively kills the Ion platform - Nvidia's plans to pair the infectiously popular Atom CPU with the superior GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chipset.

Intel told Digitimes that it has no plans to validate the Nvidia MCP79 chipset on Atom-based nettop or netbook platforms and also said it isn't looking to form a partnership with Nvidia to support nettop or netbook platforms based on the Intel Atom CPU.

Considering the almost unanimously positive feedback we have had from our community on Ion's potential following the announcement, this is a very sad situation for potential consumers, modders and PC enthusiasts. We did pose the question of selling the Atom CPUs on their own to Intel last week and, although we got a very kind "I'll check into it and get an answer," we still haven't heard back on the issue - the situation has been all but confirmed in Taiwan anyway.

In light of this, we suspect very few companies will buy the complete Atom bundles only to throw out the Intel chipsets and use the GeForce 9400M only if the premium can be made back. However, since the netbook/nettop phenomenon is predominantly cost sensitive we believe that many will avoid the Ion platform for that reason. A big shame, in our opinion.

Sadly though, the news doesn't really surprise us because Intel and Nvidia aren't exactly on the most co-operative terms at the moment, but this insistence by Intel could be deemed anti-competitive. On the flipside, Intel is arguably well within its rights to regulate its own platform (which the Atom was launched as) even despite the fact there are other cross-licensing agreements in place.

Admittedly, Intel would also be quite crazy to say 'yes' to MCP79-based netbooks on purely business terms because it would impact on its Celeron and other low end chipset/CPU sales - something that it would understandably want to avoid. But at the same time, preventing consumer choice and - more importantly - innovation, is not something we agree with either. We want to see the bar raised on these low-cost platforms and Ion looked to be a way for that dream to become reality.

Considering the significant industrial weight Intel Taiwan has on the manufacturing industry out there, our expectations are that the Atom platform will remain the status quo in 2009 and we'll see very few if any Ion-based designs, even despite Nvidia's lobbying activities. We've asked Nvidia for a comment, but it understandably hasn't come back to us given that it's Christmas - we'll let you know more as soon as we do.

Agree or disagree with the outcome? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

34 Comments

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iwod 26th December 2008, 10:07 Quote
I think it is time to punish Intel for its Anti Competitive behaviour. If they have actually bothered to include even a G45 i dont think as many people will complain.
Bindibadgi 26th December 2008, 10:28 Quote
Quote:

Didn't read that this morning! But
Quote:
We sell Atom as a stand-alone processor, or as package with chipset,

First I've heard of this. I'll dig around in Taiwan to check, but it'll be next week now.

EDIT: Oooh, right, I've just worked it out.

I think they might sell singularly but it basically makes significant economic sense to buy it as a package. I don't know the numbers - I'm trying to find them out.
Gremlin 26th December 2008, 10:49 Quote
Quote:

was just about to post that myself

its good news imo!
wuyanxu 26th December 2008, 10:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi

I think they might sell singularly but it basically makes significant economic sense to buy it as a package. I don't know the numbers - I'm trying to find them out.

so nVidia + Atom will cost significantly more expensive than Atom + 945??
Bindibadgi 26th December 2008, 10:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
so nVidia + Atom will cost significantly more expensive than Atom + 945??

That is my assumption but I'm trying to find out all the numbers before I write another news piece. It would make the most sense.
yakyb 26th December 2008, 11:16 Quote
i almost cried i would love an ion
koola 26th December 2008, 11:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
i almost cried i would love an ion

+1
Denis_iii 26th December 2008, 13:13 Quote
I'm sure via will be happy to work with Nvidia, and I'd much prefer Nvidia Ion coupled with Via Nano cpu
D3s3rt_F0x 26th December 2008, 13:22 Quote
Why would an Ion be good with an Atom can someone explain? I personally cant see a point for the kind of platforms Atom is based on, but I might be misinformed.
s3v3n 26th December 2008, 13:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis_iii
I'm sure via will be happy to work with Nvidia, and I'd much prefer Nvidia Ion coupled with Via Nano cpu

I still don't understand why nVidia ditched VIA. They should have at least waited till Intel let them use atom...
mclintox 26th December 2008, 14:41 Quote
You think that they would be happy to sell the Atom to whoever wants it in todays financial climate.A sale is a sale,cash in the bank!
leexgx 26th December 2008, 16:18 Quote
Quote:

same here was about to post that my self

atom is very low power, intel IGP sucks, Nvidia chipset + atom alows full hardware HD out at about the same power use

i would only ever want an dual core atom thought atom is slow but dual core one would take the edge off it alot
tranc3 26th December 2008, 20:03 Quote
Hm, Still the business side of computers scares me.
HourBeforeDawn 26th December 2008, 20:31 Quote
wel it kinda makes some sense as the whole netbook and nettops are more aimed at like business and similar not really anything visually intensive as that would just lower battery lfe even further but at the same time you would think that having options like that would allow the people to grasp the atom even further. My guess is Intel doesnt want to do this as they want options for when they launch their graphics card stuff so they can put it towards all these different things and so forth but ehh I could be wrong.
n3mo 26th December 2008, 20:36 Quote
I think that Intel is growing to be too arrogant. Maybe they should remember a moral from IBM's history - in IT world even the greatest, most expensive company can very quickly be reduced to insignificant ashes. Monopoly is not good for anyone, and I wish intel everything bad.
p3n 27th December 2008, 00:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3mo
I think that Intel is growing to be too arrogant. Maybe they should remember a moral from IBM's history - in IT world even the greatest, most expensive company can very quickly be reduced to insignificant ashes. Monopoly is not good for anyone, and I wish intel everything bad.

They are trying to create a super stable 'MID' platform, not your average PC internals.. atleast thats what I thought atom was for!
Burnout21 27th December 2008, 00:31 Quote
yay, full HD capable netbooks with oh wait, err small screens. dang!

just kidding, as an ITX board, everyone will be happy as the atom can be used as a true HTPC device, i know il snatch one up! Even if it cost £50 more than current Atom ITX boards, which are ~£50.
Hephasteus 27th December 2008, 00:39 Quote
Intel made a mistake. Bullying people around might have worked in 1988 but in 2008 that's going to hurt them badly.
OtakuHawk 27th December 2008, 01:54 Quote
SOAB. I really want a new router/firewall/media server, and Atom+Ion would have fit my bill.
Goty 27th December 2008, 04:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D3s3rt_F0x
Why would an Ion be good with an Atom can someone explain? I personally cant see a point for the kind of platforms Atom is based on, but I might be misinformed.

I think you've misunderstood how this platform is formed, but the advantage is that you get a super-low power draw platform that can accelerate HD video in a very small footprint.
Hephasteus 27th December 2008, 09:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goty
I think you've misunderstood how this platform is formed, but the advantage is that you get a super-low power draw platform that can accelerate HD video in a very small footprint.

The cpu doesn't do any HD video acceleration. All that is in hardware and it's in the video hardware. Intel is jut jamming market with ATOM to mess with Via. Via spent all the time developing and making products for the super small PC market and intel just wants to mess with it.
Nettops are going to happen. They aren't going to have any sort of windows on them cause windows will try to use expensive license to make them uncompetitive with desktops. Intel is going to have go from being so powerful that they can bully dell around to being so powerful they can bully Russia, china, and japan around. They are going to have to do this bullying with advertising dollars which will drain them all through the depression.
johnmustrule 27th December 2008, 11:36 Quote
I think the best solution would be for intel to grab a small licensing fee from invidia and per sale
Bindibadgi 27th December 2008, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hephasteus
Intel made a mistake. Bullying people around might have worked in 1988 but in 2008 that's going to hurt them badly.

Well no, because it they do sell the two separately then there's nothing anti-competitive about it, and if Intel sells the package at a really really good price (I've still yet to find out) then it's just protecting its own business like any "bundle" offer.

John - Intel and Nvidia already have a cross licensing agreement with the front side bus allowing Nvidia to make MCPs/MCHs for Intel CPUs.
airchie 27th December 2008, 17:55 Quote
Wasn't the VIA Nano CPU better than the atom anyway?
Would it be hard for Nvidia to make the ION platform support the VIA CPU?
Hephasteus 27th December 2008, 18:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Well no, because it they do sell the two separately then there's nothing anti-competitive about it, and if Intel sells the package at a really really good price (I've still yet to find out) then it's just protecting its own business like any "bundle" offer.

John - Intel and Nvidia already have a cross licensing agreement with the front side bus allowing Nvidia to make MCPs/MCHs for Intel CPUs.

So are they going to dust off their old sales deals. We'll sell ya 10,000 atoms for 20 dollars each if you buy 20,000 8088's for 10 dollars each?

Well you know they will arrange it so that you get stuck with chips you either are forced to throw away to give the consumers what they want or keep putting out this nonsense stuff the computer industry keeps throwing on the channel. You could buy a 2.5inch full height hard drive that read from 8 heads on 4 platters at once and smoke 15k rpm enterprise drives. Hooked up to miniitx boards that had tiny processor socket, single chip computer, 1 pci slot and a pcix1 slot with a single upgradeable gpu socket. Or bigger 64 bit multicore version of same thing on microatx board with 4 gpu sockets.

If the video card makers are going to turn the computer into gGPU machines they need to put their processors on a Pin Grid Array package and bring in all the cooling and integrating advantages that comes from having everything intense on the motherboard plane. Video card makers need to stop with all the ultra parallelism and get sane number of cores and work on clock speeds.

Whatever happens there's going to be a war between cpu and gpu as cpu's go 16 and 32 core and gpu's go from 128 core and slow back down to 64 and 32 core and fast. If AMD and ATI can cooperate in the war and VIA and S3 can cooperate in the war. Well with Intel and Nvidia off trying trying to pimp slap each other the computer industry is going to get loud, noisy and screwed up while those 2 merged companies go off and silently kill them. However it ends up people are going to end up with way way way more computer than they will ever need as the software catches up.

Even crazy people with heads buried in computers will wake up and smell the economy in 1 more month. What happens after that. Who knows.
Bindibadgi 27th December 2008, 18:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hephasteus
So are they going to dust off their old sales deals. We'll sell ya 10,000 atoms for 20 dollars each if you buy 20,000 8088's for 10 dollars each?

No, my guess is more like - buy the kit for $30, but the CPU alone is $20. That means a 9400M has to be $10 to be competitive but it's gonna be hitting more like $20-30, which is still reasonable, but instead of a $60-70 total board cost, you're now looking more like $100. For a netbook/nettop part though that makes it uncompetitive for most cost sensitive applications.

I've read the Atom die is so small it costs Intel just $4-6 a pop to make one, but obviously that doesn't count for all the additional costs (R&D is huge and they effectively made an entirely new CPU which would have taken some $$$).
notatoad 27th December 2008, 18:52 Quote
so if they won't let nvidia pair the atom with a good chipset, are they actually going to release a decent chipset for the atom to go with? i was thinking about getting an atom desktop board, but i don't want an old and crappy 945 board with VGA-only graphics.
Hephasteus 28th December 2008, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
No, my guess is more like - buy the kit for $30, but the CPU alone is $20. That means a 9400M has to be $10 to be competitive but it's gonna be hitting more like $20-30, which is still reasonable, but instead of a $60-70 total board cost, you're now looking more like $100. For a netbook/nettop part though that makes it uncompetitive for most cost sensitive applications.

I've read the Atom die is so small it costs Intel just $4-6 a pop to make one, but obviously that doesn't count for all the additional costs (R&D is huge and they effectively made an entirely new CPU which would have taken some $$$).

Why does 9400M have to be $10 to be competitive? It does alot more than Intels chip. I guess AMD and nvidia are just going to have to put so much graphical horsepower in on board graphics that consumers expect and demand it.

Don't believe that R@D cost junk. They have all these layouts stored in computers and all they have to do is cut and paste and then layout whatever external changes need patching up. Via's C series is just the old Cyrix layout shrunk and patched up to deal with how those ac characteristics deal with everything else in the computer. Not exactly an easy task but they don't start from the ground up and they haven't started from the ground up since 4 bit processors. All the computer power available today and all the work done to make the tools to make laying it out easier. That's all been done.

When total markets were 1 million pc's and alot of work had to be done for improvement the please don't margin squeeze us thing worked. I'm thinking margin squeezing is gonna happen. In 200 million and 1 billion pc markets with shares so large that nobody can control them all. People are going to have to focus their efforts or spread out so thin that they suck at everything they do. Then it will go totally GM where the camaro can't have x amount of horsepower because it competes against the corvette and well... A house divided against itself soon falls and everybody has to keep their house small enough to keep the divisions from occuring.

So i guess all ya can do is watch the computer industry kick it's own butt while trying to define the sense of self (be it competitors or customers or allies etc) that is doing the kicking. It's going to be interesting to watch.
outlawaol 28th December 2008, 17:17 Quote
Corporate warfare, a curious thing indeed. Intel is watching out for itself for sure. Even though it may come across as selfish a bit. Perhaps they have plans to combine the atom with a newer chipset. It would be in their better interest to do so (to remain competitive).

All well... I already have a netbook with said older chipset and prolly wont bother with a newer combination anyway. I cant be spending hundreds of dollars every time a company sneezes out a new product.
Sark.inc 1st January 2009, 08:24 Quote
can someone explain what gGPU is, i got left out side when the memo was sent out..
Chocobollz 1st January 2009, 14:09 Quote
I'd prefer Intel to not giving nVidia any chance to get their Ion platforms on the Atom. They deserve that because they're so high of themself. I wonder who's got whooped in the *ss now?
Bindibadgi 2nd January 2009, 13:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sark.inc
can someone explain what gGPU is, i got left out side when the memo was sent out..

mGPU = motherboard GPU. It's exactly the same as IGP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chocobollz
I'd prefer Intel to not giving nVidia any chance to get their Ion platforms on the Atom. They deserve that because they're so high of themself. I wonder who's got whooped in the *ss now?

That doesn't even make sense - why stop consumer choice and a more feature filled chipset? It doesn't affect the Atom, it only offers an alternative.

If you don't like Nvidia (as reading from your other posts, this is evident), don't buy it.
Hephasteus 4th January 2009, 00:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sark.inc
can someone explain what gGPU is, i got left out side when the memo was sent out..

Video cards have things in them called shaders. As the shaders get more and more sophisticated they become more and more capable of solving general tasks. Nvidia series 6 and 7 cards have shader 3.0. 8 and 9 cards have shader 4.0 which is direct x 10.

The new shader 4.0 cards have complete enough instruction sets to be able to solve alot of problems efficiently. So gGPU is using "generalized" graphics processing units as computers.

Like your computer with a radeon 3850 or 3870 video card or a 9800GT or GTX is capable of reencoding a video 20 times faster on the video card than on the CPU.
But technology is like that scene from Ace Ventura where he's letting the slinky walk down the stairs and it fails at the very end and the guy insists that the have to go and he snidely replies. "Sure let's do all the things YOU want to do first."

So before this technology can improve our day to day lives we have to build supercomputers for academia so they can sell us drugs that cost 10 thousand dollars a month and buy big huge energy pig computers so the pentegon can have secret unfunded supercomputers and "advertising" service providers can stuff profiled ads at us everywhere we go. Once all that is done we'll get really cool addictive games that chain 50 million people at a time to a virtual world for years on end.

I'm crying at the heart touching wonderfulness of all that is being created right now. It's going to be so wonderful and uplifting to all of mankind.
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