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NVIDIA to exit chipset business, no Apple partnership?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
A new rumor has it that NVIDIA is preparing to bow out of the chipset business altogether, making it unlikely that Apple has forged a closer bond with the chipmaker as part of its future Mac product plans.

Citing "sources close to the situation," DigiTimes points to an unsuccessful attempt by NVIDIA to recently rally top motherboard makers to throw their weight behind its next-generation chipsets.

"As the story is told, NVIDIA called a meeting earlier this week with its motherboard partners to gauge support for it continuing to develop chipsets in the future," the Taiwanese publication said. "The motherboard makers' response? Silence."

While details of the situation are said to few and far between, the report speculates that NVIDIA will transfer its chipset team to working on GPU projects. Meanwhile, some motherboard makers are said to have canceled upcoming projects based on the company's nForce 7-series chipset.

If true, the move would pour water on speculation that NVIDIA is somehow involved in Apple's rumored decision to forgo Intel's new Montevina chipset in some of its upcoming Mac models.

It would also mean that NVIDIA must now come up with a way of licensing and enabling multi-GPU support on motherboards using Intel or AMD chipsets, according to DigiTimes.

"Otherwise it will have to cede the top-end of the graphics card market to AMD, which now has the benefit of Crossfire," the publication said.

Update: Lehman analyst Tim Luke has contacted Nvidia management in both the U.S. and Taiwan and found that the company remains committed to staying in the chipset business, despite DigiTimes' claims.

According to Barrons, Luke issued a report noting that Nvidia is expected to ramp chipsets with Intel motherboard partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, with incremental opportunities at Apple, and others.
post #2 of 31
good time for apple to acquire NVIDIA? but i know nothing so....
post #3 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

It would also mean that NVIDIA must now come up with a way of licensing and enabling multi-GPU support on motherboards using Intel or AMD chipsets, according to DigiTimes.

"Otherwise it will have to cede the top-end of the graphics card market to AMD, which now has the benefit of Crossfire," the publication said.

Nonsense. The platform for Bloomfield will have SLI support with Intel chipsets.

/Adrian
post #4 of 31
Sticking all your eggs into one (GPU) basket seems like a bad thing to do. Particularly with increased competition from both AMD(ATI) and Intel in that area, and with people increasingly buying laptops with on-board graphics.
post #5 of 31
Another possibility is Apple may option to either purchase or license the motherboard chipset technologies from NVIDIA and have P.A. Semi develop it for desktop and laptop class products going forward.

Interesting if the rumors are true.

-YipYipYipee
post #6 of 31
Apple could acquire the rights on the chipsets, use them as-is in the upcoming product refreshes, but continue to develop them to their best fit through PA Semi.
post #7 of 31
YipYipYipee, you were reading my mind But interesting coincidence of thoughts...
post #8 of 31
http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...8&postcount=40

I guess my comments in the previous nVidia thread that nVidia's chipset silence is likely the result of redeployment of engineers to support the GPU department rather than a grand secret partnership with Apple was closer to the truth than I thought.

And for people who think that Apple will license nVidia technologies and develop it further, what's the point? The reason nVidia is considering pulling back is that Intel hasn't granted them a license to Quickpath so none of their chipsets will work with upcoming Nehalem processors. In other words their current FSB chipsets have a lifespan of a year at most. We would Apple waste their time licensing dead-end technologies? Even if nVidia or Apple got a Quickpath license they will have to redevelop their new chipsets for the different interconnect, so it will all take time.

Plus, while high-end Nehalems will use Quickpath to a Northbridge, mainstream Nehalems actually won't use Quickpath at all. Instead mainstream Nehalems already incorporate an integrated memory controller, an IGP, and PCIe 2.0 x16 links for graphics cards thereby eliminating the need for a northbridge. Instead they will only have a DMI link to the southbridge. So even licensing Quickpath will only address they high-end of the market. nVidia or Apple will need to license DMI too, to address the majority of Intel's processor line.

This is why my response to suggestions of custom Apple chipset logic is that it'll probably be limited to southbridge development if it does occur. Because southbridges will always connect over DMI, so any southbridge developed with DMI will be able to connect to current FSB northbridges, future Quickpath northbridges, and connect to future mainstream Nehalems directly. This way development costs can be spread out. Northbridges are more performance sensitive anyways, so it makes sense to let Intel develop so they can optimize it to the processor.
post #9 of 31
Q-chan,

Snap!

I had a quick look at NVIDIA's product matrix and looking at the details I'm concerned with a few things.

For example, if the intention is to either license or purchase the GeForce 7 Series chipset technology, in it's existing form it seems it would best fit next generation Mac Pro desktops. But I'm not sure if it would be so easily adaptable for the iMac much less the Mac Mini.

-YipYipYipee
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Nonsense. The platform for Bloomfield will have SLI support with Intel chipsets.

Not exactly. To get SLI support with X58, motherboard makers will have to add Nvidia's MCP200 chip to the board. It's hot, expensive, and all but guarantees that few mobo makers will bother selling boards with them.

On the other hand, apparently Nvidia did get a QPI license. Which means this AppleInsider story was obsolete before it was even posted, Nvidia will not be getting out of the chipset business.

link
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by YipYipYipee View Post

Another possibility is Apple may option to either purchase or license the motherboard chipset technologies from NVIDIA and have P.A. Semi develop it for desktop and laptop class products going forward.

Interesting if the rumors are true.

-YipYipYipee

Not in a billion years would Nvidia sell something like that.
post #12 of 31
There is another possibility not mentioned in the article. Apple could be working with Nvidia to develop its next chipset, and Nvidia just decided to exit the market. If they were working together, it would be to late in the game to change direction for this product refresh(they could change direction, but there would be significant delays). If Nvidia just did make this decision, it would put a serious pothole in Apple's Roadmaps if they were basing there future designs on this. It would damage there relationship with Intel by not being an exclusive intel shop. The bad part of this is that they would now have to come back to Intel for there future products, putting them in a very bad bargaining position. The Net effect would be a huge cut in Apple's profit margin.
"Life is a cookie"
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"Life is a cookie"
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post #13 of 31
Dear Apple,

Please buy NVIDIA.

Take care,
Me
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

Dear Apple,

Please buy NVIDIA.

Take care,
Me

I want you to imagine Dana Carvey portraying George H Bush on SNL. Just get that image in your mind. Now read my lips:

"Not gonna happen."
post #15 of 31
Guys, the digitimes report may be false:

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderd...rrect-updated/

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #16 of 31
In many ways, a P A Semi motherboard controlled by Apple would be much better than one from nVidia. Instead of Apple coming up with ways to fit a computer around a 'standard' motherboard, they can just design their own. They can find ways to support SLI or whatever they want and also optimize the connection between GPU and CPU, which is needed in hardware as well as software.

Since it's not really feasible for them to make their own integrated graphics chips, this leaves them with the only option of using dedicated chips but they'd want to do this easily - all they need is an open standard MXM slot.

This way they can use the same MXM GPUs in the iMac, Macbook Pro, Mini and Macbook. This gives more options for BTO as they can sell the Macbooks with a low end or high end MXM chip and similarly the MBP. No need to make two boards, just pull out the MXM chip and put in a cheaper one - MXM was designed to reduce costs for the manufacturer not allow consumers to upgrade chips.

Look at the GPU options you get on the iMac but none on the laptops or Mini even though they are all laptops. Only the iMac uses an MXM slot. Using one set of chips in them all means that they can reduce costs across the entire lineup and the low end suddenly becomes more powerful.

If they use Intel CPUs, a P A Semi mobo (controlled by them) and either nvidia or ATI dedicated cards (not sure if ATI works with MXM though), it's a win all round.

The best CPUs, the best GPUs, stable, custom-built motherboards designed to get the best performance out of both and fit into whatever funky design Apple decides to make. And for free they get protection of their computers as you simply couldn't run OS X on anything without those boards - nVidia boards could be bought by anyone.

Not to mention, custom boards would be the best way to add on custom P A Semi chips for handling specialized processing tasks and this would most certainly make them competitive with other computer manufacturers. Perhaps this is why they've been delaying Blu-Ray, if they've got custom chipsets, they maybe want to make sure hardware decoding (possibly encoding, which would be incredible) works correctly.

If they could handle real-time Blu-Ray encoding, that would be well worth waiting for. Final Cut/Compressor is sooooo slow at encoding movies. Even DVDs can take 3-4 hours.
post #17 of 31
Why can't we just leave this whole issue alone!!! Apple obviously isn't going to squeal, and we don't really know much about nVidia's plans either. Let's just wait and see. Of course, we all like to know what changes Apple will be making in future products...but these articles are ridiculous! Could someone tell me what is so special about the chipset? In my opinion, something like appearance, new features, and noticeable new hardware is worth reporting...like Apple moving to AMD processors, changing the MacBook to aluminum, or adding some revolutionary new feature. I know some who read this may say "but you don't have to read the articles if you don't want" to which my response is "why is this issue worth reporting several times and creating hype".
post #18 of 31
FWIW Department...

- It's pretty well known that PA Semi has engineers at Nvidia

- Apples numbers show a huge "product transition" expense next quarter... the first of it's kind and very, very large, obviously an acquisition of some kind.

- If Apple doesn't adopt Montevina it must obtain an alternate video chip, Nvidia is by far the most likely supplier.

- Apple would lock down a supplier of this importance. Apple isn't going to be painted into a corner by having their chip supplier flaking out.
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave312 View Post

- If Apple doesn't adopt Montevina it must obtain an alternate video chip, Nvidia is by far the most likely supplier.

"If Apple doesn't adopt Montevina," they need an alternate CHIPSET. chipsets and video chips are not the same thing: some chipsets have integrated graphics, some need an "external" dedicated graphics chip. nvidia and ATI are [by far] the only choices, today.

FWIW, I think Apple should keep doing what they do with Intel: using their parts and pushing Intel forward: small package chips of the MBA and montevina-like/custom santa rosa cpus+chipsets of the iMac. With all the changes that Nehalem will bring, Apple should stay close to Intel regarding the computers. For the iPod/iPhone/Appliances, it's another story...

For all we know, Apple could already have worked with Intel on small package/lower power versions of the Montevina chipset custom-made for them. With the decrease in power requirements of the Montevina cpus, this would allow for thinner notebooks and longer battery life (especially with the 25W cpus).
post #20 of 31
What if... this AND the previous rumours were TRUE.

Nvidia is bowing out of the chipset business. Apparently.
Apple may be using Nvidia chipsets.
Apple and Nvidia is silent on the matter.

As suggested before, this could mean...
Nvidia is exclusively making chipsets for Apple. Desktop to portable to ultraportable to mobile.

Chipsets and sexy GPUs and "one more thing...". Yeahhhh

Seriously though, Nvidia exiting the chipset business has to be total rubbish. They'd be totally screwed. Who's going to push SLI for them? Intel? While SLI is not Nvidia's core business, it is part of its core marketing strategy. You start to see SLI boards diminish, Nvidia better have a bloody good replacement strategy for that gap in its sales.
post #21 of 31
nVidia is denying leaving the chipset biz.

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=12563

I just think people need to chill out and wait. The guessing and misdirections only confuse everybody all the more, feeding a fire that is likely not nearly as big as the speculation... as usual.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

Sticking all your eggs into one (GPU) basket seems like a bad thing to do. Particularly with increased competition from both AMD(ATI) and Intel in that area, and with people increasingly buying laptops with on-board graphics.

Regarding OBG:

Just because everyone else is doing it, that doesn't make it right.
post #23 of 31
OK. I'm going to pull a few wild predictions out of my butt now:

1) Apple's PA Semi acquisition is about new processors for iPods and nothing else

2) Nvidia is staying in the chipset biz, although they will be surrendering the high-end for at least the next year

3) Which doesn't matter to anyone here because there's no way in hell Apple will stop using Intel chipsets
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruchito View Post

good time for apple to acquire NVIDIA? but i know nothing so....

No no no no no!
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Nonsense. The platform for Bloomfield will have SLI support with Intel chipsets.

/Adrian

According to Anandtech and at least one other site that I remember reading, Intel's SLI support isn't as good as Nvidia's.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showp...8&postcount=40

I guess my comments in the previous nVidia thread that nVidia's chipset silence is likely the result of redeployment of engineers to support the GPU department rather than a grand secret partnership with Apple was closer to the truth than I thought.

And for people who think that Apple will license nVidia technologies and develop it further, what's the point? The reason nVidia is considering pulling back is that Intel hasn't granted them a license to Quickpath so none of their chipsets will work with upcoming Nehalem processors. In other words their current FSB chipsets have a lifespan of a year at most. We would Apple waste their time licensing dead-end technologies? Even if nVidia or Apple got a Quickpath license they will have to redevelop their new chipsets for the different interconnect, so it will all take time.

Plus, while high-end Nehalems will use Quickpath to a Northbridge, mainstream Nehalems actually won't use Quickpath at all. Instead mainstream Nehalems already incorporate an integrated memory controller, an IGP, and PCIe 2.0 x16 links for graphics cards thereby eliminating the need for a northbridge. Instead they will only have a DMI link to the southbridge. So even licensing Quickpath will only address they high-end of the market. nVidia or Apple will need to license DMI too, to address the majority of Intel's processor line.

This is why my response to suggestions of custom Apple chipset logic is that it'll probably be limited to southbridge development if it does occur. Because southbridges will always connect over DMI, so any southbridge developed with DMI will be able to connect to current FSB northbridges, future Quickpath northbridges, and connect to future mainstream Nehalems directly. This way development costs can be spread out. Northbridges are more performance sensitive anyways, so it makes sense to let Intel develop so they can optimize it to the processor.

Good! I was going to post pretty much the same thing, so you saved me a bunch of typing.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Guys, the digitimes report may be false:

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderd...rrect-updated/

K

I still love it when one rumor requires another to even look credible.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave312 View Post

FWIW Department...

- It's pretty well known that PA Semi has engineers at Nvidia

Really? Who are the people who "pretty much" know this? Can you mention the names of any of those people?

Quote:
- Apples numbers show a huge "product transition" expense next quarter... the first of it's kind and very, very large, obviously an acquisition of some kind.

Is it that obvious? Why would a product transition indicate to you a corporate purchase?

Quote:
- If Apple doesn't adopt Montevina it must obtain an alternate video chip, Nvidia is by far the most likely supplier.

- Apple would lock down a supplier of this importance. Apple isn't going to be painted into a corner by having their chip supplier flaking out.

It's just a rumor. We don't know if Apple is going to do this.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

What if... this AND the previous rumours were TRUE.

Nvidia is bowing out of the chipset business. Apparently.
Apple may be using Nvidia chipsets.
Apple and Nvidia is silent on the matter.

As suggested before, this could mean...
Nvidia is exclusively making chipsets for Apple. Desktop to portable to ultraportable to mobile.

Chipsets and sexy GPUs and "one more thing...". Yeahhhh

Seriously though, Nvidia exiting the chipset business has to be total rubbish. They'd be totally screwed. Who's going to push SLI for them? Intel? While SLI is not Nvidia's core business, it is part of its core marketing strategy. You start to see SLI boards diminish, Nvidia better have a bloody good replacement strategy for that gap in its sales.

What a horrible idea!
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

In many ways, a P A Semi motherboard controlled by Apple would be much better than one from nVidia. Instead of Apple coming up with ways to fit a computer around a 'standard' motherboard, they can just design their own. They can find ways to support SLI or whatever they want and also optimize the connection between GPU and CPU, which is needed in hardware as well as software.

Since it's not really feasible for them to make their own integrated graphics chips, this leaves them with the only option of using dedicated chips but they'd want to do this easily - all they need is an open standard MXM slot.

This way they can use the same MXM GPUs in the iMac, Macbook Pro, Mini and Macbook. This gives more options for BTO as they can sell the Macbooks with a low end or high end MXM chip and similarly the MBP. No need to make two boards, just pull out the MXM chip and put in a cheaper one - MXM was designed to reduce costs for the manufacturer not allow consumers to upgrade chips.

Look at the GPU options you get on the iMac but none on the laptops or Mini even though they are all laptops. Only the iMac uses an MXM slot. Using one set of chips in them all means that they can reduce costs across the entire lineup and the low end suddenly becomes more powerful.

If they use Intel CPUs, a P A Semi mobo (controlled by them) and either nvidia or ATI dedicated cards (not sure if ATI works with MXM though), it's a win all round.

The best CPUs, the best GPUs, stable, custom-built motherboards designed to get the best performance out of both and fit into whatever funky design Apple decides to make. And for free they get protection of their computers as you simply couldn't run OS X on anything without those boards - nVidia boards could be bought by anyone.

Not to mention, custom boards would be the best way to add on custom P A Semi chips for handling specialized processing tasks and this would most certainly make them competitive with other computer manufacturers. Perhaps this is why they've been delaying Blu-Ray, if they've got custom chipsets, they maybe want to make sure hardware decoding (possibly encoding, which would be incredible) works correctly.

If they could handle real-time Blu-Ray encoding, that would be well worth waiting for. Final Cut/Compressor is sooooo slow at encoding movies. Even DVDs can take 3-4 hours.

MXM cards will need EFI roms just like the mac pro pci-e cards and heat sinks and cooling also a big thing with mxm
post #31 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

What a horrible idea!

I honestly cannot really remember making that post below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

What if... this AND the previous rumours were TRUE.

Nvidia is bowing out of the chipset business. Apparently.
Apple may be using Nvidia chipsets.
Apple and Nvidia is silent on the matter.

As suggested before, this could mean...
Nvidia is exclusively making chipsets for Apple. Desktop to portable to ultraportable to mobile.

Chipsets and sexy GPUs and "one more thing...". Yeahhhh

Seriously though, Nvidia exiting the chipset business has to be total rubbish. They'd be totally screwed. Who's going to push SLI for them? Intel? While SLI is not Nvidia's core business, it is part of its core marketing strategy. You start to see SLI boards diminish, Nvidia better have a bloody good replacement strategy for that gap in its sales.
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