NVIDIA Planning GPU – Southbridge Chipset?

Published: Sep 2nd 2010, 16:11 GMT

[H]ard|OCP - NVIDIA Planning GPU - Southbridge Chipset?
According to anonymous industry sources, NVIDIA is developing a chipset that combines the functions of a southbridge and a GPU. Now that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Therefore, NVIDIA is developing the new chipset to bypass Intel’s new Sandy Bridge architecture, which combines CPU and northbridge chipsets. NVIDIA’s chipsets is expected to be US$10-15 less than Intel’s standard GPU-integrated southbridge chipsets and makers will no longer need to integrate an extra graphics chip.

Via InsideHw

An Internet source hinted that NVIDIA might be developing a chipset that would work around Intel’s current ban on what it can build. As a reminder, Intel is denying NVIDIA the rights to build mainboard chipsets for Intel processors that use integrated memory controllers, which includes any Core i7 chip as well as newer Xeon chips like the 3500 and 5500 series. The new design would combine a graphics core with the equivalent functions of a southbridge chip, which controls peripherals, audio and other features. It should still manage to take up less space than dedicated graphics and could shave $10 to $15 off the price of using one of Intel’s southbridge chips.

It would be targeted first at Intel systems using Sandy Bridge-based processors. NVIDIA may evade Intel’s restrictions, but it may also be counting on new FTC conditions to prevent either retaliation against computer builders that use its chipsets or unfair bundling Intel is believed to have used to squeeze out NVIDIA’s Ion from most of the netbook market. Intel isn’t believed to be talking to NVIDIA about a resolution to the current dispute outside of the court. A successful combo chipset could be a significant boost to many computer makers but Apple in particular. Its partnership with NVIDIA has proven difficult since the Intel ban as it has limited Apple’s choices for its smaller systems. The Mac creator ultimately chose to use older Core 2 Duo processors with NVIDIA’s GeForce 320M chipset in 13-inch MacBooks and the Mac mini rather than take a major step back in graphics performance by using Intel’s video core. Sandy Bridge graphcis should be much more competitive, but future NVIDIA graphics may reclaim a performance lead.

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