Wednesday, February 18th 2009

Intel Sues NVIDIA Over Chipset License, NVIDIA Responds

In a surprising move by Intel, the silicon giant filed a lawsuit against NVIDIA corporation at the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware, over the chipset licensing agreement between the two companies, that allows NVIDIA to make core-logic (chipset) for Intel microprocessors. Intel's contention states that the licensing agreement signed between the two companies about four years ago, that allowed NVIDIA to make nForce series chipset supporting Intel processors, does not cover the the privileges required by NVIDIA to prepare chipsets for Intel's new generation of processors that feature integrated memory controllers.

As of now, NVIDIA does not stand at the receiving end of any legal action, since the company has no chipset products either released, or in production, that supports Intel's Core i7 series processors. The legal-spat in the making, between the two companies, may however affect NVIDIA's possible plans to develop chipset products for Intel's new 45 nm and 32 nm processors. NVIDIA on its part, defends its position, dismissing Intel's claims. Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA's president and CEO maintained that the license agreement negotiated earlier would still apply, though he did not miss the opportunity to affirm his beliefs that the focus on CPU being the soul (if not the heart) of the PC, is slowly yet surely shifting towards the GPU. "This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business" he said. According to the NVIDIA CEO, it is obvious that Intel fears the competition NVIDIA poses with its platform core-logic innovations, that it had to file the complaint. This spat between the two major computer hardware companies could get uglier in the days to come. The press-release from NVIDIA in response to Intel's charges follows:

NVIDIA Responds To INTEL Court Filing

NVIDIA Corporation today responded to a Monday court filing (Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware) in which Intel alleged that the four-year-old chipset license agreement the companies signed does not extend to Intel’s future generation CPUs with “integrated” memory controllers, such as Nehalem. The filing does not impact NVIDIA chipsets that are currently being shipped.

“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.”

NVIDIA entered into the agreement in 2004 in order to bring platform innovations to Intel CPU based systems. In return, Intel took a license to NVIDIA’s rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents.

Since signing the agreement, NVIDIA has offered innovations such as SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA parallel processing. ION, the most recent innovation, integrates a powerful NVIDIA GPU, north bridge and south bridge into one compact die. When combined with a CPU, ION enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel’s own solution. In addition, the ION platform offers 10x the performance of Intel’s current three chip design.

The industry and consumers now count on innovations from NVIDIA. Microsoft recently endorsed ION because it offers consumers the first truly affordable premium Windows experience. Late last year Apple selected NVIDIA’s chipset for its entire new line of notebooks including the MacBook Classic, MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Today, companies like Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Falcon Northwest, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, NEC, and Toshiba all ship exciting innovations created by NVIDIA as a result of its agreement with Intel.

Huang said that, given the broad and growing adoption of NVIDIA’s platform innovations, it is not surprising that Intel is now initiating a dispute over a contract signed four years ago. Innovations like ION, SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA threaten Intel’s ability to control the PC platform.

NVIDIA has been attempting to resolve the disagreement with Intel in a fair and reasonable manner for over a year. NVIDIA’s chipsets for Intel’s current CPU bus interface are not affected by the dispute.Sources: TechConnect Magazine, NVIDIA
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65 Comments on Intel Sues NVIDIA Over Chipset License, NVIDIA Responds

#1
phanbuey
Good news for AMD. CPU is definitely diminishing in importance while GPU's are becoming more adept at number crunching tasks. AMD is in a good position to deliver a hybrid platform that can outdo both companies.
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#2
KBD
i dont get it. AFAIK, Nvidia already secured the right to make chipsets for Nehalem. Or thats not correct?
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#3
eidairaman1
i wouldnt count on it, code had to be forced to work on DX encoded hardware, Nvidia is in a pretty tough spot right now, i didnt know the agreement was so thin skinned. Well to answer your question, NV didnt have enough time to release a chipset at launch so they decided to use the 200SPP/MCP for SLI on the X58 ala Skulltrail, but with this suit NV may not be able to create a chipset for Intel Platforms again, just the slave chip for SLI functions (if intel will allow them to continue with that) All intel is doing is forcing others out so they can increase their overall revenue despite them getting a partial share from board makers due to socket designs etc, I see rough waters for both companies and probably a countersuit by NV against Intel for anti competitive practices. TBH Intel may build a good board but they always get Surplanted by 3rd Parties wether its Intel, AMD or NV chipsets used.
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#4
thoughtdisorder
Sounds like Intel's lawyers successfully pulled the "wool" over the Nvidia lawyers heads with this agreement. If you decide to swim with sharks know the consequences going in..;)
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#5
KBD
It looks like Intel wont stand for any competition for their chipsets. This move makes little sense and makes them look very bad, basically like a monopoly. They really shouldn't be afraid of NV as their chipsets are better.

And, they gave NV a QPI license and now saying they cant uses it, lol? Does one hand know what the other is doing?
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#6
eidairaman1
i have a feeling a big counter-suit will be dealt against Intel for anti-competitive practices. NV best release AMD platform chipsets for time being until things get settled in court.
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#7
Binge
Overclocking Surrealism
Headline~! Chip giant Intel is scared of nVidia. Sueing over soiled pants!
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#8
phanbuey
by: KBD
It looks like Intel wont stand for any competition for their (insert product here)
Fixed.

They are a monopoly, and they are trying to drive Nvidia out. Strategically, they can. Nvidia licenced their SLI core logic to intel, so intel can make x58 boards that are SLI capable... but nvidia can't make SLI boards that are nehalem capable. Nvidia loses if they retract their licence to build SLI on an intel chipset because then they would have to focus only on AMD chipsets. They will be completely shut out from the high end market.

The only way out for nvidia is to make multi-gpu solutions which are not dependand on chipsets (i see boards coming out which have a socket like a cpu into which a gpu can be inserted.)

for the record: Intel chipsets aren't very good. all those reviews in which the phenom II mysterioulsy catches the i7 at high, GPU-bound resolutions while using CFX are caused by the fact that the 790 chipset is better than the x58 at handling graphics.
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#9
AltecV1
Intel is acting like a child lately!!!!:shadedshu
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#10
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
[quote="phanbuey, post: 1218962"]The only way out for nvidia is to make multi-gpu solutions which are not dependand on chipsets (i see boards coming out which have a socket like a cpu into which a gpu can be inserted.)[QUOTE/]

The problem there is that a gpu is more than just the core and vram.
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#11
KBD
I think they will come to an agreement. NV will threaten them with a counter suit and withdrawing support for SLI on X58. Plus they already have the QPI license so they can make boards for Intel. And Intel is not yet ready for a full scale war against NV at this point, IMO that time will come when their GPU comes out and it has be a performer as well for the war to start.

The lawsuit is likely part of Intel's scare tactics not full scale war.
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#12
phanbuey
by: DrPepper
[quote="phanbuey, post: 1218962"]The only way out for nvidia is to make multi-gpu solutions which are not dependand on chipsets (i see boards coming out which have a socket like a cpu into which a gpu can be inserted.)
The problem there is that a gpu is more than just the core and vram.[/quote]its been done:

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2008/03/28/asus_shows_off_its_hd_3850_x3_trinity/1

those GPU's are in slots.


I think KBD is onto something... maybe Intel is afraid that if it exposes the technical details of nehalem to Nvidia as a motherboard vendor, then they might use it to break into the CPU market. It would be like having AMD make GT200 boards for NV.
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#13
Marineborn
that is very sad, intel and ngreedia..that isnt a fan boy comment i just like how it sounds HAHAHAH but anyhow they both were on the top and ati knocked nvidia down for a couple of months cause all they wanted was to make money and force out products that hadnt been well tested and now intel is gonna fall in the same footsteps...in my opinion amd and ati are just illing watching the big dogs fight over scraps. LOL!!
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#14
leonard_222003
Personally i like this war , both intel and Nvidia are evil little bastards and they deserve to kill each other to the death , both when they had some sort of tehnological supremacy over the competition they asked very high prices , this war put's some balance in this sector , some braething air for AMD to get on their feet.
It's not nice want intel does but it does it to an equal evil enemy
Some of the things Nvidia does are : paid benchmarks over the web , all kinds of scandals if someone says their better than them or even if there is a possibility of someone being better than them , fights with ATI/AMD , fights with intel , deceiving customers and confusing them ( the rebranding scheme ) , hardware faults in some of their products over the years that never got fixed ar admited ( G80 memory leak on 320mb was never fixed and a chipset i don't remember that caused data loss that again was never fixed ) .
So don't feel sorry for Nvidia , let them loose some money.
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#16
to6ko91
by: phanbuey
Good news for AMD. CPU is definitely diminishing in importance while GPU's are becoming more adept at number crunching tasks. AMD is in a good position to deliver a hybrid platform that can outdo both companies.
amd is just in the 45nm while Intel is almost in the 32nm. How on earth is amd going to out preform two giants in a war :laugh::nutkick:
but that is stupid though like the submarines that crashed recently ... :mad: (fighting ales)
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#17
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
No getting personal please.
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#18
phanbuey
by: to6ko91
amd is just in the 45nm while Intel is almost in the 32nm :laugh:
but that is stupid though like the submarines that crashed recently ... :mad:
AMD has a high-end GPGPU division and intel doesnt, thats how. :nutkick:
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#19
to6ko91
by: phanbuey
AMD has a high-end GPGPU division and intel doesnt :nutkick:
thats true as well :ohwell:
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#20
driver66
by: btarunr


As of now, NVIDIA does not stand at the receiving end of any legal action, since the company has no chipset products either released, or in production, that supports Intel's Core i7 series processors. The legal-spat in the making, between the two companies, may however affect NVIDIA's possible plans to develop chipset products for Intel's new 45 nm and 32 nm processors. NVIDIA on its part, defends its position, dismissing Intel's claims. [/url][/small]
Does no one read? It's just a scare tactic and i lol at the courts for letting it happen :wtf::shadedshu
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#21
crazy pyro
I'll eat my grandfather's flatcap if intel release a high performance graphics chipset, I'm pretty sure I can say this with confidence after my experience with a GMA 945 chipset. (Off topic but first post from my NC10!)
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#22
amunaor
Problem is, one has what the other desperately desires. Instead of maneuvering to slash each others throats in effort to dislodge the prize each side seeks, why not join forces in effort to better everyone?

There's no end to what could be accomplished, if one cared not who got the credit.
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#23
Wile E
Power User
by: phanbuey
Fixed.

They are a monopoly, and they are trying to drive Nvidia out. Strategically, they can. Nvidia licenced their SLI core logic to intel, so intel can make x58 boards that are SLI capable... but nvidia can't make SLI boards that are nehalem capable. Nvidia loses if they retract their licence to build SLI on an intel chipset because then they would have to focus only on AMD chipsets. They will be completely shut out from the high end market.

The only way out for nvidia is to make multi-gpu solutions which are not dependand on chipsets (i see boards coming out which have a socket like a cpu into which a gpu can be inserted.)

for the record: Intel chipsets aren't very good. all those reviews in which the phenom II mysterioulsy catches the i7 at high, GPU-bound resolutions while using CFX are caused by the fact that the 790 chipset is better than the x58 at handling graphics.
No. it's because the i7's Hyperthreading actually hurts it in low-thread situations. Disable hyperthreading, and the PII loses across the board.

Besides, this isn't about AMD vs Intel. Chipsets for AMD chips and chipsets for Intel chips have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Compare any Intel chipset against it's nVidia counterpart, and you'll see that Intel chipsets are the best for the Intel platform.
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#24
phanbuey
by: Wile E
No. it's because the i7's Hyperthreading actually hurts it in low-thread situations. Disable hyperthreading, and the PII loses across the board.

Besides, this isn't about AMD vs Intel. Chipsets for AMD chips and chipsets for Intel chips have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Compare any Intel chipset against it's nVidia counterpart, and you'll see that Intel chipsets are the best for the Intel platform.
Same happens with the P45 and Q9550
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3506&p=1
Posted on Reply
#25
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
And the noose grows tighter around NVIDIA's neck...
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