Is NVIDIA Exiting The Chipset Business? UPDATED

Is NVIDIA Exiting The Chipset Business? UPDATED

Whoah there. That would be news. Santa Clara-based NVIDIA, makers of graphics processors that are near and dear to the heart of computer gamers everywhere, has been making quite a bit of news lately -- most of it bad. On the plus side, they were rumored to be working on a deal with Apple to supply a custom platform using Intel processors. But as we told you here earlier, they've also been stung by a $200 million charge to replace laptop chips that were damaged by packaging material. Now Digitimes is reporting that NVIDIA is planning to stop making chipsets altogether, and concentrate solely on their GPU business.

The loss of its chipset business is expected to have a significant impact on Nvidia's GPU business in the short-term. Reception to the nForce 200 chip (BR04) which will enable SLI technology on Intel X58 motherboards has been lukewarm at best, with many makers saying they will not bother adding the chip on their boards. This means Nvidia needs to find a way of licensing and enabling multi-GPU support on motherboards using Intel and/or AMD chipsets fast. Otherwise it will have to cede the top-end of the graphics card market to AMD, which now has the benefit of Crossfire.

Digitimes has a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach to reporting such news, but they are often right about industry scuttlebutt. They talk to all sorts of upstream and downstream suppliers and found out things that are closely held in-house, but are made obvious to other businesses when orders don't show up unexpectedly, for instance.

If we pile rumor on top of rumor, Apple stiffed Intel by flirting with NVIDIA to produce chipsets for Macs, then NVIDIA decides it's quitting the chipset business, and now someone at Intel is sitting by the phone with a smirk on their face waiting for it ring. "Hello, Steve, is that you?"

Update:  We have gotten a response directly from NVIDIA denying that they were exiting the chipset business.  NVIDIA's response is posted below...

1. The story on Digitimes is completely groundless. We have no intention of getting out of the chipset business.

2. In fact, our MCP business is as strong as it ever has been for both AMD and Intel platforms:
a. Mercury Research has reported that the NVIDIA market share of AMD platforms in Q2 08 was 60%. We have been steady in this range for over two years.
b. SLI is still the preferred multi-GPU platform thanks to its stellar scaling, game compatibility and driver stability.
c. nForce 790i SLI is the recommended choice by editors worldwide due to its compelling combination of memory performance, overclocking, and support for SLI.

3. We're looking forward to bring new and very exciting MCP products to the market for both AMD and Intel platforms.
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My, how the tables can turn. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Intel makes an offer to Nvidia in the not too distant future.

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I'm not sure if this is good news or not but I do take exception to their statement that their chipset business is strong as it ever has been, for both Intel and AMD. I know they have gained some ground with Intel systems, There is no way they can expect me to believe they are still as strong as ever with AMD. 3 years ago an NForce based motherboard was the only way to go. They basically stole the AMD chipset business from VIA. ATI, VIA and SIS combined didn't equal NForce based systems. There are still some NVidia based motherboards out there but the numbers are trivial compaired to the AMD based ones. If you check Newegg and take out the legacy NForce 4 based boards, NVidia has little mor than half the ones offered by AMD/ATI.

This wouldn't be the first time a company killed a product line and lied that it wasn't true when it leaked. Not that it is true. Just saying it wouldn't be the first time if it is.

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nECrO1967:
I'm not sure if this is good news or not but I do take exception to their statement that their chipset business is strong as it ever has been, for both Intel and AMD. I know they have gained some ground with Intel systems, There is no way they can expect me to believe they are still as strong as ever with AMD. 3 years ago an NForce based motherboard was the only way to go. They basically stole the AMD chipset business from VIA. ATI, VIA and SIS combined didn't equal NForce based systems. There are still some NVidia based motherboards out there but the numbers are trivial compaired to the AMD based ones. If you check Newegg and take out the legacy NForce 4 based boards, NVidia has little mor than half the ones offered by AMD/ATI.

This wouldn't be the first time a company killed a product line and lied that it wasn't true when it leaked. Not that it is true. Just saying it wouldn't be the first time if it is.

 

I think that it isn't about the quantity. Sure AMD/ATI are offering way more motherboards with their chipset, but that means you have to pair it up with an AMD processor. Core 2 Duo/Quads are the hot thing now so it really is a fight between Nvidia and Intel. Obviously, Intel offers more. But before AMD/ATI's 4xxx series came out, people bought Nvidia based boards because Nvidia's 8xxx series was supreme and people wanted SLI. The Customer Choice Awards would probably be more accurate than basing stuff on number of products available.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustVoteProductWinner.aspx

If you click the drop-down box for Intel motherboards, you might be able to draw a trend. But to really get the facts, you'll have to find them on this one website (that I forgot the name). They publish the numbers and are brocken down to each market. So you can isolate the chipset sales for each company and compare. Intel should be the winner since they have so many chipsets and sells so many at the low end to pc builders like Dell.

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Good point about numbers vs quality. Don't get the wrong idea. I wasn't bashing. I just take exception with the statement on the AMD side. Numbers aside the better boards in AMD land are not NVidia. Quite simply there is no way they can compare their offerings now to the NForce2/3/4 days. A lot of that has to do with AMD buying ATI. NVidia rightfully so, isn't going to support AMD as they did before now that they compete. Even if it is Indirectly.

 

As always, these are just my opinions. I did alter them a bit as you had a good point about numbers.

 

EDIT: I will admit to being a bit anti-NVidia these days. The recent BS with the G84/86 chips has me a bit peeved.

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i've been anti-nvidia all my computing life, but that's only towards their graphics market.

their chipsets are beautiful, i still have an nforce2 running, and in it's day it was top-notch, even beating out my friends newly bought amd64 processor bundled with a VIA :D

this spells big business for AMD and Intel if they leave, unless VIA comes out with a good chip again

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