Nvidia slams Intel for chipset lockout on Core processors

Nvidia has taken another swipe at Intel’s legal roadblock on PC makers coupling an Nvidia graphics chipset with a Core 2010-series processor.

Nvidia senior VP Daniel Vivoli said that notebook buyers should not be “denied the ability” to use the company’s graphics-tuned integrated chipsets such as the GeForce 300 series if their notebook is fitted with Intel’s Core i3 Core i5 or Core i7 mobile processors.

Intel may be inside the Core i3 but Nvidia’s not allowed outside at least when it comes to graphics chipsets

In February last year Intel filed for legal action against Nvidia on the basis that a then-current chipset licensing agreement between the two companies did not extend to Intel’s future processors such as the Nehalem-class 45nm and Westmere-class 32nm chips.

The crux of the suit was the claim that a longstanding cross-license agreement between Intel and Nvidia did not apply to future processors with integrated memory controllers and the DMI interfaces which starting with the Nehalem microarchitecture is the pipeline between the CPU and system memory.

So while manufacturers such as Apple and HP were permitted to fit one of Nvidia’s graphics chipsets to a notebook using a Core 2 Duo processor for example laptops built around the latest Core i3 Core i5 and Core i7 powerplants can only use Intel’s own integrated graphics or a discrete GPU.

This was highlighted in Apple’s revision of the MacBook Pro line earlier this month. The company was forced to stick with a Core 2 Duo processor in its 13 inch MacBook Pro rather than introduce the more powerful entry-level Core i3 because the moving to the Core i3 meant using Intel’s inbuilt graphics. The 13 inch chassis didn’t allow room for a standalone GPU but only the Core 2 Duo would enable Apple to use a more powerful Nvidia integrated graphics chipset (the GeForce 320M).

In tasks such as photo editing Vivoli said “there are new technologies coming to sort through your photos to  find faces of relatives very quickly. Those activities are much more efficient on a GPU and appeal to the mainstream user. If you buy a low-end PC you shouldn’t be denied the ability to do those things efficiently”.

Vivoli also said that now commonplace Flash-based Web videos run better on Nvidia’s integrated silicon than Intel’s on-chip HD Graphics. “It turns out most of the video on the Web runs on Flash which runs way more efficiently on a GPU than a CPU and way more efficiently on an Nvidia GPU than an Intel GPU”.