nVidia and ATI both announced, this week, great victories for their respective integrated
graphics chipsets. It is not uncommon for the two companies to go head to head in the same market at the same time. First it was desktop graphics boards then it was mobile chips and now the OEM market. nVidia's market lead is widely recognized and accepted but ATI has shown that they are willing to make nVidia fight for that lead.
Of the two deals, nVidia's looks the most significant since it involves a direct deal with one of the biggest system makers.
nVidia announced that NEC and NEC Corporation, the sixth bigger suppliers of mainstream PCs in Europe and Japan respectively, have chosen nVidia nForce Platform Processors as the core technology foundation for all of its AMD Athlon XP processor-based consumer desktop PC systems.
nVidia's nForce Platform Processors, the nForce Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP) and the nForce Media and Communications Processor (MCP), combine for the industryfs most innovative PC platform design, integrating core graphics, communications and audio technologies to deliver unmatched system performance for the mainstream desktop PC market.
The first systems based on the nForce Platform Processors include NEC Corporation's VALUESTAR G Type A and NEC CIfs POWERMATE i-Select XL4. The NEC CI POWERMATE i-Select XL4 will also feature the power and performance of nVidia's latest graphics technology, the GeForce4 Ti 4600 GPU. The VALUESTAR G Type A will be sold primarily in Japan; the POWERMATE i-Select XL4 in Europe.
nVidia nForce integrates high technology innovations for the direct benefits of NEC users, said Fabrice Vincenty, desktop manager Europe for NEC CI. Offering GeForce4 in mainstream and in high-end solutions highlights NEC CI's policy of offering the best of technology to its customers.
The nForce architecture's combination of impressive performance and unbeatable value allows NEC Corporation and NEC CI to continue to do what it does best-offer innovative and cost-effective solutions to its customers, without compromising on performance, says Alain Tiquet, marketing director EMEA for NVIDIA. We look forward to working with both companies to deliver the power of nForce to the widest possible range of European and Asian desktops.
By combining the strength of the AMD Athlon XP processor with nVidia's nForce platform, NEC will bring a powerful multimedia computing experience to its customers, said Sam Rogan, Director of Marketing, North Asia, Computation Products Group, at AMD. This is a great example of AMD's commitment to work with industry-leading partners to deliver powerful solutions that meet the needs of todays PC consumers on a global scale.
Although the deal sounds really sweet for nVidia there are still some questions to be answered. Firstly and most importantly, the press release does not specify what percentage of NEC systems carry an AMD processor. Then there is the strange lack of mention of Packard - Bell, NEC's European retail brand, does the deal cover systems produced under that name?
ATI's integrated graphics processor for the desktop PC market has been selected to power AT31 FUSION motherboards by First International Computer, Inc. (FIC). FIC is the first motherboard manufacturer to ship a RADEON IGP-powered product.
FIC, which enjoys a worldwide reputation for producing high quality motherboards, will offer its ATI RADEON IGP-powered products around the globe to system integrators, system builders, and consumers.
ATI is very pleased that FIC has selected ATI's RADEON IGP integrated graphics processor to power their new AT31 FUSION motherboards, said K.Y. Ho, CEO, ATI Technologies Inc. Companies such as FIC are now key to ATI in further penetrating both existing and new markets with our products.
ATI began forming new business relationships with leading add-in-board and ODM (original design manufacturers) companies last year and has steadily added to this stable of high volume graphics solutions providers. ATI's entire product line of desktop and mobile technology is available to these partners.
ATI provides the widest variety of leading-edge integrated, discrete, mobile and desktop graphics and video processors, allowing FIC to bring to market the most advanced technology for 3D gaming, value systems, and current and future mobile computing products, said Gene Sheu, President, Networking and Information Group, FIC.
The cutting edge technology provided by ATI's IGP320 chipset has enabled FIC to create a new generation of embedded motherboards that provide a perfect balance of functionality and performance, at the right price. said Alex Mei, Marketing Manager, First International Computer of America, Inc. We are excited to provide the AT31 FUSION which finally addresses the needs of system integrators, builders, and consumers for a high end graphics all-in-one solution.
The RADEON IGP 320 uses a 64-bit system architecture, supports the latest DDR memory technology, and employs a scalable architecture with AGP 4X support that allows the user to upgrade their system with a performance graphics board, such as ATI's RADEON 8500. The RADEON IGP family is also the only integrated graphics family to include ATI's patented Fast Z-Clear technology that increases 3D rendering speed, TV-out functionality and HYDRAVISION dual-display support.
The RADEON IGP 320 also features ATI's exclusive FLEXFITTM Universal Platform Architecture, which allows computer manufacturers to control their engineering investment and support costs while still offering a variety of systems, each tailored to a targeted computer segment. FLEXFIT allows computer manufacturers to design products for all segments by creating a baseline platform that can be tailored to satisfy the needs of different market segments without changing the BIOS and driver set or redesigning the motherboard.
The RADEON IGP 320 incorporates a variety of award-winning RADEON features including ATI's PIXEL TAPESTRY and VIDEO IMMERSION engines. PIXEL TAPESTRY allows the RADEON IGP family of processors to create lifelike environments by combining the industry's fastest rendering engines with an unprecedented set of 3D special effects. The chip's ability to process up to three textures concurrently means unsurpassed performance in accelerating multi-textured game content. The VIDEO IMERSION adaptive de-interlacing engine advances ATI's historic leadership in digital video and delivers features such as hardware motion compensation and iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform).
Although ATI seem excited about this deal it is not as significant as the nVidia one. It does however, demonstrate ATI's determination to attack nVidia with every possible means at their disposal. Since ATI lack the pull to land a deal with a large PC maker, they tried to come to an arrangement with one of the PC makers' suppliers.
It seems that the quiet days at the top for nVidia are truly over.