Saturday, November 07, 2009

a new twist in tech competition

Possibly taking a cue from Steve Ballmer's lampoonish (and much-lampooned) manner, NVIDIA has resorted to castigating their nemesis, Intel, in a series of web-published cartoons.

For their part, Intel has been tempting fate, publicly, by attempting to lock NVIDIA out of producing chipsets compatible with their QuickPath Interconnect technology, Intel's answer to HyperTransport. Intel claims that NVIDIA's license does not extend to QuickPath Interconnect, an issue that will be decided in court at this point. NVIDIA, for their part, has knuckled under to Intel's demand to cease development of chipsets using QuickPath Interconnect, claiming they've discovered a better approach (that will allow them to continue to compete with Intel). In the meantime, NVIDIA continues to sell single-chip chipsets with integrated graphics for both Intel's Core 2 and Atom processor families, as well as dedicated GPUs which lie outside of the scope of Intel's complaint. They've also recently introduced the Tesla, the first in a family of General Purpose GPUs, which offers extreme acceleration of many computing operations.

NVIDIA could combine the Tesla with a multicore ARM processor and offer Intel some formidable competition, leveraged by CUDA and/or OpenCL. NVIDIA might even go further and offer their GPGPU designs for licensing as part of the ARM ecosystem, which could dramatically reduce Intel's longterm prospects. Intel may rue the day they chose to attempt to lock NVIDIA out of the chipset market.

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