Trouble in Paradise for Apple and NVIDIA?

Thu, Jul 2, 2009


Apple’s inclusion of NVIDIA graphics chips in its products might soon be coming to an end, according to a recent report in SemiAccurate.  Word has it that during negotiations, NVIDIA’s demands were so outrageous and “arrogant” that Apple kicked them to the curb, so to speak.

While details surrounding NVIDIA and Apple’s supposed falling out remain murky, there is no denying that the relationship between the two companies has been somewhat tumultuous over the past few months.

Apple has increasingly turned towards NVIDIA to supply it with graphics chips in many of its Macs, but NVIDIA’s chips have recently been at the forefront of a number of overheating and failure issues in Apple’s line of MacBooks.  Just a few months ago, problems with the new MacBook Pro’s graphics chipset forced Apple to extend the warranty on the notebooks to 3 years.

While stories of intense negotiations between 2 tech powerhouses always make for great reading, Electronista points out that there might be more to Apple’s parting ways with NVIDIA than meets the eye.

[NVIDIA] and Intel have filed countering lawsuits over a license granted to NVIDIA to make mainboard chipsets. Intel believes the license doesn’t cover any processor with an integrated memory controller and threatens legal action if NVIDIA uses knowledge gained from the earlier deal to make mainboard chipsets that support Nehalem-based chips such as the Core i7 line. NVIDIA has insisted that its license covers all Intel chips and that its one-time friendly partner is violating a contract to stifle competition from sequels to Ion and the GeForce 9400M, both of which significantly outperform any of Intel’s own graphics without necessarily affecting either energy use or price.

Without a renewed license in place between Intel and NVIDIA, Apple would likely have no choice but to revert back to Intel for mainboard chipsets regardless of its own relationship with NVIDIA. It would have to consider dedicated graphics chipsets from AMD to maintain the same level of visual performance as it has today.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. joe Says:

    From reading around, it looks like the original agreement was nvidia give intel access to their full set of IP in return they can make chipsets that can be hooked up with intel CPU. Sudden Intel decides to integrated the memory controller into the CPU and want to void the original agreement with nvidia. The interesting part is previously, Intel’s cpu was referred to as cpu but because intel integrated a memory controller, the new cpu is not called a cpu anymore? Last I check, core i7 is just another cpu.

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