updated 08:55 am EST, Wed December 17, 2008
NVIDIA Pushing on Atom
NVIDIA on Thursday was reported as having visited Taiwan computer makers as part of a campaign to pressure Intel into allowing support for the GeForce 9400M and similar chipsets with the Atom processor. The chipset designer is said to be negotiating deals that would have the local firms themselves ask Intel to remove an insistence that Atom run only on its own platform and thus let NVIDIA move in, potentially leading to much faster graphics for netbooks and nettops.
The company doesn't specifically say whether it has tried negotiating directly with Intel to get support but implies that a lack of success has forced the new tactic. Which companies have been petitioned aren't named, though Acer and ASUS currenly sell the majority of netbooks. Current users of the 9400M platform are relatively few but include Apple and Toshiba, though whether these have also been asked to pressure Intel isn't mentioned.
Such a campaign points to a distinct reversal of NVIDIA's cautious stance on netbooks, revealing the company to now be directly interested in adapting it hybrid graphics and controller chipsets to the very low-cost and often limited field. Most netbooks are incapable of playing back HD video or of accelerating modern 3D.