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  • wolrah - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Does this mean we'll start seeing nVidia chipsets for Intel again? While Intel's chipsets are quite nice this generation I still like having proper competition keeping everyone in the game. Reply
  • has407 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Unlikely. The details aren't public; the public portion heavily references prior agreements (which aren't public and not included), so it's all guesswork unless someone has access to those agreements.

    The only real nugget I found in the public agreement is:

    8.1 The Parties agree to amend the Chipset License by adding the following at the end of Section 2.14 of the Chipset License:

    “Notwithstanding anything else in this Agreement, NVIDIA Licensed
    Chipsets shall not include any Intel Chipsets that are capable of electrically interfacing directly (with or without buffering or pin, pad or bump reassignment) with an Intel Processor that has an integrated (whether on-die or in-package) main memory controller, such as, without limitation, the Intel Processor families that are code named ‘Nehalem’, ‘Westmere’ and ‘Sandy Bridge.’”

    That's pretty far reaching and rules out modern Intel processors, including--although not mentioned--the most recent Atoms; does that spell the end of Ion? Given those constraints, I doubt Nvidia would want to build chipsets for Intel processors.

    p.s. Apparently Nvidia confirmed during the call that they don't plan on building Intel chipsets, but I don't have a transcript.
  • wolrah - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    "That's pretty far reaching and rules out modern Intel processors, including--although not mentioned--the most recent Atoms; does that spell the end of Ion?"

    Yeah it seems nVidia's not interested in doing any new chipsets, but Ion 2 was actually developed specifically due to this licensing problem not allowing it to directly connect to the CPU. The Ion 2 actually sits on the PCIe bus and in those systems basically only provides the GPU, so I think they're safe on that one. IIRC they're slower than many Ion 1 systems when gaming for that reason, but as far as I'm concerned the Ion only really existed for the HTPC and netbook/nettop markets where something low power that can still play HD video is all that's needed.
  • has407 - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    Ah, yes... Intel is required to maintain a PCIe interface as part of the FTC settlement (don't remember the exact stipulations), so that would make Ion 2 viable, even if not optimal. Reply
  • Aenslead - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Once again, Intel's monopolistic culture falls - although I'm quite certain this would not have happened if NVIDIA didn't show such a strong ARM performance at CES, IMHO. Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Intel's monopoly is doing just fine. The damage done (and Intel's gains) pale in comparison to the payouts Intel is being forced to dish out. It's a slap on the wrist, especially the pitiful settlement AMD got. Speaking of AMD, Dirk Meyer has resigned, so maybe the board was none too impressed with his settlement agreement with Intel. Reply
  • melgross - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Bah! Most of the reasons why AMD did so poorly over the years was because of their crappy product lines. There was only one period when that wasn't the case, and then, they were doing better. But as we can see now that Intel is no longer doing what they were supposed to be doing to get AMD's business,
    AMD is doing as poorly as ever.
  • dgingeri - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    AMD had a great product line compared to Intel back in 1998-2002. Intel's crappy, monopolistic dealings did major damage to AMD opportunities, forcing the Athlon 64 into the back of the room, and kept them from making the money that would have allowed then to keep up with Intel over the last few years. I saw that happening back in the day. (Intel threatened to cut off companies for shipments of the 440BX chipset for the Pentium II if they made any motherboards for the Athlon, then did the same for the Athlon 64, both of which were superior products to Intel's Pentium 2, 3, and 4 lines.)

    AMD's crappy product lines lately are only that way because they couldn't pay for the staff to advance their products as quickly as Intel, and that was all Intel's doing. They knew their strategy. They knew it was illegal. They did it anyway. Unfortunately, it worked. Intel is far, far worse than Microsoft has ever been at anti-competitive practices.
  • cmdrdredd - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    It's not illegal to promote your own product and make money off it. AMD just sucks right now. Live with it. Reply
  • MySchizoBuddy - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    it is if you are bribing people to use your product, or threating them. there is a legal way and illegal way to promote your products. Intel did the illegal way, was found guilty and had to pay up. Live with it. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    I disagree. AMD had a competitive product line in the 1998-2002 time frame, but Intel's offerings were still generally better. That changed with Athlon 64, which wasn't until 2002; even the "horrible" NetBurst chips were beating Athlon pretty handily, and Pentium 3 before that usually beat K7. That lasted until August 2006 with the Core 2 Duo launch, and Intel has maintained a lead ever since.

    AMD has competed on pricing in the past, and they're doing so now, and they will continue to do so. That makes things a bit more difficult to recommend, but the only reason Intel isn't selling better chips for less money is because they like big profit margins. Then again, if it weren't for AMD's K7-K10.5 lineup Intel CPUs would likely cost even more.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    I always viewed the P3 and Athlon as being pretty much the same, with the Athlon pulling away once it hit Palomino. Regardless, both were easily faster per clock in most cases than the P4. What saved the P4 was its insane clock speeds. Reply
  • DarkUltra - Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - link

    "- Intel is far, far worse than Microsoft has ever been at anti-competitive practices."

    I don't think so. Microsoft is just as bad by bundling major programs for free with Windows. It hinders competition very much; the only way to compete has been to be much better and/or free. Internet Explorer killed Netscape, and by bundling an email program, a messenger program and a media player Microsoft prevents good quality software to establish itself. If it did, we could see these brands on other platforms like MacOS and Linux, and it would be a great blow to Microsofts monopoly. It should be equal competition, and Microsoft should remove the major programs. There have been some improvement, I now get a link to all the serious browser and an option to download/install them. I whish Microsoft would open up undocumented APIs too. I don't want to pay for more than I use, and I would be glad to be able to buy a Windows version without Internet Explorer, Media Player, Movie Maker, Messenger, Windows Mail etc. I prefer Opera, Firefox, Media Player Classic, PowerDVD and Thunderbird.

    Though IE9 with Direct2D is much faster than Opera and firefox beta 4 with Direct2D, i might change my browser hand't it been that I don't really want to support Microsofts monopoly :)
  • Rafterman - Saturday, May 07, 2011 - link

    It's called "Doing Business". Reply
  • Aenslead - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    My bad. Now I understand the message. It means Intel will license NVIDIA technology and pay for it - in exchange, both will drop their litigations. My bad. Reply
  • mino - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Please, refrain posting to topics you have barely a clue about.

    The Intel-AMD settlement was mostly about non-financial compensation. E.g. GLOFO could not have been created before that.
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    AMD would not have had to divest their fabrication plants if Intel had not put the illegal screws to them for so long. You really think AMD sold off the majority stake in their production facilities because they wanted to? Reply
  • Manex - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Is this a licensing agreement, a cross-licensing agreement or just a settlement? If Intel is paying NVidia and not getting anything tangible out of the deal (other than perhaps the dropping of a lawsuit on Nvidia's part) then it's just a settlement agreement. In fact, even if Nvidia is getting a license for DMI/QPI out of it, I'd still call it a settlement, but that is open to interpretation I guess. It will be interesting to see what additional details are revealed during the conference call. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    According to MacRumors, nVidia still doesn't get to make chipsets with DMI/QPI, but at this point, I don't see why they would want to. All of the growth is now in mobile, and with Project Denver and Tegra 2, it's easy to see that nVidia would rather build the entire SoC than to play in someone else's sandbox. Reply
  • has407 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link


    Public portions of the agreement available at:
  • mino - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    All of that to some degree :) Reply
  • has407 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    There's $100M that might be "settlement". The rest is licensing/IP $--or at least that's how it's essentially accounted for according to Intel:

    "The remaining amount, approximately $1.3 billion, will be recognized as an intangible asset in the first quarter of 2011 and will be amortized into cost of sales over future periods."
  • MeanBruce - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Seems clear that it's just a settlement packaged into an aggrement wrapped in an enigma so neither party will be held to blame, right? Reply
  • MeanBruce - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Ok agreement, damn iPhone keyboard! Those spelling police are rough here! Reply
  • InternetGeek - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Maybe the title confuses the matter because if Intel owns DMI/QPI then it should be nVidia paying Intel, unless nVidia's claims do have grounds and Intel is just too busy performing well as they are right now. In any case the agreement is pretty much pocket change and not likely to push Intel into the red or nVidia into the blue. Reply
  • GeorgeH - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    To put that $1.5 Billion in perspective, Intel makes about $2.5 Billion (profit) per quarter. Spread over 24 quarters, that $1.5 Billion is about $63 Million, or 2.5% of Intel’s profit.

    If you look at it in terms of sales, Intel takes in about $10 Billion per quarter, making that $1.5 Billion about 0.6% of their sales. In human terms, that means for every $1,000 Intel rakes in they're going to toss Nvidia $5.
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Well said. Which is why Intel doesn't give a flying crap about getting caught for illegal practices, or being hauled into court by their competitors. It's money well spent for them, really. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Intel is out there to make money. Just because AMD sucks right now doesn't mean a thing. It's only illegal if the courts say it is. In this case they did nothing illegal because the court system did not find them guilty. Just like you can be charged with a crime, but you are always innocent until they prove you really did what they claim. Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    So you're saying that Intel does a bunch of potentially illegal stuff, but because they have not been found guilty in court, it's all good because Intel is there to "make money" Gotcha.

    No harm was ever done because they were not found guilty by a judge or jury. Excellent.
  • shiznit - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    That's not what he is saying.

    He is just making the argument that a public company has an obligation to make as much money as possible and that the same burden of proof that protects you and I from prosecution without due process also applies to Intel.

    I agree that $1.5 is chump change to Intel and is a steal to knock a competitor out of a market, but if nothing can be done about it legally it is the fault of bad laws and not an "evil" corporation.
  • Phoenixlight - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    What Intel's been doing IS ILLEGAL and they know it. Just because they weren't found guilty doesn't mean that they're not; all it means is that they spent a lot of money to pay for better lawyers. Reply
  • has407 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Update: While we're still working on our full rundown of the agreement, there's been some speculation over at Ars Technica about what this agreement means for Intel; specifically claiming that NVIDIA GPUs will be appearing in Intel CPUs...I disagree with this reading - Intel has to license NVIDIA technology to avoid running afoul of the company's large patent portfolio with their own IGPs..."

    Agree. This looks to be a pure patent/IP deal as the title of the agreement states. otherwise I would have expected a different slant (especially from Nvidia). Moreover, mixing the two would likely have made an agreement far more difficult. If Intel intends to incorporate Nvidia IP wholesale, I'd expect a different agreement that covers that in the future.

    Does Intel really need to incorporate Nvidia IP wholesale (e.g., "Nvidia inside Intel")? Doubtful. Not only would that be foreign to both cultures, but Intel likely has the talent to integrate selected Nvidia IP as desired (Intel probably doesn't need Nvidia to advise them on fab trade-offs and options).

    In short, Intel appears to be reiterating that Nvidia has a license to build chipsets for old Intel processors (NB: sec 8.1 of the agreement) and which is of little value to Nvidia. Nvidia appears to be giving Intel broad access to Nvidia's patent portfolio (NB: sec 1.1, the "capture period" being anything prior to March 31, 2017), which is of some value to Intel.

    Nvidia has obviously moved on to greener pastures and building Intel chipsets seems to hold little if any interest for them. Intel needs to move on ASAP and continuing litigation, access to Nvidia's patent portfolio, and having it remain in limbo would be high risk. Intel obviously decided $1.5B is well worth the cost to reduce/eliminate that risk.

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