Nvidia Calls Claims It's Quitting Chipset Business Groundless

Nvidia has asked Digitimes for "a full retraction" of a story appearing Friday in the tech journal that claims the Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics chip maker "has decided to throw in the towel and quit the chipset business."

"and#91;Sand#93;ources close to the situation at one of Taiwan's top motherboard makers" told Digitimes of a meeting earlier this week between Nvidia and its motherboard partners in which the discrete graphics leader hoped to "gauge support for it continuing to develop chipsets in the future," reports Digitimes' Ricky Morris.

"The motherboard makers' response? Silence," he writes on the Taipei, Taiwan-based journal's Website.

But Nvidia is fighting the rumor in no uncertain terms. A spokesperson fired off an unsolicited e-mail to ChannelWeb and other media organizations Friday, claiming the story to be "false" and "groundless."

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"This story is false and we have asked Digitimes for a full retraction," writes Nvidia's Bryan Del Rizzo in the e-mail.

He further describes the story as "completely groundless," adding, "We have no intention of getting out of the chipset business. In fact, our MCP business is as strong as it has ever been for both AMD and Intel platforms.

"Mercury Research has reported that the Nvidia market share of AMD platforms in Q2 '08 was 60 percent. We have been steady in this range for over two years. Contrary to popular perception, we have not lost any ground to AMD, despite their chipset introductions over the last year or so."

Digitimes has not retracted the story, though it does mention Nvidia's objection to its claims. Del Rizzo's particular reference to Nvidia's position versus Advanced Micro Device's line of 7-series chipsets seems to stem from Morris' claim that "and#91;rand#93;eception to the nForce 200 chip (BR04) which will enable SLI technology on Intel X58 motherboards has been lukewarm at best, with many makers saying they will not bother adding the chip on their boards."

Digitimes further cites sources who say some Taiwanese motherboard makers "have already canceled upcoming high-end motherboard projects based on the nForce 7-series chipset."

The journal also opines that Nvidia will have to "find a way of licensing and enabling multi-GPU support on motherboards using Intel and/or AMD chipsets fast" or risk having "to cede the top-end of the graphics card market to AMD, which now has the benefit of CrossFire."

Del Rizzo's e-mail counters by citing a favorable Tom's Hardware review of Nvida's nForce 790i SLI and concludes by saying the company "is looking forward to bring new and very exciting MCP products to the market for both AMD and Intel platforms."

Meanwhile, a recent rumor that Apple is going somewhere besides Intel for its MacBook chipsets has led to speculation that Nvidia, AMD or VIA might be the new provider. Digitimes claims its Nvidia chipset news "would also debunk" the idea that Nvidia is in the theoretical running for a chipset partnership with Apple.

For the record, all companies recently contacted by ChannelWeb about the MacBook rumor -- including Apple, Intel, Nvidia, AMD and VIA -- offered some variation of the same response: No comment.

One Apple reseller ChannelWeb spoke to said it was unlikely Apple would reveal the hardware in its next generation of MacBooks "until the very last minute." A new line of Apple notebooks is expected to be released in six to eight weeks, according to reports.

"I'll probably find out what's under the hood of the new MacBooks from you guys in the press before Apple tells me," said Michael Oh, president of Tech Superpowers in Boston.