Nvidia's partnership with VIA could be short-lived

— 1:53 PM on July 8, 2008

By introducing an integrated graphics chipset for VIA's next-generation Nano processors, Nvidia could deal a mighty blow to Intel's Atom CPUs in the small-form-factor desktop arena. The partnership between the U.S. graphics behemoth and the smaller Taiwanese firm may not be what it seems, though. According to DigiTimes, Nvidia is simply trying to gain leverage in negotiations with Intel.

Quoting anonymous sources at PC makers, DigiTimes says Nvidia has used the partnership as a "bargaining chip" to enter the Atom ecosystem. If Intel buckles and agrees to let Nvidia make Atom chipsets, the site adds that Nvidia will "terminate its alliance with VIA." Nvidia would thus gain entry into the potentially lucrative Atom market, while Intel would end up with less threatening competition on the CPU front.

Nvidia's MCP73 chipset could be a good match for Atom. The MCP73 was Nvidia's first integrated graphics chipset to support Intel processors, and it came out under GeForce 7000-/nForce 600-series branding in September of last year. To our knowledge, the only Atom desktop chipset right now is Intel's own 945GC, which has a relatively weak graphics component.

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