Nvidia's Atom platforms aren't quite there yet

A week ago, DigiTimes said sources at PC vendors expected imminent Nvidia chipset support for Atom processors. Today, the same site says it's a bit more complicated than that. Nvidia MCP chief Drew Henry reportedly visited Taiwan recently to "negotiate with Taiwan PC makers for their support in forcing Intel to allow Nvidia's . . . chipsets into the Atom platform ecosystem."

DigiTimes quotes Henry as saying Nvidia "hopes to work with PC makers" to build an Atom platform around its MCP7A and MCP79 products. Those code names refer to existing GeForce 9-series integrated graphics chipsets, if I'm not mistaken.

What's more puzzling is that, according to Henry, this plan "still has not yet been agreed by Intel." DigiTimes says Nvidia therefore hopes PC makers will pressure Intel into shipping Atom processors by themselves, as well as part of platform packages. Doing so could put a dent in Intel's revenue, though, even if the availability of capable integrated graphics might ultimately boost Atom sales.

In related news, VR-Zone has posted several photos of a purported Nvidia reference platform for the Atom. The tiny desktop system apparently has an MCP79 chipset, DDR3 memory support, external Serial ATA, HDMI, and a Pico-ITX form factor.

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