Report: Intel starts PR offensive against Nvidia’s Ion

After suing Nvidia because of a disagreement over chipset licensing, Intel may have launched a negative PR campaign against Nvidia’s Ion platform. The folks at Bit-Tech claim to have laid their eyes on an Intel document entitled, “Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide,” which is reportedly chock-full of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the low-cost nettop platform.

According to Bit-Tech’s overview, many of Intel’s criticisms are simply common-sense observations: Ion includes the same GeForce 9400 chipset as full-sized desktops and notebooks, and that chipset could increase costs and power consumption compared to Intel’s silicon. Also, so far, no major PC makers have announced Ion-based products.

Intel allegedly makes some more insidious accusations, though. The chipmaker talks of “continued execution and power problems” with the GeForce 9400 chipset, and it reportedly “quotes a number of tech sites who have detailed Nvidia’s chipset manufacturing issues.” Intel then challenges Nvidia’s claims about HD video playback capabilities, pointing to our Ion reference platform review as evidence that “Nvidia’s Ion HD playback may not be as good as Nvidia claims.” (We did encounter problems with 1080i playback, but 1080p content played smoothly.)

Bit-Tech says Intel concludes its document by saying, “Don’t buy the hype around Nvidia Ion—it offers no advantages that an Intel platform cannot provide relevant to the Netbook and Nettop market segments.” The chipmaker warns that “the window of opportunity for Ion is very short,” too, because new Intel netbook and nettop platforms—presumably based on Atom’s system-on-a-chip successor—will be out “at the end of this year.”

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    • PetMiceRnice
    • 11 years ago

    Intel makes great processors and chipsets, but their graphics chips suck balls. I would NEVER buy a laptop with Intel graphics, regardless of price.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 11 years ago

    when a company partakes in slander or liable like this it reflects poorly on their position, right now they are in a corner soon they’ll have four sockets out there, perhaps more by the end of the year where as AMD has two leading sockets(ignoring servre hardware for both). AMD has under cut them on price on all fronts. intell may have prefermance crown on desktop but their integrated stuff is just not worth the rare metals it’s made of. only reason intel integrated bull has any market share is consumer ignorance, but like GM intel will soon be humbled.

    • wingless
    • 11 years ago

    Sad that the egos of a couple of men would ruin their companies’ chances of coming out with an excellent product. Atom and the Ion platform work so damn well together….

    Oh well, this leaves room for the Via Nano to swoop in and dominate.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      This isn’t ego, it’s the usual Almighty Dollar. The Ion+Atom combination can do many of the same tricks that would require a mobile C2D when paired with any of Intel’s integrated chipsets. Since those tricks include HD video, one of the few things the average user does tend to do other than run Office and Internet, there’s no way Intel can let this one go without a fight because they aren’t charging a particularly profitable amount of money for the Atom (nor could they).

        • UberGerbil
        • 11 years ago

        Exactly. And Via…. /[

    • thermistor
    • 11 years ago

    #24…I bought the NV 7050/610i chipset (or chip, actually) on a cheap mainboard, kind of the reverse of what you did as this is the ‘value’ proposition. I concur, if it would have been out 2-3 years ago, it would have hammered the 945/965/P35 chipsets.

    In the BIOS, you can unlink the memory speed with the processor bus speed, so your overclock is less dependent on RAM quality/speed.

    I never really put the graphics thru their paces as I had a card, but they are assuredly better than X3xxx/3xxx graphics of any sort for video playback.

    Intel could really bring up integrated graphics if they just wanted to.

    • ludi
    • 11 years ago

    Competitor’s product “sucks rocks, molests puppies”, says biased source

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 11 years ago

      Don’t forget “extorts children’s hospitals.”

      I come from a state where the governor did that

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Amazing how much commentary can be generated from the all-too-predictable content of a competitive positioning document…

      • Scrotos
      • 11 years ago

      I didn’t bother looking, but it warms the cockles of my heart to imagine that several of the references Intel makes are some of Charlie’s rants at Inquirer. Just something seems appropriate about that, somehow.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 11 years ago

    I can see Intel’s concern with the Ion in the extremely small form factor desktops (netboxes?), but for netbooks the Ion really doesn’t bring much to the table. HD decoding on a 1024×500 screen? Gaming? Doesn’t really make sense.

    If Intel is so scared, why don’t they just release new chipsets for the netbook/nettop that is better than the ion. Or does this just make too much sense…

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Intel didn’t plan on any of this: they didn’t expect netbooks to be a big niche (let alone the only segment showing growth in a cratering market), they didn’t expect Atom to be especially popular, and they didn’t anticipate having to develop a chipset for it that offered anything beyond the rudimentary IGP required for their (mostly fantasy) “MID” appliances. Atom was just supposed to be a marginally-interesting stepping stone on the way to Lincroft SoCs and beyond (with the eventual goal of getting x86 into smartphones and other pocketable devices). They certainly weren’t expecting the thing to cannibalize Centrino sales or elicit enough interest from OEMs to draw in competition from nVidia.

      Intel wasn’t going to develop an IGP-oriented chipset for Atom because they didn’t see the business case, and by the time the demand became apparent it was far too late. At this point wishing for Intel to do a chipset for the current Atom is like wishing for Microsoft to go back and un-ship Vista.

    • kilkennycat
    • 11 years ago

    Sour grapes from Intel. Spewing lies and half-truths….. As long as Intel continues to build processors with Front-side busses, the 9400M will continue to enjoy an increasingly bigger munch on Intel’s IGP offerings. The lawsuit by Intel in an attempt to stop nVidia making peripheral chipsets for Core i7 processors is not coincidental. Intel is really frightened by nVidia’s peripheral chip-set prowess, particularly when it comes to handling integrated graphics and video decoding. And Larrabee is going to need all the SOFTWARE help it can get to ever compete in the GPU business. Ever seen a successful graphics driver from Intel for any of their graphics hardware?? Larrabee will indeed be a significant competitor to IBM’s Cell Processor, but as for high-end “gaming” graphics it will be a LONG time…. Even as an IGP adjoint to Core i5, Larrabee WILL have its graphics driver problems, given Intel’s dismal driver history.

    The 9400M has taken over the MacBook core logic business completely. Intel suddenly lost 20% of their lap-top chipset business. Do you think that Apple would use a flaky core chip in their flagship line of laptops ? You do realize that the magic of the 9400 family is that this SINGLE-chip includes all of the Northbridge and Southbridge logic plus a very competent IGP in one piece of silicon and fully Intel Front-side bus-compatible. If nVidia had created this chip a couple of years ago, they would have suddenly carved off a huge chunk of Intel’s core-logic business.

    I built a nV9300-based HTPC/video-editing machine last November. By far the most versatile and quietest PC that I have ever built. And the least expensive…. All in a uATX case. Choice of Display-port, HDMI or DVI/VGA outputs from the motherboard. Fully Blu-ray playback capable. HD 7.1 on-board sound. Quad-core Q9550. Added in a 9800GTX+ for gaming. When gaming, if desired, user-configure PhysX to run on the 9300IGP and use the 9800GTX+ exclusively for graphics. I shall be building several more of these PCs for others, one of whom runs silicon-design tools requiring access to at least 9 Gbytes of RAM. Have fully stress-tested the machine with 12Gbytes of memory using multiple instances of Prime95 (large memory setting) to saturate the memory completely – no problems.

      • DrDillyBar
      • 11 years ago

      l[

      • hapyman
      • 11 years ago

      Hey killkennycat. I am looking to build a similar setup. What motherboard did you decide on for your setup? Also which uATX case did you use to expand with a 9800GT?

      Thanks.

    • jdaven
    • 11 years ago

    Actually, I think Intel really is scared. And I think I’ve come up with a possible reason why. All of this ultimately will come down to the next gen Nvidia chipset for Intel processors with an integrated memory controller.

    Let’s think for a minute. Intel’s chief criticism of Ion is that it consumes more power. Now we all know that this increase in power gives us tons more graphics performance than Intel’s integrated graphics. Now slide over to a possible future Atom processor with an integrated memory controller. A huge chunk of silicon that usually resides on the Northbridge is now on the CPU leaving better power savings and more room for a faster gpu on the chipset.

    I don’t think Intel can compete with a 2-3x faster integrated graphics single chip Northbridge chipset that consumes a ridiculously low amount of power thanks to the overloading of the memory controller to the CPU. Intel can only bash Ion now since Nvidia has a license for current Intel Core 2 and Atom CPUs to ruin Nvidia’s reputation and sue them over future development for future Atoms and Core i7s.

    Just my 0.02.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Except that the /[http://www.mydigitallife.info/2008/09/09/intel-disclosed-next-generation-atom-pineview-processor-with-integrated-graphics-and-memory-on-core-during-idf-2008/<]§ §[<http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3254&p=2<]§ Intel's IGP may (probably will) still suck. But from a power and cost standpoint, it'll probably be compelling to a lot of OEMs vs disabling the one that's in the CPU and then including one from nVidia. For netboxes that might still be worth it, but for the mobile market Intel is clearly aiming Lincroft at the hand-held market that nVidia is already in with Tegra (where low cost and power draw from highly-integrated components matters more than GPU performance).

    • Xenolith
    • 11 years ago

    The Ion must be good if Intel feels the need to propagandize.

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    The irony. Intel is accusing nVidia’s platform of bad gaming performance. Have they tried out their own systems recently?

      • kvndoom
      • 11 years ago

      The i740 will rock face. Just you wait. Oh… nevermind.

      Funnily, Intel has been saying “just you wait” since the days of the i740. We’re still waiting…

      • Reputator
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah seriously, and criticizing video performance when it’s also better? Theoretically you could even use CUDA to add additional video codec support in the future, but intel is stuck with fixed-function acceleration on its Poulsbo platform, and nothing on its 945GSE. Oh and the 945GSE and GN40 are derivatives of full desktop chipsets just like the 9400M.

      Bunch of hypocrites.

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        But if they do it loud enough, the customer will actually forget that intel is the technological underdog in the category.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    Of course this is nothing new in tech propagandizing. It’s the standard “throw leaves and twigs at the other guy while you’re furiously groping around for a big rock”

    • gtoulouzas
    • 11 years ago

    Intel’s efforts might be better spent creating integrated graphic subsystems that do not suck (and blow! at the same time!), rather than spreading fud to keep competitors off their precious cpu “ecosystems”…

    We’ve all been hearing “Larrabee this” and “Larrabee that” hype since 2007 -and I really do wish that gpu lives up to it- but the fact of the matter is, on the current graphics market, intel is still peddling substandard Shit.

    • Voldenuit
    • 11 years ago

    Maybe they should follow Microsoft’s Vista strategy and just claim, Atom “doesn’t really suck *that* hard, honest!” :p

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Perhaps Intel should follow its own Vista strategy and over-inflate the capabilities of its product? Nah, then they’d get sued. No, wait, isn’t that just /[

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    My take away with the Ion review was that it really needed dual channel memory.

    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    Isnt Poulsbo supposed to be let lose soon? Sure it wont have the graphics of the 9400M, but really these chipsets are fighting over low margin netbooks and picoATX systems etc, you dont need them to play games. If it can play HD movies then anything else is just wasted power. Right now the atom based systems cant play 1080p, but you know the next round will almost certainly be able to, and then the Ion has lost its main (only?) selling point.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Uh, Poulsbo has been “lose” for some time now.
      §[<http://ark.intel.com/chipsetgroup.aspx?codeName=24973<]§ The Dell Mini 12 uses it, as do a few other recent/upcoming netbook models.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        Maybe ‘lose’ wasn’t a typo?

        • stdRaichu
        • 11 years ago

        It’s pretty much a no-go for Linux though, the Poulsbo driver is terrible (mostly due to it not being an all-Intel product – Intel’s linux support is often the best in the industry). The Ion platform/9400 OTOH is very well supported by nVidia’s binary blob driver (quirks notwithstanding, I have a 9300 myself).

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          My only point was that waiting for a savior in the form of Poulsbo is nonsensical from a temporal standpoint. Performance and compatibility are orthogonal dimensions entirely (though they perhaps all meet at some singularity labeled “disappointment”)

    • Ashbringer
    • 11 years ago

    I wonder if AMD is happy to see two of it’s rivals fight each other?

      • TheEmrys
      • 11 years ago

      I don’t think AMD has much to be happy about lately… I hear they now provide xanax in their vending machines.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      I imagine it’s a bit like being General Tojo in July of 1945 hearing about spats between Truman and Stalin.

    • khands
    • 11 years ago

    They must make all their money from the Atom through their chipsets, that’s the only way I can see them being so scared of Ion.

    • bthylafh
    • 11 years ago

    Intel is scared.

      • tfp
      • 11 years ago

      haha

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Seriously. Sometimes Intel is a cool company but this facet of intel is ugly and shameful.

      Intel : Let the people decide what they want.

        • alex666
        • 11 years ago

        concur

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    FUDdy duddy. Intel may have a point in some cases but really shouldn’t be throwing rocks given the chipset glass house in which they live.

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