updated 07:50 am EST, Tue December 9, 2008
9400M for Intel Atom Soon
NVIDIA is in the process of porting the technology behind the GeForce 9400M to mainboards meant for Intel's Atom processors, alleged sources from PC builders claim. The MCP79 chipset, which sits at the heart of both the 9400M in newer MacBooks and the lower-powered 9300M, is said to be in conversion for the mini PC platform with the aim of improving graphics over Intel's existing but relatively limited GMA video. NVIDIA would first focus on hardware for nettops but would potentially expand to netbooks later on.
It's unclear which companies specifically plan to use the future hardware and when, though ASUS, GigaByte and MSI have all reportedly expressed interest. Of the three, ASUS is the most heavily invested in nettops and produces both the stand-alone Eee Box and the all-in-one Eee Top in the category.
If accurate, the claim would mark a partial contradiction by NVIDIA, which said it would hold off on netbooks and accordingly downplayed beliefs that it would get involved with Atom hardware. The company publicly states that the field is young but has also criticized Intel for slower graphics performance that puts gaming and HD video out of reach of these smaller systems.
Although one of the biggest backers of MCP79 and rumored as interested in netbooks, Apple has been at least as cautious and has labeled the netbook field a young market that may not necessarily last and which may need to mature.