updated 09:55 am EST, Fri December 26, 2008
Atom Maybe Clear for 9400M
An Intel spokesman now denies statements made that suggest the company is blocking NVIDIA's Ion for use with Intel Atom processors. Company official Bill Calder insists to InternetNews that there is "nothing" stopping system creators from buying Atom chips alone and thus that they can combine the processor with the faster, GeForce 9400M-level hardware or any other mainboard chipset.
"We sell Atom as a stand-alone processor, or as package with chipset," he says.
Calder nonetheless doesn't attempt to explain the contradictory reports, which claim that Intel itself has publicly refused to sell Atom without tying it to the reference Intel chipset. These same reports also note that NVIDIA has visited the Taiwan area to rally support and assert that Intel has knowingly circulated a new notice telling computer builders that they must buy Intel mainboards along with their processors.
Antitrust concerns are believed to to be a likely roadblock to Intel forcing a mainboard bundle, as the company's large market share has regularly pushed it to let other companies produce mainboards for larger computers.
Ion is considered a potential breakthrough for netbooks and nettops as its graphics performance is fast enough both for more recent 3D and for 1080p video. The chipset is also substantially smaller without consuming extra power versus Intel's larger, slower current design.