updated 03:50 pm EST, Wed November 4, 2009
NVIDIA blames Intel for delaying USB 3
Intel may have stalled adoption of the USB 3.0 standard for as long as two years, NVIDIA spokesman Brian Burke says. Following an apparent PC vendor leak which claims Intel won't have any USB 3.0-capable chipsets of its own until 2011, Burke tells TGDaily that NVIDIA has learned the same news. He contends that Intel has held the industry back by creating a near monopoly in demand for its chipsets but refusing to provide significant updates.
"With no competition in chipsets, it seems Intel has decided that innovation is not needed for USB any time soon," he adds. "With no one to push Intel to innovate, PC enthusiasts are left with Intel chipsets and the features and performance they deliver, or lack [thereof]."
The statement effectively accuses Intel of abusing its control over chipset licensing to shut out competitors like NVIDIA that might threaten its business. Both companies are involved in matching lawsuits over the scope of NVIDIA's existing license for Intel chipsets. Intel believes NVIDIA's license to make chipsets doesn't cover the Core i7 or any other processor with an integrated memory controller; NVIDIA has countered that its license is still valid and that Intel is fabricating an exception to shut out a competitor whose graphics performance and other features are much higher.
Without a valid license, the GeForce 9400M, Ion and related chipsets are unlikely to support more recent Intel processors and could force companies like Apple to redesign their computers.
The absence of an Intel chipset doesn't preclude the use of USB 3.0 altogether during the interval, as controllers from NEC and other companies are reaching the market on production mainboards. However, it's likely to reduce adoption and may skew support towards Light Peak, which could be in production devices later in 2010 and is theoretically twice as fast.