GPU giant NVIDIA has confirmed that the company is putting the brakes on the Nforce chipset line because of legal wranglings with Intel.
If this is accurate, this could seriously impact the notebook market for a while.
NVIDIA makes today’s best mobile chipsets. Apple’s entire notebook lineup currently uses them because they deliver much better integrated graphics performance with the 9400M than Intel’s pathetic GMA line. The most recent generation is also extremely power-efficient, which played a significant role in the Mac laptops’ recent increases in battery life.
It’s an annoying problem for Apple short-term if NVIDIA suddenly exits the chipset market. (It’s a much bigger problem if they stop manufacturing their current lineup altogether, but that’s unlikely — they’ll probably just stop developing new generations until this is sorted out.)
But it’s a much bigger problem for NVIDIA. There’s not much money to be made at the high end because it’s a miniscule market. The real money is in the massive low-end and mobile markets — the markets that Intel has been trying to strong-arm themselves into for years and slowly succeeding, despite having truly awful integrated GPUs, because hardly any computer users ever need the power of even the cheapest discrete GPUs.
If Intel succeeds in suing NVIDIA out of the integrated-graphics and mobile chipset markets, I’m not sure how long NVIDIA can stay in business.