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Nvidia-Intel 'grudge match' unwise, analyst warns

CRT Capital Group's Ashok Kumar says Nvidia may be treading on dangerous ground when it taunts Intel, despite having better graphics chips than its rival.

An analyst at CRT Capital Group says Nvidia may be treading on dangerous ground with its recent blitz of Intel taunts.

While CRT Capital Group analyst Ashok Kumar readily concedes that Nvidia's graphics chip technology is far superior to Intel's, he also issued a warning to Nvidia in a note released Monday: "Nvidia vs. Intel: an Emerging Grudge Match."

"(Nvidia CEO) Jen-sun Huang seems to believe that Nvidia's graphics solutions are better than Intel's because Intel simply doesn't know how to do better," Kumar said. "But there is another element that Huang seems to overlook--Intel has not, so far, been interested in the high-end 3D-gaming market, other than as a vehicle to sell their own high-end CPUs."

Essentially, Kumar believes that Intel, to date, has shown a benign neglect of high-end 3D graphics technology because Intel and Nvidia (and Advanced Micro Devices' ATI Technologies) have had a successful, if uneasy, symbiotic relationship.

But that could change. "If...Huang's recent tirades have an effect on Intel, that effect may well be the exact opposite of what Huang wants--a huge, rich, motivated design powerhouse applying itself to the one and only marketplace in which Nvidia has shown an ability to compete."

In an ideal world, Intel and Nvidia would thank each other, Kumar said. "Intel really ought to thank Nvidia. Of course, that same thing is true in reverse, and there's no evidence of Huang ever thanking Intel, either (especially given that only some of Intel's business derives from high-end gaming, but all of Nvidia's business does)."

A word to the wise: don't hold your breath.