Nvidia targets graphics technology at Intel Nehalem

Nvidia said its multichip technology will be architected to work on Intel's upcoming Nehalem chip platform.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Update at July 15, 3:00 a.m. PDT with additional information and corrections concerning the Intel-Nvidia dispute.

Nvidia said Monday that its multichip technology will be architected to work on Intel's upcoming Nehalem chip platform.

Nvidia SLI technology supports multiple graphics boards
Nvidia SLI technology supports multiple graphics boards. Nvidia

This announcement may help Nvidia to work around a standoff with Intel over whether Nvidia can make chipsets that work with Intel's next-generation Nehalem platform, due later this year. And also demonstrates that despite Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang' s rhetoric, Nvidia must cooperate with Intel in order to thrive.

Monday's announcement has no relation to separate licensing negotiations, according to sources familiar with the discussions. In other words, Nvidia is not announcing a chipset for Nehalem--which would require a license. It is simply a statement that Nvidia will support Nehalem with its nForce 200 Scalable Link Interconnect (SLI) chip.

However, some reports say Nvidia has reached an agreement with Intel to license Intel's Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) technology, paving the way for Nvidia to design chipsets for Nehalem.

The nForce 200 chip will work with Intel's "Bloomfield" line of Nehalem processors and the accompanying Intel chipset. SLI allows Nvidia to use multiple graphics boards in one system.

Upcoming SLI motherboards will use Nvidia nForce 200 SLI silicon, Intel Bloomfield processors, and Intel Tylersburg (X58) chipsets, Nvidia said in a statement.

"The nForce 200 SLI processor features patented SLI technology for graphics bandwidth management and multi-GPU peer-to-peer communications, both required to optimize graphics performance," Nvidia said. GPU stands for graphics processing unit.

Future systems "can be powered by one, two, or even three Nvidia GeForce GPUs, including the new...GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 GPUs," according to Nvidia.

Nvidia included statements from system suppliers in the Monday release. "It's great to see that Nvidia opted to enable SLI on the future Intel Bloomfield platform," said Rahul Sood, CTO Voodoo Business Unit, HP. "Make love not war I say...and Nvidia's (enabling) of Intel chipsets to support SLI will make our jobs much easier."

Nvidia claims that nForce 200 SLI silicon with Intel's new Bloomfield processor and Tylersburg chipset core logic chipset will deliver up to a 2.8X performance boost over traditional single graphics card platforms.

Motherboards and PC systems that will use the Nvidia nForce 200 SLI chip, Nvidia GeForce GPUs, and Nvidia SLI technology will be available from companies such as Acer, ASUS, Dell, Falcon Northwest, Legend, and Velocity Micro.