Nvidia Squares Up to Intel

So, after finding out that Intel were planning to release its own graphics card – the mysterious and, at the moment, practically mythical Larrabee – the Nvidia boardroom must have been a fun place to be. The GPU market is, after all, where the Californian company has ruled the roost for the past few years thanks to the strength of the 8000-series and, now, the emergence of some decent 9000 series cards like the 9600 GT and 9800 GTX.

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Evidently, it’s decided to come out on the offensive: Nvidia boss Jen-Hsun Huang recently lambasted Intel’s integrated graphics, which have long been a staple of PCs that don’t need to play games and edit demanding videos, as ‘a joke’. He also boasted of his plans to ‘open a can of whoop-ass’ onto Intel, which must be quaking in its boots – after all, its CPUs haven’t done that well, and they certainly not market leaders with no real competitors. Ahem.

In a move that could be likened to David squaring up to Goliath and promising to break his legs with his arms tied behind his back and a blindfold on, Nvidia has also now announced its new chipset. The MCP79 is designed to stomp all over Intel’s well-defended backyard after recent claims that Intel “can’t write a graphics driver to save their life”.

It’s certainly a brave position to take – at a recent press event, Nvidia was keen to stress that, as well as excellent processors, Intel’s mighty marketing department was responsible for recent success. Given its dominance in the CPU market, I certainly wouldn’t put it past Intel to seriously frighten Nvidia with its new graphics card – in fact, judging by the aggressive and almost petulant reaction emerging from leading Nvidia figures these days, it could be reasoned that the company’s already pretty worried.

Even so, it makes for a tantalising future for graphics, as there hasn’t been a serious third player in the market for a fair few years – and a bit of playground scrapping could work wonders for the price of new GPU technology.

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