From our understanding, the chipset division at Nvidia isn’t doing too well at the moment and there are several reasons behind this. Part of the problem is that AMD isn’t doing that well at the moment when it comes to processors, as the Phenom didn’t take the world by storm.
Further adding to the problem is the fact that AMD’s own chipsets are cheaper than Nvidia alternatives, so the motherboard manufacturers are quite happy using AMD chipsets instead. Although you won’t be able to run SLI on these, at the moment that doesn’t seem to worry most of the motherboard makers.
Nvidia also seems to be charging some kind of Nvidia tax for the pleasure of using their chipsets, which means that the motherboard vendors stick with Intel on the high-end. Again, the lack of SLI support is a glaring omission, but with the current price structure of motherboards, who really wants to and can afford to pay in excess of €200/$300 for a motherboard?
The only trump card Nvidia has up its sleeve is SLI, but the graphics card division seems to be doing a good job of upsetting its users as well by re-introducing old products as new, which doesn’t bring a lot of smiles to end users faces.
At the entry level Nvidia is trying to undersell Intel when it comes to basic chipsets with integrated graphics, but it’s unlikely that big corporations will use Nvidia chipsets in their systems, no matter if a similarly specified PC is cheaper with Nvidia chipset instead of Intel.
On the AMD side, the 780G chipset is the king of integrated graphics, although we’ve yet to see any benchmarks of the Geforce 8300, which is just around the corner. Although we doubt it’ll be that much better than the Geforce 8200 and it will most likely end up as a much more expensive solution than the 780G from AMD.
Then there’s, of course, the heat issue, as recent chipsets from Nvidia have been running much hotter than the competition and the N200 chipset on the 780i/780a didn’t improve upon that problem. Nvidia really needs to fine tune its manufacturing process to reduce the heat output from its chipsets if it wants to be taken as a serious competitor.
The latest rumor is that Nvidia is considering making chipsets for VIA and its C7 and Isaiah/CN range of processors, but unless the company can come up with a low power/low heat solution, then we can’t see there being much truth in this rumor.
It looks like Nvidia has its fair share of problems to overcome this year, as with the current product line up and pricing structure; we can see several of Nvidia’s motherboard partners limiting their usage of Nvidia chipsets and we know for a fact that it’s already happening.
Later this year there’s also the issue of Intel moving to Nehalem which brings a completely new architecture along with it and Nvidia doesn’t have a license to make chipsets for this new architecture as yet, but we’re sure they’ll work something out with Intel; can anyone say SLI license for Intel?