NVidia and Intel have signed a broad cross-licensing and chipset deal that will see nVidia build chipsets for Pentium 4 PCs.
News of the deal arrived as details about ATI's first PCI Express-only products surfaced ahead of the official launch.
Both nVidia and Intel are keeping quiet about the details of the deal but it has been described as a "multi-year patent cross-licence agreement spanning multiple product lines and product generations".
The alliance will also see nVidia license Intel's front-side bus technology used in Pentium 4 processors and allow it to deliver its integrated chipset offering, nForce, on Intel-based systems.
Integrated graphics chipsets (IGCs) are used in most entry-level PCs, the bulk of the PC market. To date, nVidia has only made chipsets for PCs based on AMD processors.
"NVidia and Intel are working together to enhance the end-user computing experience," claimed Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of nVidia. "Our product portfolio offers exciting technology options to Intel customers, including the nForce platform and the PCI Express-based SLI graphics technology solution."
Louis Burns, Intel's general manager, desktop products group, said: "Today's agreements are significant for both companies and, more importantly, represent a win for our mutual customers, who now have more choices for enhancing the PC experience."
According to Jon Peddie Research, in its second-quarter report covering data graphics shipments and supplier market share, Intel is the largest supplier of PC graphics worldwide, particularly in the IGC market segment.
It is followed by other chipset makers including Via Technologies, ATI Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems - all of which already license Intel technology.
Lisa Epstein, a senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research, said: "The small window that opened in Q1 2004 for discrete desktop graphics swiftly closed in Q2 2004 as Intel started shipping its new Grantsdale IGC. When Intel ships a new IGC, ATI and nVidia immediately lose ground."
In related news, details of ATI's next high-end PCI Express-only cards have emerged. The Radeon X800XL is based on the Radeon 430XL chip with a 400MHz core clock speed, 256MB of RAM, 16 pipelines, VGA, DVI and TV out. Another version will be based on the R430PRO engine, with 12 pipelines and a 400MHz core.
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