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NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang lets everyone know his company is spending nearly a billion dollars each year ready to take on Intel's graphics offerings
Any notion that Intel and NVIDIA have common ground in the graphics industry can now be easily dismissed

NVIDIA's already candid CEO Jen-Hsun Huang had more than a few things to say during the company's financial analyst meeting today. An hour into the call Huang began to ad lib; clearly something was on his mind.

"We're going to open a can of whoop ass," he told analysts, who quickly broke out into laughter. 

For the past two weeks Intel and NVIDIA have been playing a game of cloak and dagger with technology press, complete with secret slide shows and secret slide show rebuttals. At the heart of this covert battle is the integrated graphics market, and some of the claims attached to it.

Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger fired the first volley at the Intel Developer Forum last week in Shanghai.  "First, graphics that we have all come to know and love today, I have news for you. It's coming to an end. Our multi-decade old 3D graphics rendering architecture that's based on a rasterization approach is no longer scalable and suitable for the demands of the future," he said.

Gelsinger's bold statement was an introduction to Intel's upcoming Larrabee graphics architecture, but it was enough to put NVIDIA on full alert.  Larrabee is Intel's first attempt at a discrete graphics processor in nearly a decade, with first samples expected to ship and stay competitive with NVIDIA and AMD graphic processors. 

Intel slide decks presented to media argue that spending money on CPUs and more CPU cores makes more sense than spending money on GPUs.  Intel presentations go on to detail that its integrated graphics will still satisfy consumers for years, adding that its upcoming Nehalem architecture will come in variants that integrate GMA 4500 (G45) graphics directly onto the CPU package.

NVIDIA's slide shows almost completely ignore Intel's Larrabee, and focus on IGP claims.  One of Intel's slide decks states GMA 3100 (G33) is more than enough to watch high definition videos. NVIDIA counters by citing my previous publication, AnandTech. "While the video capabilities of the [GMA 3100] will suffice for running Vista Aero, just about any office application, and a wide variety of non-3D based games, it is not up to the task of running the latest games, decoding 1080P HD content, or even providing decent video capabilities for a media station," AnandTech's Gary Key writes.

Huang argues that not only are Intel's integrated offerings "a joke," but that even if Intel manages increase graphics performance by ten times by 2010, that's barely up to par with current NVIDIA offerings.  He claims what passes for average graphics outside of the tech enthusiast crowd should be consider abysmal in the visual computing world.

Throughout the bulk of the conference call, Huang continued to lament Intel for poor graphics performance.  He hints at another Intel slide deck that claims Intel GMA 3100 is Windows Vista Premium compatible -- a claim which was debunked by Microsoft employees in a recent lawsuit

Intel fired back minutes later, sending emails to analysts detailing NVIDIA's poor track record when it comes to Vista crashes due to incomplete drivers.  Almost on cue, Huang responded once again.

"NVIDIA has to support several new titles every week," he said, alleging that Intel's graphics just have to support the basic office packages.  "You already have the right machine to run Excel. You bought it four years ago," he said.

The statement clearly struck a nerve with Huang, who paused for a second before adding "How much faster can you render the blue screen of death?"

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By Pirks on 4/10/2008 7:48:34 PM , Rating: -1
Yeah, you don't say, man. I just got me a sweet new 9800GTX, and no, it was NOT because I wanted to run Crysis, it was because I'm tired of seeing my AMD driver crashing Vista all the time. I'm going to get rid of my Radeon 3870 next week when a new card arrives form newegg and I hope I will never get anything 3D from AMD again. Thank you.

By RjBass on 4/10/2008 7:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, my 3870 works in Vista just fine. You may want to try investing in a better motherboard.

By Pirks on 4/10/08, Rating: -1
By daftrok on 4/10/2008 11:38:11 PM , Rating: 4
Because its clearly not working for you.

By Pirks on 4/11/2008 2:00:26 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly! Radeon 3870 with its lousy drivers is not working for me, but my Abit is working alright.

By just4U on 4/11/2008 7:36:29 PM , Rating: 4
The 3870 is a excellent card with very stable drivers. I've installed several of them and even own one. While there's always room for improvement they definitely have an edge over Nvidia in that regard. Especially when it comes to Vista.

By Targon on 4/10/2008 9:42:47 PM , Rating: 5
Strange that most people find the ATI cards a LOT more stable than NVIDIA under Vista. If you ran into problems with an ATI card, chances are that you either have older drivers(vid card or motherboard/chipset), or possibly a defective card.

By xphile on 4/11/2008 7:45:58 AM , Rating: 3
Dear god - just do yourself a really simple technical and financial solution and get rid of Vista. Then 99% of all cards work perfectly.

You guys spend all this money on top end hardware and then cripple it with a crapola software platform and blame the hardware. Then buy more expensive hardware to make the crapola software platform look better.

The road is gravel dude - buying the 2008 Ferrari over the 2007 Ferrari isn't going to make the road any less BS to drive on. Even if your lap times are 2 seconds faster you're still the sucker at the wheel.

By just4U on 4/11/2008 8:04:28 PM , Rating: 3
Your wrong.

First off No operating system can claim to be fault free. As many on these forums will tell you XP has it's fair share of install woes as well.. and yes, even today as mature as it is that holds true.

Plus your view held about Vista is no longer acurate. It is READY for the big show now and your going to see more and more enthusiasts recommending Vista64 over all others.

By jRaskell on 4/14/2008 12:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
and your going to see more and more enthusiasts recommending Vista64 over all others.

I'll believe THAT when I see it, but don't expect me to hold my breath waiting for it.

By just4U on 4/15/2008 4:15:27 AM , Rating: 2
It's just like XP. When they worked out the kinks and the drivers were mature enough it became the OS of choice. I think it's close enough to that point now that there is no longer a reason to purchase XP unless ofcourse your using/building a relatively low end computer. (Sub $600 with less then 2G of ram and poor Video)

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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