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"The World's Most Affordable Vista Premium PC"  (Source: NVIDIA)
NVIDA looks to VIA for help with a new low-cost processing platform

When it comes to new opportunities for growth in the PC industry, the common trend appears to be going downward instead of up. We first saw this with ASUS' Eee PC notebook which starts at $299 for a 2G model and goes on up to $499 for an 8G model.

Other manufacturers like ECS, Everex, HP, and Dell are also looking to move a bit down-market with low-cost notebooks aimed at price-conscious consumers and the education market. While much of the action is taking place in the mobile sector, there is also some activity now taking place with desktops as well.

ASUS is once again leading the charge with its Digital Home System EP20 and Essentio CS5110 desktops. Both desktop machines are built around an Intel processing platform.

NVIDIA, which recently had a few choice words for Intel and its integrated graphics which it deemed "a joke", contends that it can better Intel at the low-end for desktop computers. NVIDIA plans on countering Intel with cheap, but powerful chipsets, graphics solutions, and processors with the help of VIA.

During NVIDIA's financial analyst meeting today, the company revealed plans for what it calls "The World's Most Affordable Vista Premium PC". The platform use a VIA Isaiah processor coupled with an integrated NVIDIA chipset. NVIDIA reckons that the Isaiah + NVIDIA IGP combination is good for a total of 36 GFLOPS in comparison to a mere 6.4 GFLOPS for a comparable Celeron-based system with an Intel 945 IGP/ICH4 chipset.

NVIDIA also claims that its platform will be Windows Vista Premium capable, support Blu-ray HD and DX10, and cost less than $45.

Most would have written off VIA when thinking solely of its current C7-M processors. However, the upcoming Isaiah processor architecture promises performance that is comparable to or exceeds figures put up by Intel's current Celeron processors. Early CrystalMark benchmarks for a 1.0GHz Isaiah show it to be 280% faster in ALU performance and 190% faster in FPU performance than a comparable C7-M. The performance figures also show Isaiah to be comparable in performance to Celeron-M and Pentium-M processors of similar clock speeds.

The real test, however, will be to see how Isaiah stacks up to Intel's new Diamondville-based Atom processors which are destined for low-cost desktops and notebooks which are typically powered by Celeron processors. We don't yet have performance figures for any of Intel's Atom processors at the moment, but let's hope that for NVIDIA and VIA's sake that the new platform will be able to back up NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's "We're Going to Open a Can of Whoop Ass" comment.

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RE: my concern
By eye smite on 4/10/2008 8:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nvidia could have responded in a more subtle manner, but I wouldn't have expected them to. They're respected enough in their own field to where they can take on Intel in a bitter competition like this and come out just fine. If they partner with Via, that will certainly give Via more attention. If they partnered, however unlikely, with AMD that would give them another strong avenue to pursue. If they partnered with Via and AMD both, Intel might have to rethink their statements and their plans. Just because AMD owns Ati doesn't mean they won't partner with Nvidia in a situation like this. Anyway, the bell has been rung on round 1, will be interesting to see how it goes from here.

RE: my concern
By murphyslabrat on 4/11/2008 1:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
But why would they want to? AMD has competing products that they could push. They even have plans for a very similar platform in the coming year.

A partnership between AMD and NVIDIA makes absolutely no sense for either of them.

RE: my concern
By eye smite on 4/11/08, Rating: 0
RE: my concern
By murphyslabrat on 4/13/2008 5:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
The reason why I see this as a silly idea, is that AMD now has competing products in every concerned market. This situation was not present during the time of the nForce 4 and 5.

Yes there has been a strong nVidia presence in OEM computers, but with the 690G/SB600 chipset, this has changed. Try looking for a modern AMD computer from Dell, Gateway, etc that comes with an nVidia chipset.

RE: my concern
By eye smite on 4/15/2008 10:30:36 AM , Rating: 1
That's really easy to do. Every HP sold with athlonX2 or phenoms in any flavor have the nvidia 6150 in them. Wow, for techy type people I should be surprised at how vastly outdated your knowledge is, but then it doesn't surprise me at all to see you all think you know everything when you don't apparently know anything. Wow.........just wow.

Seriously, go check best buy and circuit city's site for yourselves oh brilliant ones.

RE: my concern
By Targon on 4/14/2008 7:54:13 AM , Rating: 2
When AMD wasn't in the chipset business, NVIDIA had a great position as the number one source of chipsets for AMD processors. Things have changed a bit, where the new AMD chipsets are very competitive, and you can't beat the AMD 780G for a chipset with integrated graphics.

As a result of how good the 780G is for the OEM market, I would be really surprised if AMD does not pick up a LOT of sales. AMD is also doing better when it comes to chipset performance, so that is another reason why I suspect we will see more AMD chipset based systems showing up in the future.

There is also the new Puma platform, which for the first time will be a mainstream laptop platform that will allow for add-in "video cards". It will add a lot to the overall perception that you don't need a NVIDIA chipset to get good performance.

This is why NVIDIA is a bit nervous, because when AMD had to use a third party to generate sales, they were in the best position. NVIDIA may hold the lead in terms of video cards for a while, but their chipsets may lose their position as the "must have".

Now, AMD is not going to do anything directly to hurt NVIDIA, but with a more competitive product line in the low to mid range, that WILL hurt NVIDIA. Remember, there may be a higher profit margin on the high end graphics products, but the real money is made in the integrated, low and mid range offerings.

RE: my concern
By eye smite on 4/15/2008 10:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
You know I understand that all too well. What you're failing to see is OEM's like HP are still wanting the nvidia chipsets, and AMD is not going to turn their nose up at their current partnership with nvidia when such a large customer is still wanting nvidia in their systems that you can find for sell at best buy and circuit city. Don't even tell me they are leftover systems when the current phenom tri-core HP is selling has the nvidia chipset. The scope of vision you wonderful people have here in these forums is amazingly narrow minded on issues like this. If nvidia is helping amd sell cpu's to oem's, why wouldn't they further their partnership with nvidia, despite their own ati products. Jesus, you people can't see the forest for the trees.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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