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X-Box: Nvidia schmoozes MS, drops huge hints

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The Register's department of strange coincidences notes with some irony that Nvidia, subject of much tipping earlier this week vis a vis the Microsoft X-Box games console His Billness is expected to announce on Friday, has made a couple of possibly related announcements itself today. The one we like best is Nvidia's "premier sponsorship" of the Microsoft DirectX developer day, being held at this very moment (at time of posting) in San Jose as part of the very Game Developer Conference due to host the grand X-Box unleashing. Blatantly (and largely successfully) projecting the image that Nvidia and Microsoft are just like that, Nvidia spins: "Nvidia has become the premier content development platform for the PC game industry," said Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing at Nvidia (and what a fine job you're doing, Dan). "By working strategically with Microsoft, [massively heavy hint] we are able to align our development efforts so that our products provide developers with the most powerful gaming platform in the entertainment industry [a hint too far, surely? - Ed]." Apart from spending its co-op marketing bucks on schmoozing DirectX (we note with some apprehension it's hit version 7.0a) developers, Nvidia has a couple of heavy hints in the product department as well. In Palm Desert (which is a not very cheap nor very direct plane ride from San Jose) Nvidia has unveiled the Vanta LT 3D processor and Aladdin TNT2 integrated graphics chipset. We quote: "These low-cost, high-performance graphics processors will provide system builders and OEM's with industry-leading 3D solutions previously unavailable in the sub-$1000 PC market." And here's Dan again, at the other end of California, and all in the one day: "The sub-$1000 PC has been hamstrung by inferior graphics for too long," said Dan Vivoli, Nvidia senior vice president of marketing. "The addition of the Aladdin TNT2 and Vanta LT offers system builders an unprecedented combination of high-performance 3D solutions specifically targeted at the fastest growing segment of the PC market - the value segment." Now folks, building a Microsoft games console definitely takes close work between Microsoft and the elected graphics outfit, and in addition to the graphics outfit needing to do a pretty serious job of evangelising developers, it's going to have to get together a low-cost, mass-market philosophy and the products to go with it. By an utterly bizarre coincidence, here we see Nvidia doing those very things. And furthermore, as the kit's here already, not shipping next year, we begin to suspect that (pace the great John C Dvorak) Microsoft is going to go for the dumb option - this year, based on Windows ME, not next, based on Win2k with added optimism. In which case, if AMD wants the gig for the Athlon 600, it'd better start schmoozing and announcing - fast. ® See also: X-Box vapour triggers Nvidia stock frenzy

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