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Nvidia to take X-box South Bridge to PC OEMs

Working on a graphics-enable North Bridge part too

Nvidia will move into the chipset market with an X-box inspired product it's currently calling the Media Communications Processor (MCP).

MCP essentially combines peripheral I/O, networking and audio functionality onto a single piece of silicon. The product is being developed for Microsoft's X-box games console, for which Nvidia is also creating the 3D graphics ship, but Nvidia reckons it can easily modify the part and sell it to PC OEMs.

It will also create a North Bridge chip to go with it that integrates its GeForce graphics technology.

Speaking to EE Times, Nvidia senior marketing VP Dan Vivoli said the company sees an opportunity to sell to PC vendors keen to build both fast 3D graphics and networking support into cut-price consumer-oriented systems and simple terminal-style machines for business, both applications where the balance is tilted very much in favour of cost over performance. Bringing GeForce into the mix would up the latter without overly prejudicing the former, certainly much less so than adding a standalone 3D accelerator chip.

Indeed, combining these features puts Nvidia in a strong position to push into the Net appliance arena when it finally kicks off. Vivoli claimed the company has already made some design wins for the two parts.

The non X-box MCP and the North Bridge chip should become available early 2001, said Vivoli, even though the X-box version of MCP won't ship until towards the end of the year. ®

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