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Nvidia spurns Intel Atom for VIA, spurns VIA for Intel Atom?

Tech licensing triangle in play, moles allege

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When Nvidia - allegedly - entered into an anti-Atom alliance with VIA, it was really preparing the ground to improve its negotiations with Intel. Allegedly. So say the latest rumours about rumours about rumours.

Nvidia, VIA and Intel are, of course, saying nothing.

Claims that Nvidia and VIA were teaming up to take on Intel's Atom surfaced a couple of months ago. Nvidia, it was said, would bring its graphics and chipset expertise to the table, while VIA would chip in with its processors.

As we pointed out at the time, VIA has chipset and graphics technology of its own.

Whatever VIA's interest in the alleged deal, according to the latest whispers from Asian manufacturing moles, relayed by DigiTimes, Nvidia was simply using the alliance as a bargaining tool to gain access to Intel's Atom platform for its own integrated chipsets.

Essentially - if the claims are accurate, of course - Nvidia wants to license the technology it needs to make chipsets into which Atom CPUs can be connected. 'Give us a licence, or we'll work with VIA,' is the alleged threat Nvidia made to the chips giant.

Nvidia also wants access to Intel's QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) bus, due to debut with the 'Nehalem' processor architecture later this year. Intel last month confirmed it was talking to Nvidia about this, but didn't say whether, as rumoured, it wants an SLI licence in return.

It's not hard to imagine Atom support being rolled into the talk too.

And if Nvidia - and, presumably, Intel - gets what it's after? According to the moles, it'll wave goodbye to VIA.

Nvidia has an alternative approach lined up too: it's ARM-based Tegra system-on-a-chip part, which would sit very nicely in many of the handheld internet tablets Intel would like to get Atom inside.

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