- Intel and Nvidia are entering into a new, nasty phase of competition. What's at stake? Only the future of the personal computer.
Though the Santa Clara, Calif. neighbors (only a couple of miles from each other) have never really been on speaking terms, the rivalry is intensifying with the emergence of the Netbook- small, lightweight laptops priced below $500.
The competitive backdrop is still the same- Intel's longstanding (and very successful) vision of a CPU-centric universe versus Nvidia's creed that graphics processing matters more and more in a multimedia-intensive world.
The challenge for Nvidia is that as laptops downsize into Netbooks, a graphics vacuum has been created. And Nvidia abhors a graphics vacuum.
Inside almost every Acer, Asus, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell Netbook beats an Intel silicon core. Both CPU and GPU- the latter in the form of the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950. (CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. GPU for Graphics Processing Unit.)
Nvidia wants in. Nvidia maintains that Intel-only Netbooks choke on high-quality multimedia content and, as a result, consumers will demand better graphics hardware as the Netbook increases in size to 10-inch diagonal screen sizes and beyond. (The Netbook began as a tiny 8- or 9-inch form factor, but has...