NVIDIA gets Nehalem license, will sell SLI chip for X58

Posted on Saturday, Jul 12 2008 @ 03:29 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Industry sources told Expreview that Intel has given a QPI license to NVIDIA. There were some rumours earlier this year that Intel refused to grant NVIDIA a license to make chipsets for the Nehalem processors because NVIDIA didn't want to give SLI in return but it seems both parties have come to an agreement.

However, the deal comes quite late so NVIDIA won't be able to launch a chipset for the Bloomfield processor in the fourth quarter of this year, in fact, it looks like NVIDIA may not even make a chipset for the high-end Nehalem processor. Instead, the graphics firm will push their BR-04 SLI chip and focus on chipsets for the mainstream Lynnfield processors.

This SLI chip was used to add SLI support to Intel's Skulltrail platform and it will enable motherboard makers to create X58-based motherboards with both CrossFire and SLI support. However, the bad news is that this chip will require a redesign of the motherboard and these boards will be quite expensive as NVIDIA is charging $30 for the BR04 chip.
Rather than high end mobo, NV will only focus on Intel Lynnfield CPU, try to debut a LGA 1160 board. That’s because LGA 1160 still keeps DMI we currently use to link to south bridge but no QPI, it will be more easier to design a LGA 1160 mobo then QPI supported LGA 1366 boards.

That doesn’t means NVIDIA will just hand over the high end market to AMD easily. It is said NV have already gave out SLI permit to Intel X58, by selling their BR-04 chips, just like what they did to the Skulltrial.

But even they give permit, it doesn’t means you can see lots of SLI enable X58 everywhere after Q4. First of all, The chip BR04 is as expansive as $30 USD, and secondly a reference X58 can not add BR-04 by not changing the PCB layout, that means if a mobo maker want to make SLI and non-SLI X58, they need two different PCB layout. All these just keep the mobo production cost rising, so we can expect second tier mobo maker may not going for SLI enabled X58.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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Re: NVIDIA gets Nehalem license, will sell SLI chip for X58
by Anonymous on Sunday, Jul 13 2008 @ 01:05 CEST
Also be aware Nvidia limits the functioning of SLI on these systems. Current Skulltrail systems that use such an add on chip method cannot SLI 280's at the current time.

Nvidia has said they "may allow it sometime in the future" so no guarantee of functioning in the future is made.