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Friday, 23 July 2010 11:06

Nvidia ION market is almost gone

Written by Fuad Abazovic

Troubles with other markets in sight
Let’s take a look at Nvidia and what the company did over the past year. For Nvidia the future is Tegra and it was also betting a lot on the ION market, and let’s not forget that the company still makes most of its money from graphics for games.

Tegra is still not extremely popular and the most important design win is still Zune HD and recently launched and killed off Microsoft Kin. Nvidia keeps telling everyone to wait for the second half of 2010 and let’s hope for their sake that there will be some major design wins. We see a lot of potential in tablet business for this product, but not much demand has materialized yet.

ION is the one to worry about as the new Atom offers a much cheaper Broadcom decoder chip that can get you nice HD 1080 playback on a netbook or nettop. Nvidia has a point when it says that its ION graphics core can increase the encoding speed and benefit CUDA applications, but most netbook users don’t really care that much about the extras, they only want fluent 1080p playback. Let's not forget that the original IION 2 chipset with northbridge got canceled last year due Nvidia's legal fight with Intel. The current ION that you can find in Atom N4x0 powered netbook is simply a graphics core that does the graphics work for the machine.  

The Geforce business is slowly recovering as the company has launched the first chip that has makes sense and can sell good, the GF104. This sub $199 product is the first product that can sell in nice volumes and help Nvidia to get its market back. ATI has sold 16 million DirectX 11 cards so far and Nvidia has a lot of catching up to do.

There are still two more cards missing, the mainstream GF106 and the entry level GF108 that should sell for some $59.99 and they should ship in millions. Both cards are DirectX 11 and they should do well for Nvidia but they only come in late summer.

Nvidia is doing a great job in mobile computing as its Optimus has won the hearts of almost every laptop manufacturer. Nvidia stole some market share from ATI, even it only has one big mobile GTX 480 that DX11 based, and it's aimed at a niche market. Ironically Nvidia won most of Calpella business with obsolete DX10 rebrands, but this is mostly thanks to power saving Optimus. The sad part for ATI is that they were the first to introduce switchable graphics, but Nvidia’s Optimus simply does it much better.

In early 2011 both AMD and Intel should have CPUs with integrated graphics, let's call them Fusion and the more of these chips gets sold, the less market will remain for entry level discrete graphics. We see trouble for discrete entry level, especially if graphics in Ontario and Llano turn out to be as good as we have reported. The really worrying part is that Nvidia is getting most of its design wins in the low-end, while ATI's mobile 5000 series dominate the premium market and obviously they have higher ASPs and sell at higher margins.Again at the same time Nvidia makes insane money with Quadro, and Fermi quadro is about to launch and take even more market share.

In DirectX 11 market ATI has a predominant market share but Nvidia still ship much more GPUs than ATI, hence makes more money.

Even with 10 months advantage on market beeing the only DirectX 11 in town, they didnt manage to steal much market from Nvidia and that in Q2 2010 Nvidia can end up with as much as 65 percent of the discrete market. Maybe we can blame TSMC for lack of 40nm chips.

With all this in mind, you can only imagine that Nvidia might need an x86 core for the future.

Last modified on Friday, 23 July 2010 14:33
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-1 #1 Fud_u 2010-07-23 12:24
I'm not surprise. Intel market Atom better than Nvidia Ion. I don't own Atom nor Ion but it's natural to gear toward a more trustworthy CPU brand. I also had no problem choosing Nvidia over Intel graphic because that is what they specialize in.
+9 #2 pogsnet 2010-07-23 13:04
I have an ION (desktop version), and it is good but the problem is too hot, but we can do something about it by adding extra coolers.

Intel wants to monopolize ever since the company began. That's all I can say. The government of any country should look into this seriously as a commodity that needs freedom against cartel.
+21 #3 Scootiep 2010-07-23 19:12
"...the first chip that has makes sense and can sell good, the GF104."

Ok, I'm not saying I'm perfect, but seriously. Who the heck has been editing your columns lately? That has makes sense? Can sell good? It's been atrocious. Take a look at the AMD/ATI article preceding this one. The grammar skills presented here are somewhere between Tennessee backwoods inbred Hic and ghetto banging doped up urban bastard child. I know blind chimps that can write better. As always, the stories and information are great. So write with the professionalism they deserve for the love of God.
+9 #4 Naterm 2010-07-23 19:44
Quoting Fud_u:
I'm not surprise. Intel market Atom better than Nvidia Ion. I don't own Atom nor Ion but it's natural to gear toward a more trustworthy CPU brand. I also had no problem choosing Nvidia over Intel graphic because that is what they specialize in.

This gets rated up? Seriously? ION isn't a CPU, it's a low power GPU meant to compliment the Atom. It's not selling well because nVidia can't make DMI chipsets and the FSB Atoms are being phased out. Not to mention it's effects on power consumption. Good god.
+1 #5 The_Wolf88 2010-07-24 14:28
They are idiots !

They want x86 cpu then they can buy VIA corporation and they will get x86 license !!

Simple !
0 #6 FuturePastNow 2010-07-25 05:06
Of course. ION2 is a discrete GPU marketed at a platform that is supposed to be as simple, low cost, and low power as possible.

The original ION was a good product, but ION2 has too many flaws to offset its HD playback advantage.
0 #7 Jaberwocky 2010-07-25 17:57
I think there is a bigger problem coming down the road for both ATI and Nvidia.Most games are these days ported to the PS3 & Xbox360 as well as the PC for the developers to maximise their revenues because of cost of developement.
Because of the age and relative graphics capabilities of the two consoles.PC players only need a graphics card of about the power of an asthmatic flea in order to play these games.As it is, a 5850 or 460 are more than capable,and as both of the consoles are likely to carry on for the next few years.why oh why will anyone be in a rush for the next upgrade? The Graphics cards for games trade is going to stagnate.
0 #8 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-25 19:10

Most significant reason is resolution and post-processing.

As you've mentioned, consoles lag behind, thus they are stuck at 720p as this article suggests ( http://www.fudzilla.com/home/news/latest/ps3-720p-limitation-of-hdmi-14 ) even if TV's can do better, 1080p and more in the next few years, offering better picture clarity.

On the PC the things are a bit different. Monitors aren't limited to two resolutions, they can go way up, and at 2560x1600 with all the bells and whistles a 5850 will do lousy 25-30 fps and those are maximum rates, which aren't as important as minimum to have a fluid motion all the time. So as you see, there's still room to improve, granted it's not for most of the market.
-1 #9 pogsnet 2010-07-26 03:47
Quoting The_Wolf88:
They are idiots !

They want x86 cpu then they can buy VIA corporation and they will get x86 license !!

Simple !

Nvidia can't, since x86 license is for US based companies only. And Nvidia wants controlling shares or nothing. Same like what happened to AMD-Nvidia deal, Nvidia was suppose to buy AMD controlling shares but that is against x86 terms. So AMD went to ATI even if that is a big suicide for them, since they badly needed a good GPU to survive against Intel. Why? Since the biggest GPU market share are IGPs not discrete.

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