Intel Won’t Require Graphics Chip Bundle For Atom

Last week Nvidia made some news with its Ion chipset for netbooks, which bundles an Atom processor together with an integrated Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics chip. Machines with this bundle inside would be both cheap and powerful enough to run full HD video media-player functions, as well as Windows Vista and the upcoming Windows 7. But then rumors surfaced that Intel wouldn’t sell “bare” Atom chips, instead requiring netbook OEMs to buy a bundle with Intel’s 945 integrated graphics, and thus squashing Ion before it even made it to launch.

But now Intel has stepped up and denied the rumors, which effectively allege that Intel wanted to maintain a stronghold on the netbook market in terms of processor applications. A spokesman who spoke to InternetNews, said, “there is nothing preventing vendors from using [NVIDIA’s] Ion platform; [Intel] sells Atom as a standalone processor, or as a package with chipset.”

Which is all well and good for Nvidia (and AMD who have similar CPU-GPU plans with its own Yukon platform) and for the consumer: A powerful and cheap media- or games-playing netbook would be a welcome addition to many homes which have sparkly new HDTVs sitting inside after the Holidays.

[InternetNews, Engadget, Wired]