Nvidia, Rambus settle patent dispute

Nvidia and Rambus have settled a longstanding patent license dispute.

The agreement covers a "broad range" of chip products offered by Nvidia and settles all outstanding claims, including resolution of past use of Rambus' patented innovations, the companies said. The term of the agreement is five years.

Though neither financial nor technological details were disclosed, the dispute between the two companies has not exactly been private.

In 2008, Rambus sued Nvidia, accusing the graphics chip supplier of violating 17 Rambus-held patents on memory controllers. At that time, Rambus claimed that chipsets, graphics processers, and media communication processors across … Read more

Nvidia cuts revenue outlook, citing hard disk shortage

Nvidia has lowered revenue expectations for the period ending January 29, citing the hard disk drive shortage in Thailand.

Revenue for the fourth quarter is expected to be lower than the company's previous outlook provided with its financial results for the third quarter ended October 30, 2011, the company said this afternoon.

Revenue is now expected to be $950 million, plus or minus 1 percent, compared with original expectations of $1.066 billion, plus or minus 2 percent, provided on November 10, 2011.

"The global disk-drive shortage caused by the flooding in Thailand had more impact on the … Read more

Quanta sues AMD over defective chips

Quanta has sued Advanced Micro Devices over a defective chip used in an NEC laptop.

Quanta Computer, the world's largest contract manufacturer of laptop computers, sued AMD for breach of contract, alleging the chipmaker sold defective products, as first reported by Bloomberg.

The suit is centered on the ATI RS600ME, an integrated graphics solution, an AMD spokesperson told CNET. Integrated graphics chips include other circuitry and also act as a chipset, which supports the main central processing unit or CPU.

"AMD and its ATI Technologies Inc. unit sold chips that didn't meet heat tolerances and were unfit … Read more

Why Nvidia's chips can power supercomputers

Nvidia chips are now in three of the five fastest supercomputers in the world. How did Nvidia get there so fast?

I spoke with Steve Scott, chief technology officer at Nvidia's Tesla products group, to find out.

First, a quick primer on Tesla and graphics chip-based supercomputing. Tesla processors are basically graphics processing units (GPUs) that have been redesigned for supercomputers. The results are impressive enough that some of the most important supercomputing sites have signed on. The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, probably the premier U.S. supercomputing site, will use Tesla processors in its next supercomputer,… Read more

Nvidia's ARM chips power supercomputer

Nvidia's Tegra chips will for the first time power a supercomputer--more evidence that ARM is movin' on up into Intel territory.

The chipmaker said today the Barcelona Supercomputing Center is developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, combines energy-efficient Nvidia Tegra CPUs (central processing units), based on the ARM chip architecture, with Nvidia's graphics processing units (GPUs).

The supercomputing center plans to develop a system that is two to five times more energy-efficient compared with today's efficient high-performance computing systems. Most of today's supercomputers use Intel processors.

"In most current systems, CPUs … Read more

Nvidia to power DOE supercomputer, one of the fastest

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will tap Nvidia chips to power what is expected to be one of the world's fastest supercomputers.

Oak Ridge's Titan supercomputer will eventually pack as many as 18,000 Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) and have the potential to deliver 20 petaflops of peak performance, making it one of the fastest computers in the world.

Last year, Nvidia made a splash when it announced that its chips were powering the Chinese "Tianhe-1A" supercomputer, which, at that time, became the fastest in the world. As of June, the Chinese system was ranked No. 2 in the worldRead more

Intel next-gen chip to support key Apple tech

Intel's next-generation processor is expected to add support for a key OS X technology that accelerates gaming and financial applications. That potentially means a more powerful MacBook Air in the future.

Listed as a "core" OS X technology, OpenCL "dramatically accelerates" applications by tapping into the special processing power of the graphics processing unit (GPU), according to Apple. It taps into what an Apple developer page states as the "the amazing parallel computing power of the GPU."

GPU-centric acceleration can be used for financial modeling, accounting applications, analysis on large media files, games, and media applications. In general, the GPU is much better than the CPU (central processing unit) at certain types of computations--thus the necessity of GPUs in games. … Read more

As claims against Nvidia begin, what settlement means

The clock is now ticking for consumers to file claims against Nvidia for defective graphics processors. As a result of a class action settlement, consumers were allowed to begin filing their claims related to the cost of repairing laptops that contained the defective chips on Thursday and have until March 14 to file a claim. But this settlement shouldn't be confused with a series of large payouts by Nvidia to PC makers dating back to July 2008.

Nvidia's problems began back in 2007, as CNET has reported, when defective Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) began showing up in laptops from Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell--among others.

Nvidia responded for the first time officially in July 2008. At that time, Nvidia took a charge of $196 million. The company took additional charges over the next two years, which, in total, were close to half a billion dollars.

No small part of this money has been allocated for PC makers (also referred to as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs) that, over the last few years, have been making repairs to laptops from Apple, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell. Most laptops affected are older models shipped in 2008.

So, then, what is the class action about? This is settling consumer claims, which Nvidia describes as a "group of customers who wanted remedy [because they] didn't get a repair from their OEM, or they didn't know to get a repair from their OEM, or they felt that their repair wasn't satisfactory," according to a statement from an Nvidia spokesman. (A list of the affected models is here.)

Symptoms are described as (PDF) "distorted or scrambled video on the notebook computer screen...No video on the notebook computer screen even when the notebook computer is on...Random characters, lines or garbled images on the notebook computer screen," among other issues.

In response to the settlement dated August 12, 2010, Nvidia issued this statement.… Read more

Report: iPad 2 to use fast graphics chip

The iPad 2 will sport powerful, new graphics hardware, along with a higher-resolution display, according to a report.

That graphics chip would be Imagination's SGX543, according to Apple Insider.

If this rumor is on the money, it is, indeed, a potent graphics technology. Imagination describes the POWERVR SGX543MP as allowing "up to 16 a high-performance, multiprocessor graphics solution without performance or silicon area compromises." This graphics tech would be used in conjunction with a dual-core ARM processor, as CNET previously reported.

And Apple's next-gen iPhone 5 would also feature this chip design--the so-called Apple … Read more

Nvidia: Gaming on Intel's next-gen chip

Graphics-chip supplier Nvidia says it will do just fine despite claims by Intel that its next-gen chip will offer a higher-octane gaming experience.

Slated to debut at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 5, the Second Generation Intel Core--aka, "Sandy Bridge"--boasts improved graphics performance, allowing PC makers to offer low-cost laptops that are more adept at games and multimedia. In short, no extra graphics chip from Nvidia or Advanced Micro Devices will be required in certain laptop models.

But Rene Haas, general manager, notebook products, at Nvidia, says the need for standalone GPUs, or graphics processing units, … Read more