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Intel suit halts development of future Nvidia chipsets

Nvidia, the maker of Intel-compatible chipsets for Apple's line of Macs, has announced it will cease development of future hardware until its suit with Intel is settled sometime in 2010.

The announcement made this week means that Nvidia has placed its nForce chipset line on hold, pending the outcome of Intel's suit against the chip maker, according to PC Magazine. Intel has alleged that a previous chipset agreement between it and Nvidia does not apply to the Core or Nehalem series of processors.

"We have said that we will continue to innovate integrated solutions for Intel's FSB architecture," said Robert Sherbin, spokesman for Nvidia. "We firmly believe that this market has a long healthy life ahead. But because of Intel's improper claims to customers and the market that we aren't licensed to the new DMI bus and its unfair business tactics, it is effectively impossible for us to market chipsets for future CPUs. So, until we resolve this matter in court next year, we'll postpone further chipset investments."

A year ago, Apple officially made the move to Nvidia chipsets with the GeForce 9400M G integrated controller, a single chip of which 70 percent is devoted to graphics processing functions. It was then that Apple embraced Nvidia's MCP79 platform, married with Intel Core processors. It was later extended to iMacs and Mac minis.

Earlier this year, Intel sued Nvidia in an attempt to stop the company from developing compatible chipsets for future generation Intel processors. Many of Nvidia's gains — including the partnership with Apple — have amounted to Intel's loss.

This summer, Apple was rumored to be abandoning Nvidia chips in its Macs following a contract fight, though nothing official came of it.

Nvidia's recent announcement of the Fermi architecture, geared toward the scientific community and not PC graphics, has led some to believe that the company is changing its business strategy and moving away from the high-end gaming market. Nvidia has denied those assumptions.