Update 2: Our full analysis of the agreement is now available here: Intel Settles With NVIDIA: More Money, Fewer Problems, No x86

In about 30 minutes NVIDIA will host a conference call to announce its 6-year $1.5 billion license agreement with Intel. Intel will pay annual installments totaling $1.5 billion over 6 years beginning January 18th.

We'll have full details after the conference call. The license agreement stems from the Intel/NV dispute over the right to build chipsets that interface with Intel CPUs that use DMI/QPI instead of the traditional GTL+ FSB.

After Project Denver and the Tegra 2 announcements at CES, it looks like NVIDIA is shaping up to have a good start to 2011.

Update: While we're still working on our full rundown of the agreement, there's been some speculation over at Ars Technica about what this agreement means for Intel; specifically claiming that NVIDIA GPUs will be appearing in Intel CPUs, on the basis of the fact that Intel is licensing NVIDIA technology. I'm not a lawyer (though I do play one on the Internet) however I disagree with this reading - Intel has to license NVIDIA technology to avoid running afoul of the company's large patent portfolio with their own IGPs. It's for all practical purposes impossible to build a desktop GPU without infringing on an AMD/NV patent. This agreement allows Intel to continue producing their IGPs, just as how the original 2004 chipset agreement allowed Intel to produce more modern IGPs in return for NVIDIA getting a chipset license. -Ryan Smith

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  • Phoenixlight - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - link

    What Intel's been doing IS ILLEGAL and they know it. Just because they weren't found guilty doesn't mean that they're not; all it means is that they spent a lot of money to pay for better lawyers. Reply
  • has407 - Monday, January 10, 2011 - link

    Update: While we're still working on our full rundown of the agreement, there's been some speculation over at Ars Technica about what this agreement means for Intel; specifically claiming that NVIDIA GPUs will be appearing in Intel CPUs...I disagree with this reading - Intel has to license NVIDIA technology to avoid running afoul of the company's large patent portfolio with their own IGPs..."

    Agree. This looks to be a pure patent/IP deal as the title of the agreement states. otherwise I would have expected a different slant (especially from Nvidia). Moreover, mixing the two would likely have made an agreement far more difficult. If Intel intends to incorporate Nvidia IP wholesale, I'd expect a different agreement that covers that in the future.

    Does Intel really need to incorporate Nvidia IP wholesale (e.g., "Nvidia inside Intel")? Doubtful. Not only would that be foreign to both cultures, but Intel likely has the talent to integrate selected Nvidia IP as desired (Intel probably doesn't need Nvidia to advise them on fab trade-offs and options).

    In short, Intel appears to be reiterating that Nvidia has a license to build chipsets for old Intel processors (NB: sec 8.1 of the agreement) and which is of little value to Nvidia. Nvidia appears to be giving Intel broad access to Nvidia's patent portfolio (NB: sec 1.1, the "capture period" being anything prior to March 31, 2017), which is of some value to Intel.

    Nvidia has obviously moved on to greener pastures and building Intel chipsets seems to hold little if any interest for them. Intel needs to move on ASAP and continuing litigation, access to Nvidia's patent portfolio, and having it remain in limbo would be high risk. Intel obviously decided $1.5B is well worth the cost to reduce/eliminate that risk.
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