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Nvidia is out at Dell

Bumpgate Bumps and payback
Tue May 26 2009, 06:02

FOR A LONG TIME we have wondered when Nvidia's abject stupidity would have a price. The answer, at least at Dell, is now.

If you go over the Dell desktop lineup and look through the customization options, you will see that, with a few minor exceptions, there are no more Nvidia cards being offered in Dell systems. Whoopsie. I guess the $10M that Nvidia paid Dell wasn't enough to make amends.

The lone remaining desktop Dells with Nvidia graphics are in the high end XPS line and some All-In-One (AIW) models. The AIWs and laptops have a lot in common. They have longer design cycles, and Dell can't just swap out graphics parts when things go pear shaped with a particular supplier. What the systems were designed for years earlier is what they have to be shipped with, and what those models will stay with until they are replaced.

On the non-AIW desktop side, there isn't a single Nvidia card in a Dell machine that I could find other than in the XPS line. Gone, poof, almost overnight. The high-end gaming boxes are where Nvidia theoretically should shine. Its image hasn't been as tarnished among the fanboi set to the degree it has elsewhere.

That said, there are three lines of XPS machines, the 625, the 630, and the 730, each with four sub-models. The 625 line is entirely devoid of Nvidia cards, but Dell offers multiple ATI graphics card configurations, including several versions of CrossfireX. One of the four 630 models has no Nvidia graphics option, two of the remaining ones have more ATI choices than Nvidia options, and the fourth has two from each vendor.

On the top of the heap in the 730 models, where Nvidia has traditionally dominated, one 730 model has no Nvidia option at all while the others offer cards from both graphics vendors about equally. Nvidia is hanging on by its fingernails on the high end, likely because of gaming fanbois more than anything else.

This is nothing less than a sea change at Dell. Nvidia has basically been shown the door by Dell in a most unceremonious fashion. Nvidia either decided to stop buying market share, or Dell just got fed up with it, but don't preclude both.

From what we hear, Dell's laptops and AIWs aren't far behind either. The decisions at Dell and elsewhere are all starting to sound like a broken record. Look for other OEMs to follow suit shortly. The decisions for back to school models get made in the next four to six weeks, and after that point it is basically game over for the year.

Nvidia is looking at openly hostile OEM customers and trying to woo them without any DX11 parts. ATI will have DX11 parts in the pipeline very shortly, and it is being greeted with open arms. Payback is a bitch. µ


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