Earlier this month Nvidia announced its Ion graphics platform for netbooks, which integrates the Intel Atom with a GeForce 9400M chipset. The move is obviously aimed at grabbing a larger share of the integrated graphic market, a market traditionally dominated by Intel, but the company’s plans seemed a bit uncertain after rumors began circulating last week that Intel was not going to sell the Atom CPU without it being paired alongside their 945 series chipsets.
This would have effectively killed Ion before it made its way into the market, and with the bitter rivalry between the two firms on the integrated graphics front, it's not hard to see how the rumor got started. An unnamed Intel spokesperson has come forward, however, saying there is nothing stopping system creators from buying Atom chips alone and pairing them with a third party graphics controller.
According to the spokesperson, Intel offers the Atom CPU alone or in a chipset bundle, leaving the door open for Nvidia while freeing the chipmaker from any potential legal liability.