Paul's Technology Blog

July 26, 2006

Big Update - Pt. 2 AMD buys ATi

No doubt the big tech news this week (and probably this whole year) is the purchase of ATi by AMD.

Now there is a lot of speculation flying around currently mainly what's going to happen to nVidia nForce motherboards. And there is a rumor saying that Intel has pulled its licenses from ATi.

Well first off I doubt much will happen in the way of the nForce board. AMD is not going to boot them out and nVidia proves it can compete against Intels own chipsets so I see no reason why it cannot do the same in regards of future (probable) AMD chipsets.

Now the whole ATi/Intel thing is interesting though because as of now ATi is AMD. So essentially Intel would be licensing its interface and buses to AMD which is not something they would want to do. So this means the best platform for the most options has magically become AMD if Nvidia sticks around (which it probably will) The reason for this is only AMD platforms can do crossfire or SLi. Intels as of right now will only be able to do SLi until it comes up with its own dual card solution. Now this is in the future, the far future, so don't panic quite yet.

So this put Intel into a difficult position. Since they are trying to sell themselves to Hardcore computer weenies like me it becomes very difficult when 1/2 of the discrete video card market has been purchased by your top competitor. Since dual video cards is something that appeals to the same group of people who would by a Pentium Extreme chip how do you deal with that. Well one thing would be make your own universal dual card setup that would work for ATi (AMD) and Nvidia Cards. That would really appeal to the gamers since then they are no longer locked into one brand like they are now if they want to do dual video cards. And this is the route they will probably take given that Intel would rather die that use anything from AMD (Look at the 64 bit extensions they basically ripped it off from AMD and labeled it EMT). The other option is to simply bite the bullet and license AMD to make Intel chipsets. And as much as I would love to see Intel have to choke on that I doubt it will happen.

So what was the advantage for ATi about this whole thing? Well for one it gives them a ton more resources. If you look at their video cards they run hot and eat power. Processors on the other hand are going in the reverse. They are using less power and producing a lot less heat. Granted the heatsinks on Processors are a good times larger then anything you'll see on a GPU but there is nothing to say they can't utilize some processor features into their GPU's (like power reduction which would be nice givent hey want to give the video card their own PSU)

Also AMD clearly wants to break into the Core technologies market like Intel's Centrino Platform and the Viiv. With ATI they can now offer better on board graphics and a decent chipset solution. This will give them better market breakthrough into the Mobile and Media Center market. Afterall what would you want in your Media Center a wonderful Intel Integrated graphics controller or an Integrated X1600? yeah I thought so. Same for my Laptop. This will also let them penetrate the business computer market too since now they can offer an all in one solution.

It will be interesting to see where this will go so keep tuned....

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