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What does the future hold for AMD and ATI?

The AMD-ATI merger had been rumored for months. Many took it as wild speculation on a deal that would likely never come to fruition. Well, over the weekend the rumors became even more credible and yesterday AMD made the big announcement.

FiringSquad has also completed an interview with AMD and in addition received some colorful commentary from NVIDIA's Derek Perez; "So if you think about it, it’s kind of like ATI’s thrown in the towel right? Getting beat on both ends, looking for a way out, a little bit like 3dfx a few years back."  Of course, it should probably be mentioned that NVIDIA bought 3dfx. 

AMD executive vice president Henri Richard took the opportunity to sit down and talk with DigiTimes about the ATI acquisition and its plans for the future. In the interview, Richard talks about the perceived risk that AMD is taking by possibly biting off more than it can chew with the acquisition, what this means for AMD's relationship with NVIDIA and the company's plans for graphics in general. When asked if AMD motherboards would still use NVIDIA core logic, Richard replied "I surely hope so, absolutely." In an interview with Bytesector, Perez also assures us "We will continue to work with AMD to bring our brands to our mutual customers," but warns "We are now Intel's best GPU partner."

Cliff Edwards at BusinessWeek claims the writing is already on the wall for disaster.  AMD CEO Hector Ruiz stated that "We will move from being neighbors to being a family," to which Edwards immediately followed up with "the problem with families — especially those formed by multibillion-dollar corporate mergers — is that they often end up dysfunctional."  Edwards goes on to detail why the merger is great for NVIDIA and Intel, and detrimental for ATI and AMD.

Scott Wasson from TechReport has a very concise outline of the details surrounding the deal, Mercury Research claims "the holy grail of integration for ATI and AMD is going to be an integrated processor — a combination of a graphics processor and a processor," Forbes believes the mobile semiconductor industry will turn into a bloodbath, TSMC assured the world its manufacturing relations with ATI will continue business as usual, The Register believes an AMD-ATI system-on-a-chip is the only way for both companies to survive, and finally CRN has the definitive "no" as to whether or not AMD will produce its own line of motherboards based on ATI core logic.

And finally, Ken Fisher at Arstechnica warns that everyone should take a breather and lay off the rampant speculation, as the deal is still not even finalized.  Specifically Fisher claims "And when it comes to claims about motherboard licensing, ATI, NVIDIA, and chipsets, bear this one key point in mind: this is not a done deal."  However, if ATI does terminate the agreement at this point the company will have to fork over $162M dollars to AMD.

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Integration possibilities
By casket on 7/25/2006 1:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
"System-on-a-chip" will not work for PC's. Might be helpful for handhelds, and set-top-devices.

The 2 chip model makes more sense to me, as a video game player.

One possibility is the Xbox 360 model(which ATI was involved with):
Put the ATI chip in the co-processor spot

Unified Memory architecture
The x360 has 10 MB embedded-DRAM and 512 MB GDDR3 RAM

Maybe you could leverage this stuff to make a faster PC. Maybe you could share a L3 cache between the 2 processors.
Maybe you only need one integrated-memory controller... instead of 1 on each chip, and you can remove this function from the ATI chip, and have additional die-real-estate.

Other neat things: Graphics always use newer/faster memory than CPU's... AMD may be able to leverage ATI's memory knowledge as a slight advantage.

RE: Integration possibilities
By Pirks on 7/25/2006 1:45:56 PM , Rating: 3
"System-on-a-chip" will not work for PC's
It will work beautifully for MAJORITY of PCs. All these office boxes that corporations buy in truckloads. ATI/AMD on one chip obviously makes it CHEAPER (granted it's not gonna happen before 45nm EUV or whatsitsname is there) and corporations will consume those cheap office PCs like crazy. If AMD/ATI can pull it off before Intel and sell it cheaper than Intel IGP+CPU combo - Intel will get his but kicked again - woot!

I really think POTENTIALLY, IF DONE RIGHT, ATI/AMD could possibly struck gold there, a large fat gold mine - it's soo sweet to have IGP and memory controller on one little 45nm silicon piece, imagine tiny Mac Mini like but dirt CHEAP office PCs everywhere - ohh myy gawd... I'd buy one myself, eventhough I can't live without my nightly Doom 3/Prey sessions :-)

RE: Integration possibilities
By Pirks on 7/25/2006 1:47:49 PM , Rating: 1
and now just imagine single core A64 with ATI GPU and memory controller and SOUTHBRIDGE on one chip!!! This is THE BIG FAT KILL Miller-style!!

RE: Integration possibilities
By othercents on 7/25/2006 5:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
What about Servers?? I think the single chip CPU/GPU is a great idea for servers. This will reduce the cost of the equipment and even allow for smaller "blade" servers. Think if the blade had one processor, bios, memory, and hard drive? You can integrate everything else into the processor. Now you just added density that most people are looking for with servers.

Now in the future you could drop the hard drive and memory, and add a flash chip that runs both. You just reduced the bulk of the blade into a card no larger than a pack of playing cards.


RE: Integration possibilities
By Pirks on 7/25/2006 6:40:09 PM , Rating: 1
I think the single chip CPU/GPU is a great idea for servers
Nope, cut GPU outta there, you don't need it on a server, but include southbridge - OMG, you're right, servers will shrink TREMENDOUSLY! The whole entry-level blade with say 16 gigs or flash and a gig or so of RAM in a size of a deck of cards, or maybe two decks of cards - mama mia... really really interesting times ahead, IF ATI/AMD can manage it right - let's wish them best of luck in this!

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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