Thursday, 01 March 2007 09:38

AMD challenges Intel with Vista compatible ATI integrated graphics chipset

Leveraging off its US$5.4 billion acquisition of Canadian graphics chipmaker ATI last year, AMD has launched an integrated graphics chipset for the Windows Vista platform. The new chipset is aimed at consumers wishing to take advantage of the high definition video capabilities of Vista to drive applications like HDTV and throws out the challenge to Intel.

The new AMD 690 series chipset throws down the gauntlet to rival Intel because it includes integrated outputs for both DVI (digital video interface) and HDMI (high definition multimedia interface). This will enable computers running the Vista media center to connect to and run video on both standard and high definition TV sets.

Increasingly the chip market is being influenced by a new range of consumer devices in the mobile telephony and entertainment space. The integration of ATI with AMD is a differentiator for the smaller chip maker compared to its larger Silicon Valley neighbour Intel.

“This is just the first in a line of innovative, high- performance AMD chipsets that we’ll introduce to address every sector of the market,” said Phil Eisler, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Chipset Division.

AMD is making a big noise about the seal of approval given by Microsoft to the new chipset pushing its ability to drive the performance of graphics features of Windows Vista such Flip and Flip 3D.

“As one of the first chipsets with motherboard graphics to receive the Certified for Windows Vista logo, the AMD 690 family is a testament to the ongoing relationship between Microsoft and AMD,” said Dave Wascha, director of partner marketing for Windows Client at Microsoft Corp. 
“ATI Radeon graphics deliver excellent Windows Vista performance. We’re proud that together we’re able to provide consumers worldwide an experience that is easier, safer, more entertaining and better connected whether at home, at work, or on the go.”

AMD which has about 25% of the PC processor market has been playing leapfrog with Intel in bringing more powerful processor to the market. 
Intel is seen to have currently regained the initiative with its new dual-core range of processors. However, the market is waiting on AMD's new single chip quad-core products due in the second half of 2007.

Intel's general manager for Australia and New Zealand told iTWire yesterday that Intel would probably not have a single chip quad-core processor until 2008.

While AMD waits to for its new Intel-beating processors, however, the new integrated graphics chipset is an important product line as the market moves towards using the PC as an entertainment hub in the home. The purchase of ATI in 2006 has given AMD its own graphics chip division, enabling tight integration between its CPU and graphics chips.

Meanwhile, Intel needs to rely on other graphics chipmakers such as Nvidia to build chipsets with multimedia capabilities. The purchase of ATI by AMD also took ATI off the market as an option for Intel.

Consumer electronics and communications areas are exploding with a plethora of new devices that require specialised processors and chipsets, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, games consoles, digital TV set top boxes and so on. ATI is especially strong in the consumer electronics and mobile telephony space, booming markets that chipmakers Intel and AMD need to grab to maintain growth.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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