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AMD + ATi Doomed to fail ; no chance

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August 7, 2006 4:19:05 PM

http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33524

Quote:
ATI is a duff purchase for AMD

Comment The opposite of synergy


By Arron Rouse: Monday 07 August 2006, 16:05

ANALYSTS AT INTEL must be laughing their socks off. Once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, AMD will discover that it has purchased rather less than it might have hoped in acquiring ATI. In fact, it could turn out to be a bad move for the industry as a whole.
The problem is not so much what ATI has but what it doesn't have. The graphics industry is driven largely by the fanboys and they are driven largely by getting extra frames per second. So far ATI seems to be onto a winner: put two X1900XTXs into a Crossfire capable machine and you'll get frame rates to make you proud. But there's a word in that last sentence that should make you stop and think. It should have made AMD stop and think. It's Crossfire. And nobody seems to have noticed that Crossfire is dead.

The Way of the Dodo
Intel has been plugging Crossfire for use with the new Core 2 Duo but that's ending quickly now that AMD owns the technology. It was bound to go that way and AMD must have known it. So scratch Intel as a long-term platform for Crossfire.

And AMD can't use Crossfire either. For a start, despite lots of promises, plenty of column inches and many product announcements, try to buy a Crossfire motherboard for an AM2 socket processor and see how far you get. They're incredibly rare. There's no sign of products from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, DFI or any of the other big names apart from a few press releases. In fact, the only one we could find for sale was an ECS that was out of stock. This is two and half months after the launch of AM2.

We tried asking ATI about this lack of Crossfire for AM2 some time ago. Its PR people said they'd find some on sale for us to see and were never heard from again.

Even if motherboard manufacturers were willing to suddenly switch on large streams of ATI chipset-based products, AMD won't let them now. After all, that would be too much like treading on the toes of its existing chipset partners, Nvidia, Via and SIS. AMD really wouldn't want Nvidia or Via pulling out as it just couldn't replace them quickly enough.

That leaves Crossfire gone. That means no more ultra-high frame rates with X1900XTXs in Crossfire. Which means the fanboys will start defecting to Nvidia's SLI. Fewer fanboys means fewer column inches means fewer sales. And that means ATI is worth less.

Frisson Chips
AMD is in the awkward position of having to dump ATI's chipset business. Not that there was much to it apart from a nice deal with Intel which is probably dead now. And AMD won't want to compete with Nvidia, Via and SIS so it can't even keep producing chipsets for its own processors.

That leaves laptop graphics, mobile phone graphics and set-top box chips as the only other areas worth something. That's a reasonable area of the business but it's hardly going to keep the stockholders' dividends pouring in.

One Way
So far, the purchase looks like a one way spiral downwards to loss of profitability. The chipset business has to go. That means Crossfire is history. That means a trailing off of sales on graphics processors as Nvidia permanently secures the performance crown. In short, the whole thing looks like a very expensive way of downsizing the entire ATI workforce.

AMD has said that it wants to start building graphics technology into its processors but there's a fair chance of that being a dead end. Sony already tried to do that with Cell and discovered just how fast the graphics market moves in comparison with processors. It ended up having to put a separate graphics chip into the PS3.

There's only one way that springs to mind as a potential escape route towards profit: releasing graphics chips that fit into the same sockets as AMD's processors and use HyperTransport instead of PCIe. It would mean convincing memory manufacturers to release GDDR4 memory modules, would lead to huge motherboards (barring some radical form factor changes), incredible cooling requirements, etc. But it would be enormously risky as, once again, it could incur the wrath of Nvidia.

Where does this leave AMD? There's a fair chance that, once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, it has spent $5.4 on a company that would have carried on its profitable dual for the top of the graphics market for years to come but will now gently evaporate into nothing. µ

August 7, 2006 4:21:37 PM

Does The Inquirer just pay random homeless people off the street to come in and write articles for them?
August 7, 2006 4:46:42 PM

i don't understand anything he wrote.....
Related resources
August 7, 2006 4:49:50 PM

i highly doubt it.

first of all, well, its theinquirer, do i need to say more?

secondly, i'm actually seeing a market for AMD's torrenza project. the feature of simply dropping a co-processor in the system to suit your need is just brilliant.

where does ATi fit into this? i believe it can fit both graphical solutions and physics solutions onto AMD's boards. thus eliminating the need for another boards and slots.

if ATi can design both graphic cards and physics card to share system's memory, IMO, that would be grand.
August 7, 2006 4:50:45 PM

too funny..... made me spit my coke through my nose
August 7, 2006 4:52:33 PM

I thought ATI and Nvidia were both upgrading to 80nm soon...

ATI and AMD will work out IMO, The Inquirer goes a bit overboard with its predictions. Crossfire is fine, and no doubt before the merger is finalised more hardware will be brought to the market.
August 7, 2006 4:53:46 PM

Quote:
Well first of all with quad core single slot PCI-e cards already on the market, SLI could be dead too.
Then again, PCI-e could be dead too. AMD may use their current 90nm fabs to produce 9nm gpu's that fit into processor sockets. Who knows, your next video card may look like a cpu with a fan heatsink on it just like your processor.
Do you really think AMD would put everything it had into a company if it didnt have a plan?
How bout a real 4x4, 2 gpu sockets and 2 cpu sockets. You can use 1 or 2 of each??!! 8O :lol: 

i believe 4x4 is just a temporary solution, to counter Core 2s, and its not succeeding.

well of course 4x4 gets an 80% boost in performance, but considering the cost, its not entirely cost effective.

that aside, it was reported that 4x4 was benchmarked with non-gaming apps. while getting an 80% boost in performance does sound nice, but 4x4 was originally designed to be a gaming platform, instead of a workstation platform.

however, if you're talking about torrenza, its a whole different story. you can say that AMD releases 4x4 to gain experience in designing multi-socket computing solutions.
August 7, 2006 4:56:01 PM

Is the Inquirer even aware of the reputation it has amongst enthusiasts?
August 7, 2006 5:01:20 PM

Quote:
Is the Inquirer even aware of the reputation it has amongst enthusiasts?


The Inquirer is now just for gossips only. :lol: 
August 7, 2006 5:04:08 PM

It is just incredible to me how far off they are sometimes and even how wrong they've been and yet I keep seing people quote them when it suits their "fanboyism". Surely someone there must know that their material is basically only good for something that a cat can read when it's taking a dump.
a b à CPUs
August 7, 2006 5:31:26 PM

That article is a load of crap...

Quote:
The graphics industry is driven largely by the fanboys...

That's an instant classic!
August 7, 2006 5:32:03 PM

That's about the dumbest article on the subject. And that goes even with consideration of the stuff on these forums, not even press. The Inquirer is useless, indeed.

Chipset business was the primary driver behind the merger, and they casually dismiss it in two sentenses...
August 7, 2006 6:03:31 PM

yeah the chipset part....with Amd TRYING TO GO ONE STOP SHOP platform..... why would just get rid of Ati's chipset division


like i said this article is one for the ages..... but i am sure INTEL fanboys wont argue with it too much....
August 7, 2006 7:05:24 PM

I thought that the Inquierer was pro-AMD...
August 7, 2006 7:11:00 PM

Quote:
That article is a load of crap...

The graphics industry is driven largely by the fanboys...

That's an instant classic!Could have swore Intel was the graphics industry.
August 7, 2006 7:15:24 PM

Inquirer+TomsForumz=headache.

I need more coffee.

:o  <(so.. how many lumps you want with that coffee doc?)

I'll make it myself... you, you.. screwy rabbit.
August 7, 2006 7:25:51 PM

Quote:
Well first of all with quad core single slot PCI-e cards already on the market, SLI could be dead too.
Then again, PCI-e could be dead too. AMD may use their current 90nm fabs to produce 9nm gpu's that fit into processor sockets. Who knows, your next video card may look like a cpu with a fan heatsink on it just like your processor.
Do you really think AMD would put everything it had into a company if it didnt have a plan?
How bout a real 4x4, 2 gpu sockets and 2 cpu sockets. You can use 1 or 2 of each??!! 8O :lol: 

i believe 4x4 is just a temporary solution, to counter Core 2s, and its not succeeding.

well of course 4x4 gets an 80% boost in performance, but considering the cost, its not entirely cost effective.

that aside, it was reported that 4x4 was benchmarked with non-gaming apps. while getting an 80% boost in performance does sound nice, but 4x4 was originally designed to be a gaming platform, instead of a workstation platform.

however, if you're talking about torrenza, its a whole different story. you can say that AMD releases 4x4 to gain experience in designing multi-socket computing solutions.
IIRC 4x4 is supposed to only work with the FX series of Athlon processors and I could be wrong on that. If I'm right then 4x4 isn't worth it. However 4x4 would be viable if they allow you to use CPUs other than the FX series of chips. At the current prices, you can pick up 2 3800 X2s on Newegg for a bit over $300.00. It would be interesting to see how well they'd perform. Of course so much for power efficiency.
August 7, 2006 7:48:37 PM

Personally I think the additional HT links for 'coprocessors' etc will not be an AM2 or similar socket, but a HTX slot.

AMD will just use HTX to compete with PCI-e, which is after all an intel standard.

HTX has some advatages with 'bursty' data, smaller packet header sizes etc, but for log sustained transfers on a point-to-point bus I think PCI-E is a better choice tbh.

The fact that HT links are supported by the CPU is not really an advantage of HTX itself, but rather AMDs CPU design, they could after all have integrated a PCI-E controller instead if they had liked!
August 7, 2006 8:11:28 PM

Quote:
Does The Inquirer just pay random homeless people off the street to come in and write articles for them?


Hey, they are hiring!!!
Wanted: Ace reviewer for the INQ

I guess the random homeless have too much dignity, so they're looking elsewhere. :p 
August 7, 2006 8:19:16 PM

OK, first of all, I'm new to the forums, so hi...

Next, this intrigued me...

Quote:
How bout a real 4x4, 2 quad gpu sockets and 2 quad cpu sockets. You can use 1 or 2 cpu's or gpu's??!! 8O :lol: 


I have been thinking about this for a while, and while I recognise that I am by no means close to being as educated as some of you guys out there I've read (I think) articles based on AMD leasing out their HT technology, so that other devices can communicate on the bus directly. Surely if this is the case it opens up massive possibilities (especially now AMD own ATI - in theory, if not yet in practice) for the GPU to be connected to the system via the hypertransport bus.

Is this possible? am I talking rubbish? I'm not sure, it's just the ramblings of a wannabe expert.

Basically my thinking is that if AMD can do this, then they can use their multisocket idea, and do what "MrsBytch" suggested and have a combination of GPUs and CPUs to give incredible performance, considering the latencies and bandwidth of the HT bus compared with PCIE (again, correct me if I'm wrong)

**waiting to be educated/corrected/all of the above**

Cheers

Mark
August 7, 2006 8:44:24 PM

Well the inquirer says if that ever happened ATi and AMD would incur the "wrath of Nvidia" :roll: whatever that means.
August 7, 2006 8:47:41 PM

Quote:
OK, first of all, I'm new to the forums, so hi...

Next, this intrigued me...

How bout a real 4x4, 2 quad gpu sockets and 2 quad cpu sockets. You can use 1 or 2 cpu's or gpu's??!! 8O :lol: 


I have been thinking about this for a while, and while I recognise that I am by no means close to being as educated as some of you guys out there I've read (I think) articles based on AMD leasing out their HT technology, so that other devices can communicate on the bus directly. Surely if this is the case it opens up massive possibilities (especially now AMD own ATI - in theory, if not yet in practice) for the GPU to be connected to the system via the hypertransport bus.

Is this possible? am I talking rubbish? I'm not sure, it's just the ramblings of a wannabe expert.

Basically my thinking is that if AMD can do this, then they can use their multisocket idea, and do what "MrsBytch" suggested and have a combination of GPUs and CPUs to give incredible performance, considering the latencies and bandwidth of the HT bus compared with PCIE (again, correct me if I'm wrong)

**waiting to be educated/corrected/all of the above**

Cheers

Mark

In effect this is true, but several other factors come into play:
1) GPUs use much faster and more expensive RAM. A GPU socket would need its own RAM and the GPU would need its own Integrated Memory Controller (IMC). While a low/mid range GPU could get by, performance GPUs would still be card based.

2) As far as other companies developing a chip for a HT-linked socket, AMD would need a much higher penetration rate. A developer isn't going to put resources into providing a chip for a motherboard very few own.

Consider: If AMD had 50% of the destop market, how many HT socket motherboards would be out there? Cheaper/Entry level computers (which make up the bulk of destop sales) wouldn't, as the manufacturers wouldn't want the socket or the mobo trace expense. Office workstations wouldn't. And alot of the mid-range computer owners don't upgrade.
This just leaves the Enthusiast and some of the mid-range, which I would estimate being about 20% (at the most) of AMD's desktop sales.

If your market is only 20% of a company that does 50% of the business, then you are only targeting 10% of the market as a whole. Now, factor in that AMD only has 20% (not even this in reality) of the desktop market - then your total market is 20% of 20% which is only 4% of the market.
August 7, 2006 8:57:13 PM

The article also conveniently forgets that the full support for unified shaders on the R600 will pretty much negate the need for Crossfire and offer higher performance in existing DX9 games than Crossfire ever could. DX10 is still to be tested of course, but the principle is even more sound there to increase performance further.
August 7, 2006 9:07:19 PM

Quote:
The article also conveniently forgets that the full support for unified shaders on the R600 will pretty much negate the need for Crossfire and offer higher performance in existing DX9 games than Crossfire ever could. DX10 is still to be tested of course, but the principle is even more sound there to increase performance further.


Don't forget the PCI-e 2.0 spec.
PCIe gets a version 2.0

5Gbps!!! :D 
August 7, 2006 9:09:14 PM

Cheers exit2dos...

I knew graphics cards used faster ram, it just never occurred to me that any GPU socket would also need the stuff, guess it was an oversight on my part!

as for the marketing reasons though, surely all new technology starts out as an enthusiast product, as long as the market reasoning is sound, the tech will eventually filter through to the mainstream, as was the same for 64bit CPUs (although i must admit, i jumped on the bandwagon and bought one - even though i have never used 64bit anything!), dual core CPUs, and now even multicore CPUs.

although I think it would be awesome to do, you're right, the way that you've explained it shows it is unfeasible.

Mark
August 7, 2006 9:36:20 PM

Quote:
Cheers exit2dos...

I knew graphics cards used faster ram, it just never occurred to me that any GPU socket would also need the stuff, guess it was an oversight on my part!

as for the marketing reasons though, surely all new technology starts out as an enthusiast product, as long as the market reasoning is sound, the tech will eventually filter through to the mainstream, as was the same for 64bit CPUs (although i must admit, i jumped on the bandwagon and bought one - even though i have never used 64bit anything!), dual core CPUs, and now even multicore CPUs.

although I think it would be awesome to do, you're right, the way that you've explained it shows it is unfeasible.

Mark


If 4x4 takes off (I'm skeptical, but willing to give AMD the benefit of the doubt here.), you can probably look for "co-processors" from AMD. Whether they will be things like physics processors or low-end GPUs I couldn't say.
As for third party manufacturers, Intel is way too big to ignore. Any innovation would have to be "platform independent" (in this case), and come out on a card.
Check my link in the above post for the new PCI-e 2.0 specs. At 5Gbps, I can't see too many desktop innovations that would require more bandwith than this. (Aside from linking a second CPU (4x4), but more cores on one chip will probably be more beneficial and cheaper.)
August 7, 2006 9:46:45 PM

Quote:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33524

ATI is a duff purchase for AMD

Comment The opposite of synergy


By Arron Rouse: Monday 07 August 2006, 16:05

ANALYSTS AT INTEL must be laughing their socks off. Once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, AMD will discover that it has purchased rather less than it might have hoped in acquiring ATI. In fact, it could turn out to be a bad move for the industry as a whole.
The problem is not so much what ATI has but what it doesn't have. The graphics industry is driven largely by the fanboys and they are driven largely by getting extra frames per second. So far ATI seems to be onto a winner: put two X1900XTXs into a Crossfire capable machine and you'll get frame rates to make you proud. But there's a word in that last sentence that should make you stop and think. It should have made AMD stop and think. It's Crossfire. And nobody seems to have noticed that Crossfire is dead.

The Way of the Dodo
Intel has been plugging Crossfire for use with the new Core 2 Duo but that's ending quickly now that AMD owns the technology. It was bound to go that way and AMD must have known it. So scratch Intel as a long-term platform for Crossfire.

And AMD can't use Crossfire either. For a start, despite lots of promises, plenty of column inches and many product announcements, try to buy a Crossfire motherboard for an AM2 socket processor and see how far you get. They're incredibly rare. There's no sign of products from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, DFI or any of the other big names apart from a few press releases. In fact, the only one we could find for sale was an ECS that was out of stock. This is two and half months after the launch of AM2.

We tried asking ATI about this lack of Crossfire for AM2 some time ago. Its PR people said they'd find some on sale for us to see and were never heard from again.

Even if motherboard manufacturers were willing to suddenly switch on large streams of ATI chipset-based products, AMD won't let them now. After all, that would be too much like treading on the toes of its existing chipset partners, Nvidia, Via and SIS. AMD really wouldn't want Nvidia or Via pulling out as it just couldn't replace them quickly enough.

That leaves Crossfire gone. That means no more ultra-high frame rates with X1900XTXs in Crossfire. Which means the fanboys will start defecting to Nvidia's SLI. Fewer fanboys means fewer column inches means fewer sales. And that means ATI is worth less.

Frisson Chips
AMD is in the awkward position of having to dump ATI's chipset business. Not that there was much to it apart from a nice deal with Intel which is probably dead now. And AMD won't want to compete with Nvidia, Via and SIS so it can't even keep producing chipsets for its own processors.

That leaves laptop graphics, mobile phone graphics and set-top box chips as the only other areas worth something. That's a reasonable area of the business but it's hardly going to keep the stockholders' dividends pouring in.

One Way
So far, the purchase looks like a one way spiral downwards to loss of profitability. The chipset business has to go. That means Crossfire is history. That means a trailing off of sales on graphics processors as Nvidia permanently secures the performance crown. In short, the whole thing looks like a very expensive way of downsizing the entire ATI workforce.

AMD has said that it wants to start building graphics technology into its processors but there's a fair chance of that being a dead end. Sony already tried to do that with Cell and discovered just how fast the graphics market moves in comparison with processors. It ended up having to put a separate graphics chip into the PS3.

There's only one way that springs to mind as a potential escape route towards profit: releasing graphics chips that fit into the same sockets as AMD's processors and use HyperTransport instead of PCIe. It would mean convincing memory manufacturers to release GDDR4 memory modules, would lead to huge motherboards (barring some radical form factor changes), incredible cooling requirements, etc. But it would be enormously risky as, once again, it could incur the wrath of Nvidia.

Where does this leave AMD? There's a fair chance that, once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, it has spent $5.4 on a company that would have carried on its profitable dual for the top of the graphics market for years to come but will now gently evaporate into nothing. µ




Wow, this guy is really on drugs. If Intel takes away half the choice of consumers by not using CrossFire, that will just mean that nayoen who wants it has to get AMD. Not the best move with the amount of inventory they have.

I didn't agree with the purchase but how does he figure that the chipsets are gone. AMD and intel need chipsets. AMD will take over ATi chipsets and use them for high end servers and mobile.

I guess they want to see if they can be right as much as me with seemingly outrageous predictions. :wink:

This one's a little out there though.
August 7, 2006 9:58:02 PM

Failure once again BaronBS. seriously what percentage of gamer owns a crossfire system and how many cares about crossfire?
August 7, 2006 10:06:32 PM

This is not aimed at you MarkyParky, simply wanted to read the thread to the end before posting...

Firstly I'd agree that the Inquirer must source most of it's material from the homeless and/or the mentally infirm...

Now thats over it makes me laugh that so many people buy into their stories...crazy!!!!

As for AMD's aquisition of ATI being a bad move I completely disagree!!!

AMD are in a bit of a situation, they have good CPU's but have no real Platform. They would like to sell these CPU's more to business customers, better profit, but business customers require a complete package, they require a Platform.

This has alway hampered AMD, but now they have finally grabbed the chance they needed. The aquisition of ATI is a stroke of genious on their part, I would have preferred they bought nVidia (Personal taste) but I know that nVidia were way too expensive and cocky for AMD's liking.

Now AMD have the CPU's, the chipset (Crossfire or not, it doesn't matter) and most importantly for the long run, all of ATI's Intellectual Property. This means that AMD can now have free run in developing platforms for their new CPU's and GPU's not to mention they can now even dabble in PPU's. This allows AMD far greater freedom than they have ever had in the past. They used to be a slave to VIA, then nVidia for their chipsets. This stifled development for AMD as they were never able to fully exploit their architecture as they had to communicate their wishes to their distant partners, who would, or would not play ball according to thier own goals and market strategies.

Now AMD have been set free...They can finally develop their much needed Business Platform, guaranteed stability as the platform would be designed top to bottom for the CPU and GPU. This also allows AMD to have integrated GPU's on their mobo's that they can be proud of, allowing them a greater market freedom than ever before.

To simply look at the delayed launch of the AM2 Crossfire platform and instantly see the death of 2 market innovating companies is pure and simply hillarious....

AMD have some very interesting times ahead, the 4x4 platform being the first of many innovations. This is nothing to do with learning about multi CPU platforms, as AMD have been very succesfully doing this with the Opteron series for some time now. The 4x4 platform is a cheap way for AMD (not the consumer) to claw back some marketing ground lost to the awesome release of Core 2.

AMD do not seem to have a CPU revision in place to quickly combat Core 2, but I'm sure that this will not be forever...AMD and Intel have been fighting this war for a very long time. Long may it continue, Intel leads for now...What will AMD release to fight back?

At least now they will be able to directly control the innovation on the Motherboard side of things, could this mean a stronger use of the HyperTransport? I believe this will be the case as it's the strongest thing AMD currently have going for them, it would be ridiculous to believe they will not capitalise on it. More Sockets on the Motherboard linked through HT, not just for CPU's but any other Chip available...GPU, PPU, APU, etc, etc...With AMD opening the development of torrenza compatible chips to any comers, with a few already very interested, we shall see what the future holds for AMD/ATI.

I for one believe they did exactly what they had to do, but am also concerned that it could cause a further split in the market. AMD/ATI on one side with Intel/nVidia on the other...Fanboys are funny that way ;-)

JKay6969
August 7, 2006 10:18:19 PM

Quote:
Now AMD have been set free...They can finally develop their much needed Business Platform, guaranteed stability as the platform would be designed top to bottom for the CPU and GPU. This also allows AMD to have integrated GPU's on their mobo's that they can be proud of, allowing them a greater market freedom than ever before.


Don't forget the laptop chipsets. This is probably the biggest reason for buying ATI. Intel has been mopping up AMD with it's Centrino platform/chipsets, AMD thusfar, has not had a solution. Remember that during some quarters of the past couple of years, laptops have outsold desktops.
August 8, 2006 12:22:17 AM

Quote:
Failure once again BaronBS. seriously what percentage of gamer owns a crossfire system and how many cares about crossfire?


Probably some proportionate amount as related to SLI.

IDIOT toasty poo poo head.
August 8, 2006 12:25:24 AM

Quote:
Now AMD have been set free...They can finally develop their much needed Business Platform, guaranteed stability as the platform would be designed top to bottom for the CPU and GPU. This also allows AMD to have integrated GPU's on their mobo's that they can be proud of, allowing them a greater market freedom than ever before.


Don't forget the laptop chipsets. This is probably the biggest reason for buying ATI. Intel has been mopping up AMD with it's Centrino platform/chipsets, AMD thusfar, has not had a solution. Remember that during some quarters of the past couple of years, laptops have outsold desktops.


Stop the presses. We agree. AMD has to have chipsets to provide better reference server and mobile platforms. RAdeon will still sell the same since most people don't know about thisdeal and the ones who do probably don't care as long as they get the GPU they want.

I sense a plot to destroy Intel. (he says in his best Mace Windu voice)
August 8, 2006 3:51:01 AM

Quote:
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=33524

ATI is a duff purchase for AMD

Comment The opposite of synergy


By Arron Rouse: Monday 07 August 2006, 16:05

ANALYSTS AT INTEL must be laughing their socks off. Once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, AMD will discover that it has purchased rather less than it might have hoped in acquiring ATI. In fact, it could turn out to be a bad move for the industry as a whole.
The problem is not so much what ATI has but what it doesn't have. The graphics industry is driven largely by the fanboys and they are driven largely by getting extra frames per second. So far ATI seems to be onto a winner: put two X1900XTXs into a Crossfire capable machine and you'll get frame rates to make you proud. But there's a word in that last sentence that should make you stop and think. It should have made AMD stop and think. It's Crossfire. And nobody seems to have noticed that Crossfire is dead.

The Way of the Dodo
Intel has been plugging Crossfire for use with the new Core 2 Duo but that's ending quickly now that AMD owns the technology. It was bound to go that way and AMD must have known it. So scratch Intel as a long-term platform for Crossfire.

And AMD can't use Crossfire either. For a start, despite lots of promises, plenty of column inches and many product announcements, try to buy a Crossfire motherboard for an AM2 socket processor and see how far you get. They're incredibly rare. There's no sign of products from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, DFI or any of the other big names apart from a few press releases. In fact, the only one we could find for sale was an ECS that was out of stock. This is two and half months after the launch of AM2.

We tried asking ATI about this lack of Crossfire for AM2 some time ago. Its PR people said they'd find some on sale for us to see and were never heard from again.

Even if motherboard manufacturers were willing to suddenly switch on large streams of ATI chipset-based products, AMD won't let them now. After all, that would be too much like treading on the toes of its existing chipset partners, Nvidia, Via and SIS. AMD really wouldn't want Nvidia or Via pulling out as it just couldn't replace them quickly enough.

That leaves Crossfire gone. That means no more ultra-high frame rates with X1900XTXs in Crossfire. Which means the fanboys will start defecting to Nvidia's SLI. Fewer fanboys means fewer column inches means fewer sales. And that means ATI is worth less.

Frisson Chips
AMD is in the awkward position of having to dump ATI's chipset business. Not that there was much to it apart from a nice deal with Intel which is probably dead now. And AMD won't want to compete with Nvidia, Via and SIS so it can't even keep producing chipsets for its own processors.

That leaves laptop graphics, mobile phone graphics and set-top box chips as the only other areas worth something. That's a reasonable area of the business but it's hardly going to keep the stockholders' dividends pouring in.

One Way
So far, the purchase looks like a one way spiral downwards to loss of profitability. The chipset business has to go. That means Crossfire is history. That means a trailing off of sales on graphics processors as Nvidia permanently secures the performance crown. In short, the whole thing looks like a very expensive way of downsizing the entire ATI workforce.

AMD has said that it wants to start building graphics technology into its processors but there's a fair chance of that being a dead end. Sony already tried to do that with Cell and discovered just how fast the graphics market moves in comparison with processors. It ended up having to put a separate graphics chip into the PS3.

There's only one way that springs to mind as a potential escape route towards profit: releasing graphics chips that fit into the same sockets as AMD's processors and use HyperTransport instead of PCIe. It would mean convincing memory manufacturers to release GDDR4 memory modules, would lead to huge motherboards (barring some radical form factor changes), incredible cooling requirements, etc. But it would be enormously risky as, once again, it could incur the wrath of Nvidia.

Where does this leave AMD? There's a fair chance that, once the smoke clears and the mirrors have been taken down, it has spent $5.4 on a company that would have carried on its profitable dual for the top of the graphics market for years to come but will now gently evaporate into nothing. µ



My company's R&D department actually got hold of two R600 boards, we stuck some DDR3 ram (we actually wanted to try DDR4 modules on there but time was of essence) on there and you know what??
You can SLI as much as you want, but the scores indicates SLI or Crossfire aint necessary!!

Not that Nvidia is just gonna sit and watch, I am sure they've got something up their sleeves as well!!

The point is..........in the tech business, no ones just sits and watches, they're all up to something so to say this is the end for AMD and ATI......you're jumping the guns a little arent you??
August 8, 2006 4:27:24 AM

I was looking at my Fry's ad today in the newspaper and I just happened to find a C2D Motherboard and CPU combo. And the motherboard was crossfire capable.
August 8, 2006 5:55:39 AM

Quote:
Does The Inquirer just pay random homeless people off the street to come in and write articles for them?

No they just give free cheap booze
August 8, 2006 6:43:34 PM

Quote:
IDIOT toasty poo poo head.

I must admit that was funny and rather unexpected.
August 8, 2006 7:01:07 PM

Quote:
Does The Inquirer just pay random homeless people off the street to come in and write articles for them?


Its either that or crack addicts.... I mean if I smoked a couple pounds of crack I too could come up with some of those stories :) 
August 8, 2006 8:46:55 PM

I dunno, i think this guy is on crack (not the thread starter: the dude he quoted)... I dont want to be a party pooper, but this aaron dude has omited a beatiful fact: nVidia is yet to make an SLi mobo for intel's Conroe. Yeah, and b-sides, SLi doest even create a major performance boost. and crossfire has issues, yes, but what i see in the future is crossfire without needing a master card, and that would exist only for AMD. There are two reasons that crossfire isnt popular (and one of em is Ati's fault, you can guess which one it is):

1.- SLi came out first.

2.- Crossfire needs a master card.

And we have to remember that, for those of us who like to save a pretty penny for candy and whatnot, Ati has cheap 512MB solutions (that are actually worth the money), unlike nvidia, and no amount of SLi will ever change that.

And to prove im not an AMD/Ati fanboy i will tell yall that i dont care ho good the conroes are, i dont have more than 150 bucks to spend on a CPU, and that x1800gto2 is mighty atractive since its like a bazzilion times better than my 9800pro (which i bought for $187 at frys, at that time the 6600 of comparable performance cost like 40-50 bucks more). I dont buy cause of the brand, i buy cause its cheap and can overclock when cooled right.
August 8, 2006 8:51:56 PM

Quote:
Failure once again BaronBS. seriously what percentage of gamer owns a crossfire system and how many cares about crossfire?


Probably some proportionate amount as related to SLI.

IDIOT toasty poo poo head.

BaronBS, your not funny, your fat and you look as though you should be, but your not.

that was really unexpected... SUBWAY EAT FRESH BICH
August 8, 2006 8:58:38 PM

Whenever someone quotes the Inquirer I totally ignore it. And I know nothing about this stuff except what I learned here in the last few months.
August 8, 2006 10:49:12 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong... but do AMD not have the potential now to go and develop a cpu, MB, gpu platform cheaper than any of its competitors with a much higher throughput for gfx/bandwidth ?? ( ie XBox/PS )

If they take that root Intel and nvidia are doomed in my opinion as AMD will quickly grab most of the marketshare like that. Might even rival the consoles... !
August 8, 2006 11:04:27 PM

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong... but do AMD not have the potential now to go and develop a cpu, MB, gpu platform cheaper than any of its competitors with a much higher throughput for gfx/bandwidth ?? ( ie XBox/PS )

If they take that root Intel and nvidia are doomed in my opinion as AMD will quickly grab most of the marketshare like that. Might even rival the consoles... !



Lets have a vote: Burntime=BM puppet?
Yes?
No?
Inquiring minds want to know
a c 96 à CPUs
August 8, 2006 11:12:05 PM

The only thing the Inquirer seemed to be in that article was "on crack."
August 9, 2006 1:00:20 AM

Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong... but do AMD not have the potential now to go and develop a cpu, MB, gpu platform cheaper than any of its competitors with a much higher throughput for gfx/bandwidth ?? ( ie XBox/PS )

If they take that root Intel and nvidia are doomed in my opinion as AMD will quickly grab most of the marketshare like that. Might even rival the consoles... !


dude, intel has way over 70% of market shares. AMD has to pull of ALOT more to get ANYWHERE near intel.

oh and i AM and AMD fanboy btw, i just am more impartial than most ;) 
August 9, 2006 1:02:05 AM

CAPITAL letters RULE!
August 9, 2006 1:18:02 AM

as everybody who read this.. i dont understand a word.. i dont see the logic, i mean to beggin with crossfire never was even all that great because u had to buy a master card that cost the same as a better video card... i mean it cost so much to crossifre an x1800xt/x1900xt, it was only usefull for people with more money than brains or who were very stupid, sure, its more efficient thatn SLI but it aint dead.. and AMD bought ATI having in mind more the mobile technology, i mean integrated gpu's in laptops, AMD saw a great potential in ATI and there wasnt ever any smoke or mirrors in the ATI fabs... *lame* .. so yeah, CROSSFIRE aint dead, and maybe its not in AM2 because they already have the NFORCE 500 series, something totaly new, this is just a thing of wait and see, i can bet that by the time new AM2 cpu's come rollin out of the fabs we will beggin seeing a greater variety of AM2 mobos , etc. no company slaps down 5.2 billion without knowing what is behind these so called mirrors and smoke? i mean... hobo! if i were to write some stupid prediction id say that when DX10 cards come out ATI will have better cards than NVIDIA and that X-Fire will be cheaper.. i mean no master cards, and that those mirrors were set around the fabs to then look at them and laugh at the inquirer.. sooo stupid, and i also believe that NVIDIA will have like smaller DX10 cpu's than ATI, but they are gonna be hot and ATI will be working off AMD's fabs producing a bunch of cool powerfull gpu's , and ofcourse AMD will keep SLI and VIA and SIS ... form of income? i mean they got a big bill now.. forgot how many millions, AMD aint stupid! its all under control!
August 9, 2006 1:20:21 AM

Quote:
The only thing the Inquirer seemed to be in that article was "on crack."


preech on brother! cant get any easier than that.. guess my last post was useless :D 
August 9, 2006 3:49:29 AM

You know what I find interesting? I find it interesting that like every website I've been to (ie xbitlabs, tomshardware, extremetech etc...) gets their info from The Inquirer. Now I will admit that they are a bit overzealous with their articles but for the most part they seem to have some credibility.
August 9, 2006 4:34:09 AM

I've been inspired, I'm gonna go on the inquirer and write an article on how bill gates has a mole on his back that he named jackie and he had it injected with steriods he bought from barry bonds, so now bill has a soccer ball size talking mole on his back with a joe pesci attitude, and over time this mole has grown into a deformed midget on his back. In 2008 a surgery will be performed to seperate the two and jackie will be left in bill's position when he leaves Microsoft.


You just cant make that up.
!