ATI today said that it is in the midst of a "massive" ramp for the Intel version of its Xpress 200 PCI Express chipset. The company expects that there will be at least 20 platforms with the chipset available marking a major push into the entry-level graphics PC segment.
ATI's Reuven Soraya declined to provide details on how many Intel Xpress 200 chipsets will be manufactured, but confirmed that the number will be "in the millions per quarter" and that the number of Intel Xpress 200 chipset will outnumber the AMD versions by a factor of about 2:1.
According to sources, ATI apparently was able to convince Intel to include the Xpress 200 chipset on Intel-branded motherboards to compensate chipset shortages, especially on the lower end of the chipset market. While Soraya confirmed that the Xpress 200 aims at entry-level systems, he declined to comment on a possible deal with Intel.
ATI and especially Nvidia limited their activities in the chipset market in the past, mainly because of Intel's pricing pressure and low margins in the segment. Nvidia recently unveiled its C51 integrated graphics processor but said that it will be offering the chipset for AMD platforms only, at least for now.
This leaves ATI alone to complement Intel's PCI Express chipset offering in the Intel-based system market. Volume will be key to translating the strategy into a profit for the company: "60 to 70 percent of the 200 million PCs sold per year use chipsets. Being in the right segment at the right time and cost means that money can be made even with low margins," Soraya said. "You can innovate with products. In the integrated market, innovating for cost is as important and challenging as innovating for performance in the high-end," he added.