ASUS Goes ATI - But Not Exclusively
The packing of the new ASUS Radeon 9800 XT.
It was already signalized by rumors on the web, and now it's official: ASUS expands its VGA card product line with ATI models. This reminds of the good old days when card makers offered solutions from several companies at the same time. This changed after S3 lost importance and when 3dfx decided to sell its own cards like ATI and Matrox used to. In the following years we had NVIDIA cards from a variety of vendors on the one side and cards from ATI, Matrox and 3dfx on the other. Then ATI decided to do the opposite of what 3dfx did and started to sell chips to other vendors. However, most manufacturers were bonded with NVIDIA at that time and NVIDIA did not allow them to sell anything else than NVIDIA chips. Hercules was the first manufacturer who tried to get out of this and started to sell Kyro2 based cards what in the end resulted in a loss of the contract with NVIDIA. Hercules switched over to ATI but ATi's new in role as a chip supplier resulted in yield shortages. In the ensuing time ATI was able to convince some companies to switch over but this also meant exclusively. Today, we have quite a few companies selling NVIDIA chip based cards and others selling cards with ATI chips. However, NVIDIA still owns the big names.
NVIDIA is under pressure. Contracts are running out and manufacturers are no longer willing to concentrate on only one chipmaker in the retail market. Big names on the NVIDIA shore like ASUS and MSI already produce ATI based cards, but only without branding for the OEM market. Now ASUS does the important step and delivers both, NVIDIA and ATI based cards to the retail market. A trend that will be followed by other manufactures as new and old names like XGI and S3 become new players.
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