Friday, December 22nd 2006

ATI letting partners design their own cards

ATI, the graphics manufacturing division of AMD, has announced that it plans to allow third party manufacturers to design and produce their own graphics card boards to their own capacities for certain chips. Until now, ATI and NVIDIA have not sold their high-end chips directly to other manufacturers, instead choosing to make the cards under their own supervision using a contract manufacturer first. This, in theory, ensures that the quality of all their graphics cards is high for end consumers. Graphics board manufacturers should now have more freedom in how they build the cards, with the X1950XT being one of the GPUs they will be allowed to do this with. Although ATI will still supervise the board manufacturing process, their partners should have more breathing space to customise the cards.

Hopefully this move will see more choice for the end consumers because the boards will not be built to such a strict specification, although it could be at the cost of performance if some companies chose a low price over high quality. With any luck, ATI will still ensure that all the cards meet a high standard so consumers don't get cheated out of their money with sub-par products. Source: X-bit labs
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14 Comments on ATI letting partners design their own cards

#1
jocksteeluk
this will be good and bad for the consumer, i can see alot of cheap but garbage cards being made. This could possibly lead to the end of recomended specs for games since all the cards will be different this could also lead to cards all needed seperate drivers too.
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#2
Pinchy
yeah now the second party making the board (such as ASUS, XFX, Sapphire, etc) makes a HUGE difference....which can be good and bad.....personally, i prefer ATI/AMD to make the entire thing, that way, there wont be a difference in specs from card to card, besides a small OC...
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#3
OnBoard
Good news, I'm so tired of reference card designs, with reference cooler and a reference price and only thing that cards don't have in common are the software packages. Even that is useless, as it usually programs you don't need on year old games.

Now to have some manufacturer make a shorter card, with zalman cooling and better capasitors, now we are talking. At least you know you pay for something usefull. Sure there will be those cheapo cards that cost a panny to manufactire and sold for a dime "get you new GerForza8800GTZ (not a typo) for just 100$!" But theyäll propably last a year too and then it's time to upgrade anyways :P
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#4
EastCoasthandle
This makes absolutely no sense. ATI had access to a good fab now they want to outsource it to other manufactures who in turn use other Fabs (or whatever it's called for video cards) putting the cost on them. Just to save a buck! This is indeed bad news as the possibility exist for :

-driver problems
-quality control issues (remember those manufactures who will sell it have to pay to have them produced, there is no partnership with ATI)
-anti completive nature (why would they compete against one another if they are selling the exact same product)
-OC'ing nightmares (can you say 7900 series LOL). Just because a video card comes over clock doesn't mean it's fully functional.
-Introducing manufactures to this market. I am talking blatant obvious manufactures that have nothing to do with video cards. For example, HD manufactures, MB manufactures, even sound card manufacturers, etc you get the idea. What will be their motivate to produce video cards and why are they in this market? Will they be here for the short/long term?
-etc
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#5
Pinchy
....yeah, there wouldnt be an ati 'universal' driver, you would have to go to the third parties site....
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#6
OnBoard
You got a good point in that driver thingy.. Atleast AMD/TI & NVIDIA update their drivers regulary, even if they don't work all the time (well haven't had a bad driver in ages). Then there are those not-so-quality-big-name-companies making cards that have the initial driver and maybe one never, but that's it. It's sold they don't care about the customer anymore (no money for that).

Still news does say it's only for few cards and it doesn't say they'll stop manufacturing those same cards or the rest.
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#7
W1zzard
fab = silicon, completely unrelated to pcb making. all partners still buy the gpus from ati

all that partners can do now is build their own x1950 pcb designs, just like they can for all the other lower end cards. the driver will still be universal = catalyst. so what you will probably see now is an x1950 xtx with simpler voltage regulation and gddr3 = cheaper
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#8
Pinchy
lol that makes a lot of sense :p

thanks for clearing that up...
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#9
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Its yin and yang. I just hope quality doesn't suffer for this. Lord knows Id hate to plop down some hard earned cash for a piece of shit graphics card. I hope ATI knows what they are doing. Like someone stated, they have access to state of the art fab processes and then they go and do this. AMD better not be screwing this up.

-The Eagle
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#10
XooM
its like the rediculously nasty gainward cards of old; ie, regular 6800 GPUs on 6800ultra PCB, where they could clock like nuts.
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#11
Pinchy
yeah, lets just hope this isnt a major mistake ati are making...
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#12
Unregistered
It'll mean that any company can be for ATi what Palit/Elsa/Gainward is for nVidia. Palit is such a close partner that nVidia let them design their own PCB's for even the high end cards - they work bloody well!
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#13
Pinchy
yeah thats true, look at what gainward done for the 7800GS with their "Bliss +" or whatever it was...giving it like 24 pipes, on AGP :p
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#14
macawman
Signs of a change in AMD/ATI business plan

It looks like AMD is following up on their CEO's statement to integrate AMD's cpu with an ATI graphics card and is getting out of the plug in video card business by franchising out the design work on plug in cards to others. It smells like AMD has conceded this field to Nividia!
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