Company: AMD
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: August 30th, 2010
AMD Rebranding - The Death of ATI

ATI Radeon Is Dead!
ATI Radeon Is Dead!
The King Is Dead; Long Live The King! AMD is retiring the ATI branding of the discrete and integrated graphics processors, finalizing the long process begun in July 2006, with the acquisition of the Ontario, Canada head-quartered company, ATI Technologies Inc. With the release of their newest discrete graphics products later this year, there will be no more ATI branded graphics products or software:


ATI Fire Pro
ATI Fire Pro
ATI Catalyst
ATI Catalyst
ATI STREAM
ATI STREAM
ATI Eyefinity
ATI Eyefinity

In 2006, ATI was excited about GPU accelerated HavokFX running on their acclaimed Radeon X1950 graphics processors, that boasted a whopping 360GFLOPs of compute power. 2005 had been good to ATI, with $2.22Bn US fiscal revenue and their console, PC, MAC, TV and handheld device products pushing well through 2006. The future looked good as ATI approached DirectX 10 and the launch of Microsoft's new desktop Operating System, Windows Vista. ATI even managed to snag Beyond3D.com's Dave 'Wavey' Baumann as a Technical Marketing Manager, presumably because he was such a big Formula One fan.

At the same time, AMD was looking not only at their evolving next generation K8 microprocessor architecture into K10, also considering that perhaps just a few integer pipelines at 10GHz weren't the way to go. The wheels were set in motion in early 2006, after failed talks for AMD and NVIDIA to merge. When then CEO Hector Ruiz refused to consider vacating the combined company's CEO spot for Jen-Hsun Huang (CEO of NVIDIA) their attention turned to ATI.

The Future's Fusion
The Future's Fusion

Using borrowed money and stock, AMD acquired ATI Technologies Inc. and began what seemed to be a less-than-stellar period. Opteron64 and Athlon64 products were selling well but, as we now know, AMD's success was subject to some indirect manipulations via the marketing and rebate schemes of their competitors.

ATI on the other hand was struggling with a large power hungry monolithic die that was late to market and missed the sales bump surrounding the first new version of the most popular desktop OS in five years, and its exclusive new Direct3D API. Oops. The Radeon HD 2900 XT was born, and was pledged to be the last 'big' high end card ATI would produce - they lose money, don't offer the best value to consumers, and are tough to make (deja-vu recently, anyone?).

AMD VISION
AMD VISION

However, ATI wasn't simply hoping no-one would notice and that it would all go away. They were busy working on not only the next generation but it's successor. RV 670, a.k.a. the ATI Radeon HD 3870/3850 surprised a lot of people with its low power, quick time to market, and aggressive pricing. It didn't take the performance crown but introduced support for the new subset of Direct 10, DirectX 10.1, had fewer transistors and a lower power draw than the R600 it replaced - and was way cheaper, as well as a little faster sometimes.

ATI STREAM
ATI STREAM
The HD 3800 series was swiftly followed by the people's hero: RV770 in the HD 4800 series. He wasn't the biggest, baddest mofo out there but he was svelte, low maintenance and punched well above his weight, giving NVIDIA a definite headache as they struggled to realign the pricing of their newly-introduced GeForce 200 series. Alongside this, the ATI FireGL and FireStream products become AMD branded, as the OEM and HPC customers turned to the performance-per-watt equation more and more.  


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