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AMD acquires ATI: What Does It Herald?

CreativeCOW presents AMD acquires ATI: What Does It Herald? -- Windows Hardware & Software People / Interview


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Charlie Boswell (left) - Scott Carroll (right)

In a move that surprised many, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) announced recently their offer to acquire ATi for 5.4 billion dollars. For a number of years now, AMD has been the performance leader with first-to-market offerings like its 64-bit architecture and dualcore processors. Its Opteron series has attained near-legendary status among many media professionals. What many readers do not know, is that when Compaq(R) acquired Digital Equipment Corp., makers of the once legendary Alpha(TM) processors, some of the acquisition-orphaned Alpha team found their home at AMD and helped design the Opteron. But Intel's new offerings are gunning for AMD's performance edge. Because of this, some see AMD's acquisition of ATi as a move into consumerdriven, larger scale markets. What does this mean for media pros? We asked AMD's Charlie Boswell and Scott Carroll...

AMD and ATI
While giant Intel counters AMD's long-standing performance edge, one of AMD's counterstrikes addresses new capabilities brought about with its July 24th ATi acquisition. AMD's Scott Carroll and Charlie Boswell are longtime AMD employees and share their thoughts.

COW: What do you see as AMD's greatest strength and how does an ATi acquisition play into this in the future?

Charlie Boswell: To date, our real strength has been our high-end and nearly all multi-core processors are created to address graphics pros. When we set out to create multi-core, that was our target.

Scott Carroll: One of the biggest changes for us was our success with the Opteron in the server market. In three years, we went from no Opteron presence, to about 25% of the server market.

Charlie: The real advantage of the PC is its open architecture, but the disadvantage has been that no one takes responsibility. Our purchase of ATi is a move towards more commitment and responsibility. ATi's acquisition would allow us to develop shorter wait times in developing the right tools in each market. Of the $30 billion microprocessor market, $17 billion is mobile and client computing for commercial business. With ATi, we are excited about the many possibilities this creates, such as enabling the power of a workstation in a mobile platform.

Scott: OEMs that serve the mobile and commercial client markets have asked for platforms that meet their needs. The ATi acquisition would enable us to configure multiple CPU and/or GPU cores into a single solution to address specific market segments - whether they be high-end videoediting systems or entry-level desktops and notebooks.

COW: Where does nVidia fit in this new landscape?

Scott: OEMs and system builders serving the high-end of the pro graphics markets often combine nVidia with AMD processors. We will continue to encourage system builders to use the best graphics solution, particularly at the professional level - whether those solutions be nVidia, ATi, or someone else.

Charlie: Back in late 1999, I was on Good Morning America discussing a film score I had done for an indie film and our then-new president, Hector Ruiz was watching. He called me in to meet with him and we discussed ways in which we could make technology get out of the way, becoming invisible to users. What if we could get the tech out of the way and get users working at the speed of thought? Testing our ideas with pros tests the 'mental aesthetic' and if it will work easily with far less demanding users. Consumers are often less passionate and demanding than users at the COW. We feel communities like the COW test our abilities. The fact that many of your members now use AMD tells us that we have been meeting many of our goals.

For more information about AMD, please visit www.amd.com/live


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