AMD Launches First ATI Integrated Chip Sets

The chip sets, which should start showing up in PCs by April, will be offered first in desktops and then later in notebooks, company officials said.

Advanced Micro Devices is finally delivering on its promise to integrate ATI graphics technology into its product line.

On Feb. 28, the chip maker, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., plans to introduce a pair of chip sets called the AMD 690 series that will integrate ATIs Radeon graphics processors.

The two new chip sets, the 690G and the 690V, will start shipping to motherboard makers in the next several weeks and the chip sets should start appearing in PCs by April, said Phil Eisler, corporate vice president of AMDs Chipset Division.

The 690G chip set is based on the ATI Radeon X1250 graphics chip and supports digital outputs such as DVI (Digital Video Interactive) and HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface). The 690V chip set will integrate the ATI Radeon x1200 and does not support digital outputs, which will limit output to VGA standards.

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However, both chip sets in the 690 series will support dual output and support a PCI Express bus, which will allow the graphics board to further augment a PCs capabilities, such as adding support for a four-display setup.

The chip sets will support AMD processors that use the newer AM2 socket, including Sempron, Athlon 64, Athlon 64 dual-core and Athlon 64 FX processors.

The new chip sets will be offered in desktop models first but the company plans on announcing the availability of notebook chip sets with integrated ATI GPUs within the next 30 to 60 days, Eisler said.

The chip sets and the motherboards that will use them will be geared toward commercial and consumer uses, as opposed to the high-end computers favored by gamers, Eisler said. With the presence of the ATI graphics chips, Eisler said the chip sets will be able to deliver all the features that have been promised with Microsofts Windows Vista operating system.

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"We do believe that this chip set will deliver the ultimate Windows experience," Eisler said.

On Oct. 25, AMD completed its $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI, as the company looked to integrate the graphics technology with its processor offerings. In a meeting with financial analyst in New York on Dec. 14, CEO Hector Ruiz said integrating ATIs technology would be a top company goal in 2007.

The company has been emphasizing its desktop line in the past two months as it prepares for the release of its quad-core Opteron processor, called "Barcelona," which should appear by the second half of 2007. AMDs ongoing battle with Intel has taken a toll on the companys financial results, although it did manage to pickup some market share in 2006, especially in the notebook and desktop space.

Still, the companys struggles have recently made it the subject of takeover rumors, according to a Feb. 27 Reuters news report.

In the future, AMD plans to produce an integrated offering called "Fusion," a new class of x86 processors that will integrate the CPU and graphics processing unit at the silicon level. The technology should be available sometime in 2009 or 2010.

Some of the motherboard manufactures that will start using the new 690 series chip sets include ASRock, ASUSTek Computer, Biostar Group, ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems), Foxconn Electronics, Gigabyte Technology, MSI (Micro-Star Intl) and Shuttle Computers.

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