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AMD-ATI Merger on the Way? 215

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the by-your-powers-combined-i-am-cpt-hardware dept.
miketronics writes "Forbes.com is reporting the possibility of a merger between industry heavyweights AMD and ATI. This is largely based on a 'prediction on recent checks in the PC food chain' by industry analyst Apjit Walia. A move like this might give AMD some leverage over Intel, who has been slashing prices lately to compete with a major surge in AMD popularity in both the home and server markets. Despite AMD's recent gains Intel still has a dominant market share and consumers have high hopes for their upcoming Conroe processors."
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AMD-ATI Merger on the Way?

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  • Why not Nvidia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:25PM (#15439275)
    All I can think is why AMD ins't looking at nvidia instead? If I had my choice of companies to chose from, it wouldn't be ATI.
    • Re:Why not Nvidia (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:41PM (#15439406) Homepage Journal
      Amen to that.

      As far as I am concerned, ATI is evil.

      Their customer service USED to be excellent, better than other video card vendors. Unfortunately when DiamondMM lost the first video card wars and ATI got really huge, their driver quality sank very quickly and their customer service went from the best to quite possibly the worst - worse than even generic video card companies like Jaton. Not only that, they went from being quite supportive of X to being downright hostile (this change took place right around the time they bought up the charred corpse of Diamond) and REFUSED to disclose info to Linux developers, taking on the "proprietary intellectual property" mantra that Diamond used to love to chant. As if releasing "register c8e3 does foo" is going to reveal how you developed your chip mask. Idiots. Just release the map already, okay?

      ATI's drivers have become more stable in the last couple of years on the Windows side, and they've become slightly less evil in the Linux world by releasing (partially-functional - no 3D - WTF? No Radeon 7500 support? WTF!) binary drivers for X and register maps for older products, but they still have an extremely long way to go before I will consider buying any ATI products. Hell, they STILL haven't ever released a driver which will enable the tuner on any of my ATI tuner or All in Wonder cards on Linux. Even worse, the open source driver (on supported cards) significantly outperforms the proprietary driver on several systems I've tested. Also, I've never managed to get GL117 to run on ANY ATI card, but NO problems on NVidia or even Screw ATI.

      If AMD teams up with ATI, not only will I avoid ATI products, but I will also stick with Intel processors. Besides, with Intel's new cores, it's Intel's turn to babystep back into the lead again for a while. I think it's more likely that ATI's evil would rub off on AMD, and ATI would not improve any.
      • Re:Why not Nvidia (Score:2, Insightful)

        by brucifer (12972)
        No offense, but when I see comments start with "(insert company/product name here) is evil", I immediately tune out and skip the post. There may be very valid points, but when you start off with emotional statements like that, I have to fight very hard to prevent my eyes from rolling.
      • "As far as I am concerned, ATI is evil."

        Welcome, AMDATI. Or, is it "AMDEVIL"?

        Or, if they do it backwars, Itamada, or Livedma.
      • Even worse, the open source driver (on supported cards) significantly outperforms the proprietary driver on several systems I've tested. Also, I've never managed to get GL117 to run on ANY ATI card, but NO problems on NVidia or even Screw ATI.

        Agreed. I tried to get the DVD player to work on my T43 Thinkpad. Downloading proprietary ATI drivers and trying to get them to work cost me a day of frustration. I eventually got image, but terribly low framerate and artifacts. Once I went back to the open source Rade
      • There are no OSS nVidia drivers at all. None. Nope.
        Stuck with the binary-only drivers.

        ATI's binary driver may be pure shit (as far as I've heard from other users) but :
        - there's some opensource DRI [freedesktop.org] support.
        - there're some reverse engeneering efforts [sf.net] done to support more recent cards.

        So, monomaniac opensrouce zealot, like myself, are more likely to be happy from a merger between those to companies.

        Also didn't ATI have plans to use HyperTransport for their graphic chips as opposed to nVidia only using it for
    • Re:Why not Nvidia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geobeck (924637) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @06:09PM (#15439626) Homepage
      All I can think is why AMD ins't looking at nvidia instead?

      Because nVIDIA isn't a three-letter acronym starting with A*, which is probably this analyst's rationale for starting this pump-and-dump "prediction".

      *A for "analyst", which of course starts with "anal".

    • Re:Why not Nvidia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chewedtoothpick (564184) <chewedtoothpick AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @06:37PM (#15439868)
      Perhaps this is a move by AMD to help NVidia finally rid themselves of their competition from ATI. Given the close relationship that AMD and NVidia have, and AMD's dependancy on NVidia, AMD would want to do everything in their power to help NVidia lorde their power over their competitors.

      That, or perhaps AMD is seeking to relieve themselves of their dependance on NVidia, and it has become quite obvious that VIA is no longer a player in the motherboard battle. AMD Could be looking to expand their performance by making an AMD motherboard that actually is worth the silicon it's made on - just as Intel's best boards use Intel north and south bridges.
    • Because nVidia's market cap is more than half of AMD's, while ATI's is smaller than a third of it. ATI is cheaper, and you get more-or-less the same thing when it comes to graphics and chipsets.

      I don't think it's wise to buy either of them... But, if you had to pick one, nVidia is way too expensive for what you get.
    • It is easier to polish a trailer than a mansion.

      Seriously, either ATI or NVidia works.

      As to AMD doing a submarine on ATI chipsets, that would be braindead. It makes so much better sense to just make the chipsets that support Intel chips more expensive. Then every time Intel nets $30 on a processor, you net $30 on a chipset. And you get market preference by being the CPU with the cheaper average motherboard. Add to that: open the interface and you win in serverland where Linux is king. Add the synergy

  • Uh oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcpkaaos (449561) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:25PM (#15439278)
    There goes the amd64 stable keyword...
  • by mobby_6kl (668092) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:27PM (#15439290)
    not completely impossible or baseless, considering that ATI makes some [newegg.com] AMD-compatible chipsets.
    • by PixelSlut (620954) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:44PM (#15439429)
      AMD has their own chipsets, they're not buying ATI for that. The thing that AMD doesn't make of their own is integrated graphics chipsets. Intel is the largest vendor of graphics hardware (they either beat NVIDIA and ATI combined, or they come close to it). With Windows Vista coming out and requiring a GPU for Aeroglass, it totally makes sense for AMD to start producing integrated graphics solutions.
      • AMD stopped releasing motherboard chipsets some time ago. I don't know if they still design them internally for their own testing purposes but they've otherwise gave up the market to VIA, nVidia, etc. once their chipsets started maturing.

        • This is true. From my understanding, it's a market that AMD never really wanted to even compete in, but designed some chipsets intially just so that motherboard makers would have something decent to build a board on.
    • I don't know why you feel it's unlikely. Not only does it seem likely, but it also seems to be a very smart move. Even with their chips lagging behind AMD(or at least until the full Core lineup is released), Intel's biggest strengths are in it's full platform solution with chipset and all. ATI would give AMD the same advantage and level the playing field even further.
      • The only problem with that is that the only people who care what kind of video they have are gamers and most gamers have gotten too pissed off at ATI to even fuck with them again. I decided to give them a try after literally years of never even considering an ATI card - the last ATI-powered card I had was a Mach64CT. But, I went ahead and bought a Radeon 9600XT AGP8x and BOY DO I REGRET IT. My system was fully patched, and I downloaded the very latest drivers from ATI, installed them, and bluescreened. So,

        • I don't know why everybody's so pissed at ATI. I hear about the horrible drivers all the time, but I've had many more BSODs with my current 6600 than I ever had with the 9600Pro before that. The only BSOD I remember with the 9600 was in Kreed (crappy game anyway), but it was clearly not graphics-related, as it only happened when I quicksaved. The 6600 bluescreened so far in in anything from HL(1!) to Serious Sam 2, usually with clear references to some nv*.dll.

          Oh, and when the drivers were outdated by one r
        • Check your power supply.

          I had the same problem when 2 and a half years ago, I moved to the 9600, and had immense BSOD problems (more when I was using the .NET based Catalyst Control center). Problem was solved easily with an upgrade to the power supply.

          Now I am havign similar problems with my new system based on a ATI chipset and a 1800XL GPU, and am looking at changing the powersupply again.

          It seems that although in general the ATI chips run with a low power, they surge sometimes with really tricky stuff,
          • I have already replaced my power supply since the first time I had the problem, and... that wasn't the problem. I went to a higher-wattage unit, even. Admittedly I haven't hooked my ATX tester up to the one I've got now.
    • I was at a VMWare user group meeting recently where an AMD representative also gave a small presentation about their chip plans. Someone asked him when AMD would start making motherboards, and the response was that "AMD has no intention of being in anything but the processor business. We want to do one thing, and do it better than anyone else."

      Granted, this wasn't the CEO talking, of course. And someone might argue that graphics processors are still processors.
    • Just like nVidea currently has a near monopoly in performance AMD chipsets...
      oh wait...
  • by friedman101 (618627) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:30PM (#15439321)
    At what percentage of market share am I supposed to stop liking AMD?
    • by glsunder (241984) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @08:06PM (#15440547)
      51%
  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:31PM (#15439328)
    ... Intel is very dependant on ATI at the moment to supply intel CPU compatible chip-sets/Motherboards to help Intel move it's stock pile of CPUs. As Intel has a chip-set shortage which means it can not shift CPU's as fast as it would likes. (almost every new CPU requires a new MB).

    *IF* AMD bought ATI they could immediately can the ATI Intel motherboard line and deliver a big blow to intel's profitability for the next quarter or two.
    • That would also open them up to lawsuites for anti competitive acts. because well it is jsut so damn obvious.

      now if they bought ATI and canned them completely .. that they could get away with.. (i would hope they wouldn't though)
      • Why would this be anti-competitive? ATI and AMD merge and the new company says they are phasing out their intel chipsets and will now be producing AMD chipsets only. Intel doesn't produce AMD chipsets so why should ATI/AMD make chipsets for Intel? And there are many other places you can go for both a AMD or Intel chipset (SiS, VIA, nVidia, etc). I don't see how there is anything wrong with that plan.

        I actually see it as a smart move. I know ALOT of people who don't take AMD seriously because AMD doe
        • if they do it in a way that isn't jsut so they can cause a shortage in Intels market they are fine.. but if they shut it down to cause the intel shortage on purpose tand anyone fines a memo noteing that they did it knowing and willfuly.. well then they are goign to be in the hot seat - just like Intel is right now
          • Actually, you can make anti-competitive moves in the market place, like AMD buying ATI and shutting down the Intel chipset lines immediately depending on certain conditions.

            The most prevailing condition being: are you in a monopoly position in your market, or in the market of the company you are purchasing? If the answer is (in the case) glaringly obviously NO, then there is no anti-competitive charge that can be levied. They are acting in order to preserve what little market share their dominant "partner"
            • The relevant question is whether the potentially offending party has something called "market power" -- the ability to change the market price for a commodity by unilateral action. While AMD is not a monopoly, the relevant market (intel-compatible chipsets) is concentrated enough that ATI probably has market power, and any attempt by AMD to use ATI to promote demand for AMD processors and harm both Intel and consumers by creating an artificial shortage in Intel motherboards would probably meet with hasty ac
        • No, it wouldn't be anticompetitive - but I bet shareholders won't be happy with it. That's giving away a large chunk of marketshare with little tangible gains - ATi probably moves more Intel chipsets than the amount of AM2 chipsets they would be moving if they stuck to only that.

          It would, however, be smart to make your competitor dependent on your chipsets. Then you get lots of small knobs to twist and produce interesting effects. Of course, Intel wouldn't like that and will have to revamp its chipset produ
  • Doesn't make sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeafDumbBlind (264205) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:31PM (#15439331)
    AMD doesn't need ATI's tech or headaches. The best chipsets for AMD's systems currently come from Nvidia; why would AMD want to piss them off?
    Nvidia's founder worked at AMD in the 80s and the 2 companies have a pretty close relationship. I can see a merger with Nvidia making sense, but buying ATI would be a blunder.
    • by moro_666 (414422)
      amd wants ati's mobile chipsets, if anything at all.

        amd sees a strong perspective in the mobile market and that's where ati rocks right now with their new chipsets and integrated or dedicated graphics chips.

        if amd really is planning this move, then there's far more to it than "oh ati makes great graphic cards" or "let's now bash intel with it". it's a multi billion dollar business and nobody makes decisions based on "oh"-s. maybe amd knows something about ati that we don't ?
    • But wouldn't AMD be taking Intel's only real ally? With ATI out of the picture would Nvidia play nice with Intel?

      I think the next generation would be a CPU + GPU kinda like FPU's of the 90's. Killing the entire bus would offer amazing performance but it also involves a very close partnership. Now that GPU's are really gaining popularity and die size is really small/efficient maybe getting rid of the Graphics Card as we know it would be benificial from a power consumption point of view as well?

      Then
  • by RayDude (798709) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:34PM (#15439353)
    IMO this is pretty silly. AMD would be backhanding NVIDIA by doing this. And this would encourage NVIDIA and Intel to merge in response. You really don't want Intel and NVIDIA working as the same company do you? Talk about stiff competition. And this could eliminate some choices we have as consumers on chipsets and video processors. All in all this would be very bad for consumers. I can't see this happening, no matter what the analysts say. Raydude
    • If such a merger would finally kill Intel Intergrated Graphics, I'd be all for it no matter what the other implications would be.

      That said, I think an AMD/NVidia merger would far more likely if such a thing ever were to occur, as they seem to function in a similar manner.
      • What's your beef with Intel Integrated Graphics?

        I've always been partial to them since they're well supported under
        Linux (thank you Intel for making your hardware specs publically available).
    • Even if ATI and AMD merged nVidia would still be making the most popular, most proven, most feature-rich AMD chipset out there. nVidia makes a fucking ton of money off the nForce chipset, so I wouldn't count on them throwing a hissy fit and ending production just because AMD got in bed with ATI.

      Neither AMD nor ATI have been known for their ability to make chipsets that don't Totally Suck, and being the leader in a particular market isn't something that a company will just let go of because of a grudge.
      • Neither AMD nor ATI have been known for their ability to make chipsets that don't Totally Suck, and being the leader in a particular market isn't something that a company will just let go of because of a grudge.

        ATI's RD580 chipset has been getting glowing reviews pretty much across the board as being the fastest dual x16 performance you can get. You can agree with that or not, but that definitely qualifies it for "doesn't Totally Suck".

        And, Intel making Intel-brand boards with ATI chipsets is also a strong
        • I agree with your first remark; if they're getting glowing reviews then that doesn't qualify as "Totally Sucks." But I stand by my original statement, which is that they haven't been known for that. They've had their chipsets out for a while now without much to show for it. nForce is still winning that battle.

          I kind of have to agree with your second one too, in that getting Intel's blessing is usually a pretty good sign. But even if with some value they won't necessarily crank anything out worth buying o
  • If AMD owned ATI then this might affect certain consoles. Nintendo and Microsoft both have ATI in their consoles.
  • Given the bad reputation ATI's drivers have (I have had first-hand experience with relatively recent versions of Catalyst), I can't see this as being good.
    Secondly, with many decent AMD motherboards using nForce chipsets, this sounds rather doubtful and could, if it goes through, potentially cause all sorts of competition/anti-trust issues.
    • Re:I hope not (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kimvette (919543)
      Current catalyst drivers today are perfection relative to what they were like a couple of years ago. They're a vast improvement.
      • They are still complete shit. Catalyst Control Center bluescreened my system, but it works 100% great without it. We're talking about the utility that's supposed to come with the driver crashing the driver here. Admittedly, this was months ago... I'm planning to sell that PC, and work is getting me a Core Duo laptop (a vaio) with an nvidia graphics card. I mostly play console games anyway these days, so I won't be missing anything.
    • I'm using the latest ones in Windows and Linux without any problems what so ever. What kind of problems are you having?
  • by OzPhIsH (560038) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:37PM (#15439380) Journal
    I don't want ANY of these companies to merge. I want more houses out there designing chips, pushing the limits, and enabling us to have more and more powerful rigs at a cheaper price. I don't want less competition in the sector one bit. We already only have really 2 choices for CPUs, and two different choices for GPUs. I wish there were a lot more to choose from. What I don't want is to be locked into a specific video card chipset based on whether I have an Intel or AMD CPU.
  • by DeafDumbBlind (264205) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:40PM (#15439402)
    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ecn?s=ATYT [yahoo.com]
    Looks like the analyst needed to justify his price upgrade so he started the rumor.
  • Not very often, but people STILL listen to them. This is just so much bullshit. Consumers have high hopes for Conroe? More bullshit. Most of the people who will/may buy one don't even know what it is.

    This is just so much crap by people wanting to ride the gravy train, and people who want to be able to point to analysts' reports because they are afraid of being accused of making a wrong decision.

    The relationship between analysts and people who pay for their conclusions is like mutual masturbation...
    • Consumers have high hopes for Conroe? More bullshit.

      Everything I have personally read on every tech/hardware/overclocking/etc site about Conroe has been about the chips slaughtering AMD's top FX chips. The core line has got a LOT of people excited. Intel's finally given up on Netburst, Intel is finally fighting back against AMD, Intel is ready to reclaim the desktop, etc. People who, you know, actually read all that stuff are consumers too you know. Tech is one of the most popular and active subjects on

      • I think that the point is, Intel's going to sell millions of conroes, but only a few thousand people will have bought them because of the merits discussed in technical magazines. All the other sales will be because that's what Dell put in the box.
        • Well, if my friends who know nothing about PCs are buying a comptuer, they'll look to their tech-inclined friends. I'll say get a Mac, but when they decide to go PC, I might say, get this line over that line, these Intel chips are better. Tech people have an influence in their non-tech friends/relatives purchases
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @05:52PM (#15439484) Homepage Journal
    it's not the devil who changes.
    • Who is the devil here? AMD isn't evil, at least as far as I can tell (with the exception of the K6/2) and ATI isn't evil either, they're just incompetent.
      • What?! K6-2, evil! NEVAR!

        Let me tell you the little story of the K6-2 that could: It was a dark a stormy night in 1999, and a new computer was being wraught forth in the dark dungeon which, by day, served a bedroom for a young kid who liked to play with hardware. Upon flipping the switch, the entire world sprung to life with colors! One power supply supply later, the creation was complete, and served admirably under brutal working conditions for the next several years.

        Upon being handed down to the previous
    • Unless he's gettin' banged by Saddam....

      S.H. "C'mon Satan, let's fuck..."
      Satan: "All you ever wanna do is fuck. You don't really love me...."

      Oh, you were talking about DANcing, hot LAYing...
  • I'm pretty sure the analyst just liked typing ATI and AMD together. I mean I imagine he thinks they do almost the exact same thing... they both begin with A right?
    • You're being glib. There are more similarities between AMD and ATI than just the starting letter. For example, both are 3 letters long. As if that weren't enough, the middle letter in each one is a consonant! These firms were clearly made to be together.
      • You're being glib. There are more similarities between AMD and ATI than just the starting letter. For example, both are 3 letters long. As if that weren't enough, the middle letter in each one is a consonant! These firms were clearly made to be together.

        But ATI is Canadian.

        Their drivers probably suck because they drink too much Molson.

  • Consumers Don't care (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Isaac-1 (233099)
    99%+ of consumers could not tell a Conroe series processor from a Coppermine series processor, in fact 99%+ of consumers could not tell a Conroe from a Katmai if you hit them in the head with it.

    Ike
  • AMD is great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Britz (170620) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @06:27PM (#15439779) Homepage
    Even if you only buy Intel, because the competition finally woke up Intel and made them throw out their horrible netburst design. Companies that don't have any competition deliver mediocre products at best. Look at Microsoft. If Intel didn't have AMD on their tail we would still be stuck with the shiny new 5 Ghz Pentium 4 coming out in 2008 with a fraction of the computing power per cycle compared to the current P4 design (every desktop design since the P3 had less bang for every single cycle, but Intel made up for it by clocking them up so high that the new processor was faster overall).

    The Pentium M OTOH has a very good design. Thanks to that Intel still dominates the portable market. Maybe they can revive their strength on the desktop side as well now.
  • Get ready for the new A TIMID chipsets!
  • A CPU for GPGPU? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vegan Pagan (251984) <deanas.earthlink@net> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @06:48PM (#15439964)
    Lately, ATI has been pushing non-graphical processing on the GPU (AKA GPGPU), and AMD is looking for ways to grow without imitating or directly competing against Intel. If GPGPU software design becomes mainstream, then much of the CPU may become redundant, such as SIMD and multiple cores. Maybe ATI and AMD will coordinate which functions go onto which chip. Intel has always disdained other companies' co-processors (and sells integrated graphics to reduce demand for them), so they're not likely to do this.
  • If this goes through, does that mean that Apple will buy components from Intel *and* AMD (ATI), or will it go down the NVidia path? It seems to just want good components in their systems based on their needs, so who knows, it could get a foot in the door for AMD if they merge... Mmmm...speculations...
  • by RelliK (4466) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @07:15PM (#15440166)
    Being an analyst is awesome! Think about it: you make up wild speculation all day and people pay you for it. Next up: Amazon to buy RedHat and sell it on eBay!
  • ati revenge (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codingh34v3n (962705) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @07:24PM (#15440228)
    ATI drivers suck ?

    i dont know why people talk so bad about ati products, meanly at these times.

    I allways had nvidia boards and yes , i liked it because their support on linux started very well (easy install), but their prices now, start to grow against their quality.

    so, a few months ago i buyed a cheap ATI and tried to install it, downloaded the drivers from the website.

    At the time, there are many tutorials about how to install 3d on ati chips and if you see well, the procedures are very similar to nvidia chips installation.

    on debian based systems, with a few apt commands only, in a few minutes you have 3d acceleration on X.

    in my case, the 3d performance on games even outperform the equivalent nvidia chipsets. So, where is the complication?

    and if you do a "lsmod | grep fglrx" you realize the driver itself use only 1/2 MB of memory against the several MBs of nvidia driver.

    so where is the relation quality / performance / price here?

    If ATI join AMD, they could put the gfx cpu inside amd cpu and even make a custom main board for their specific product. There are a lot of choices.

    http://www.codingheaven.net/ [codingheaven.net]Computing Resource
  • does this mean i'm finally going to be able to use 64-bit graphics?? 32-bit graphics was just getting old...
  • Nearly all mergers have a period prior to public announcement of a merger where the price of the two company's shares will change. One usually goes up and the other goes down. Along the way, volume goes up too.

    Both companies fail this test.

    That does not mean it's not happening. But when there's plenty of money to be made on some privileged information, history is full of people who take advantage of it.

    If one of the two is shopping for a merger, then that too would be reflected in the price of their stoc
  • I happen to like ATI quite a bit. I think a merger between AMD and ATI is a bit far fetched, though certianly some kind of close-knit partnership is definitely within the realm of possibility. I replaced a Geforce2 With a Radeon 7500 and have NEVER looked back. I had a very bad experience with nVidia, and went to ATI and have been very impressed with the performance, versatility, and overall capabilities of the cards that I've had. I run Windows primarily. I also run Linux. Both my laptop and Desktop have
  • AMD+ATI means instant death for AMD since they rely heavily on Nvidia.

    Duh.

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