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Friday, December 23, 2005

ATI CrossFire to be available in Radeon X1000 PCIe GPU line

ATI Technologies announced yesterday that all of the graphics processing units (GPUs) in its Radeon X1000 PCIe family will integrate its CrossFire dual-card graphics technology, according to Edward Chou, the marketing director of ATI’s Asia-Pacific division.

Besides ATI’s Radeon Xpress 200 chipset series, Intel’s high-end 975X series is the only other chipset that supports ATI’s CrossFire, Chou noted, adding that ATI presently has no plans to grant the dual-card graphics technology to other chipset makers.

In 2006, when markets for Microsoft’s Vista operating system (OS), HD-DVD, and Blu-ray discs kick off, demand for PCI Express (PCIe) graphics cards are expected to grow significantly, Chou stated. The shipment contribution of AGP8X graphics cards in the channel market will slide to 50% by the middle of next year, down from 65% at present, Chou believes. By year-end, the proportion will go down further to only 20%, according to Chou.

Taiwan motherboard makers indicated that the supply of ATI’s CrossFire GPUs will be limited in the channel market until the middle of the first quarter of 2006 because most supplies have been grabbed by OEM vendors, the makers said.

In response to rival Nvidia recently acquiring Taiwan-based ULi Electronics, the maker of southbridges that run with ATI’s northbridge chips, Chou noted that ATI is ramping up production of its own southbridge chips. ULi’s southbridge supply accounts for less than 10% of ATI’s total southbridge shipments, said Chou, adding that losing ULi’s contribution will not affect overall shipment performance.

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