Amd+Ati = Trouble for Intel+Nvidia??
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 2 weeks, you would have probably heard or read about the deal. Amd has announced a take over/acquistion of ATi for approximately 5.2 billion US dollars. As im in no position to discuss technical details of the deeal (im not a management student :P), ill just keep it to a technological and consumer point of view..
Quite frankly, the deal had to happen. I expected something of this kind. AMD has been at the top for almost 3 years now(which is quite a long time in technology), leaving the big bro Intel to completely rot (lets face it, prescott was a complete failure). When Conroe started showing promising figures early this year, suddenly everyone was interested in intel. Amd on the other hand, had to convince everyone that AM2 was really a big leap forward – although the only noticable improvements were a different socket and DDR2. Things got worse for Amd when the cheapest conroe started steamrolling the costliest processor that AMD has right now, the FX-62 (okay, the E6300 was overclocked, but that itself is a piece of cake). Also, AM2 isnt showing the performance increase that AMD promised. Now that is where it can get really messy.
On the other hand, the Graphics battle has more or less been equal – Ati and Nvidia fighting over each other with a completely new Marchitecture every 2 years or so (i hope im correct). And it hasnt been a complete domination like AMD’s. Every new chipset that came out from ATi was matched by a competing one from Nvidia. So that part of the story has been pretty balanced.
Now the reason why i think this deal would come through was AMD’s position. Although im a AMD fanboy, i will NOT be getting a AM2. Conroe has just kicked its ass fair and square. The next 2 years or so definitely belongs to intel. i see no reason why not to get a conroe. Amd has to live with this, and unfortunately it cannot. It simply doesnt have the financial power of Intel to survive in the market without selling much chips for more than 2 years. That is where this deal can work to its advantage. Ati has been doing pretty well itself – the X1900XT is a big hit, and with its Much awaited and hyped R600 coming out sometime this year or Q1 2007, it will have a pretty nice position in the market. Amd can use this to try and minimise the poor performance of AM2.
Another area which will be interesting to watch is the combined platform based performance of AMD+ATI. They can really turn the tables on other chip makers by developing a Processor+Chipset+Graphics platform that can crush competition. Joint development doesnt hurt in technology. Amd has announced that joint development can probably start in 2008, which is not too far away. Also the prospect of AMD fabs producing the complex ATI chips will definitely bring down the production costs.
So does this spell doom for either intel or nvidia. The answer unforunately is NO. Intel isnt your typical upcoming company that is afraid of competition. They literally brought about the microprocessor revolution single handly in the common consumer market. They have survived the worst disaster – prescott and still have come out with their best success story till date – the conroe. And nvidia too isnt going to be shaken – they are valued at approx 10 billion dollars, twice that of ATI’s. So this merger will not affect the two companies anytime soon. Maybe when AMD+ATi start their joint development things will get interesting….
And as for the big question – will intel buy nvidia? The answer is probably no. At least thats what everyone is hoping. But you can never predict the Big Bad Intel 😉
For more info and technical commentry head to Anandtech