AMD to Partners: Produce your Own-Designed High-End products

ATI, a division of AMD that develops graphics processing units (GPUs) and core-logic sets, is expected to allow graphics boards makers to design and produce certain high-end graphics boards on their own manufacturing facilities. The move is likely to make AMD's graphics chips more popular among manufacturers and consequently end-users.

For several years now both ATI Technologies and Nvidia Corp. did not sell chips for high-end boards to its partners, but supplied graphics cards already made under GPU developer's supervision by a contract manufacturer. While such business model ensures that end-users get quality high-end graphics adapters, this reduces choice and competitive advantages add-in card manufactures may offer to their customers. According to a news-story by HKEPC web-site, AMD has decided to allow manufacturers of graphics boards to produce Radeon X1950 XT graphics cards using their own design and manufacturing capacities. The Radeon X1950 XTX boards will still be made under supervision of ATI.

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News source: Xbit Labs

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Quote - ANova said @ #1.1
Negative. It will only cause more problems.

It won't be that bad. Custom midrange cards produced by manufacturers have often performed better than the reference designs. Now they'll be able to push the high-end a little further as well.

I agree, this is compromising brand quality and credibility. Yay for outsourcing, great for business not so great for consumers.

Quote - GOJI_GKing2000 said @ #2.1
Yay for outsourcing, great for business not so great for consumers.

thats an over-generalization. it all depends on what company the work is being outsourced to. yeah you'll get some crap work from some places. but take south korea for example: korean workers arent as demanding as american workers, yet they produce just as good if not a better product.

Quote - GOJI_GKing2000 said @ #2.1
I agree, this is compromising brand quality and credibility. Yay for outsourcing, great for business not so great for consumers.

The problem though is that with the high-end parts, there is almost zero product differentiation. AFAICT, the only difference between 8800GTX cards right now is the picture on the heatsink and box, what shovelware comes in the box, and what sort of warranty they offer. As a result, if I wanted an 8800GTX, I'd be very predisposed to buying on price.

With lower-end cards, you see a lot more variety. When I bought a 7600GS, several companies offered essentially identical 7600GS cards-- 400/800 clock, large flat black heatsink, or 400/800 clock, small fan. Gigabyte differentiated their product, with a 450/800 clock and a heatpipe-based cooler-- and won my purchase-- even though cheaper cards existed.

Other possibly interesting markets include low-profile cards for the HTPC market, cards with different combinations of outputs than 2xDVI and a TV-out (maybe even semi-custom small-market cards that drive unusual fixed-frequency monitors), cards with factory-installed watercooling or waterblocks, custom, many-slot coolers (if you can sacrifice 3 slots, you can probably do a lot better than if you can only occupy one), externally-powered cards (honestly, I doubt even my decent-brand 500w PSU would be thrilled if I plunked a 8800 in, let alone two), cards with the chips on the back so they can take a draft from the case exhaust, or custom multi-GPU solutions (I'd like to see a card with a seperate low-end GPU on board and leaving the high-end heat-belcher powered completely off when at the desktop)

It all depends on if they continue to make their own drivers... the hardware might change, but ATI must keep a commitment to catalyst driver support.

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