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Micro Star International, a company from the Big Four mainboards manufacturers, may become a yet another partner for ATI Technologies, who has already won numerous contracts with leading graphics cards makers this year.

According to a report from The Inquirer, MSI is likely to announce its partnership with ATI Technologies sometime in mid-January 2004. This should probably be a graphics-related announcement, as MSI already showcased its RADEON 9100 IGP mainboard products earlier this year.

MSI is one of the world’s largest graphics cards and mainboard makers. The company manufactures graphics cards for companies like Dell and Medion and is one of the largest customers of NVIDIA Corporation – the main rival of ATI Technologies. Thanks to success of NVIDIA in late nineties and in 2000 – 2001, MSI managed to increase its production of graphics cards practically tenfold from 1.60 million in 2000 to 11.5 million units in 2002. The company also supplies mainboards for HP and Dell, including platforms based on NVIDIA nForce-series of chipsets to the former.

Making graphics cards based on VPUs from ATI will not be something totally new for MSI. The company already produces such kind of hardware for its partner Medion.

ATI Technologies is continuing to gain momentum in winning contracts with multiply graphics cards producers. However, ATI’s wins do not mean NVIDIA’s losses, as hardware producers usually begin to employ another business approach by acquiring graphics chips from both ATI and NVIDIA. Currently the list of companies who offer both kinds of products includes ASUS, Creative Labs, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, SUMA, Triplex, Gigabyte Technology and a number of others.

In case the report appears to be correct, Powered by ATI products will be available from all companies out of the Big Four – ASUSTeK, MSI, ECS and Gigabyte. Even though Gigabyte Technology is rumored to concentrate on NVIDIA-based graphics cards, the company will not cease the production of RADEON products.

Representatives from ATI declined to comment on the story, but reckoned about RADEON 9100 IGP products by MSI. Officials from Micro Star International did not comment on the news-report.

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