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A high-ranking executive from Sapphire Technology, the world’s largest supplier of ATI Radeon-based graphics cards, said that eventually ATI’s partners among second-tier graphics cards makers may leave the market as a result of ATI acquisition by Advanced Micro Devices.

“The AMD-ATI deal is excellent as far as Sapphire is concerned. The strong ATI partners will survive and it may well lead to some of the smaller players exiting the market. ATI has 16 partners and probably only needs five,” said Adrian Thompson, vice president of marketing for Sapphire Technologies, in an interview with ITP.net web-site.

Sapphire Technologies’ monthly video board production capacity can reach a lofty 1.8 million units and often topples this landmark figure. So far the company has only produced ATI-based boards, however, its chief executive said that possibility to produce Nvidia-based graphics cards remains.

The consolidation in the markets of mainboards, graphics cards and other computer components has been going for several years now. During the last 12 to 18 months Walton acquired a stake in Chaintech, Abit was bought by USI, Leadtek Research teamed up with Foxconn, Asustek invested into a joint-venture by Gigabyte and several other deals were conducted. For smaller makers it is pretty hard to survive, as bigger companies may have component purchasing cost benefits as well as economy of scale.

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