AMD Graphics Chip Marketing Approach Not Compatible with Gainward’s, Palit’s – Report

ATI’s Strategy Does Not Welcome Custom-Built Designs, Report Claims

by Anton Shilov
05/27/2009 | 03:16 PM

There are reasons for Palit Microsystems and its Gainward subsidiary to drop ATI Radeon graphics processors from Advanced Micro Devices’ ATI business unit: a media report claims that the developer does not really welcome, and sometimes prohibits, its customers to create own designs of graphics cards.


Palit Microsystems and Gainward want to address the high-end market with their own graphics cards and in order to do that, they want to create their own print-circuit boards (PCBs) for all of their products and introduce factory-overclocked graphics adapters along with every new graphics processing unit (GPU), reports Bright Sight of News web-site. The strategy does involve heavily tweaked graphics cards with extreme clock-speeds as well as boards with frequencies recommended by developers of graphics chips, however, the key is to have a product with moderately better performance compared to other makers when a new GPU is released.

Nowadays both ATI and Nvidia Corp. supervise production of high-end graphics accelerators at contract manufacturers to ensure high-quality and then sell already made graphics cards to their partners among branded suppliers of graphics boards. Such approach in many cases excludes availability of manufacturer-overclocked graphics cards at the launch date.

Gainward last year released ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card with GDDR5 memory, a type of memory that ATI recommended to install only on the model HD 4870 at the time. Since faster memory type essentially erased performance boundaries between the HD 4850 and more expensive HD 4870, other graphics cards suppliers and ATI were so upset that the latter has not allocated any ATI Radeon HD 4770 and HD 4890 chips for Gainward and Palit.

The position of ATI/AMD is understandable: the developer of graphics processors is not interested in creating demand for products by only one maker since this causes products by other vendors to stall in the channel, as a consequence, those companies do not make new purchases and AMD’s sales naturally suffer.

It should be taken into account that custom graphics cards are truly popular among end-users since they offer either extended performance or lower cost compared to reference designs. About a decade ago 3dfx and ATI Technologies concentrated on building their graphics cards themselves only (or at least sold those chips only to select partners), whereas Nvidia allowed massive amount of graphics cards manufacturers to make and sell products powered by its Riva TNT and GeForce chips. The success of such approach became obvious when Nvidia acquired 3dfx that went bankrupt in late 2000.

ATI/AMD Gainward and Palit did not comment on the relationship between them.