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At the moment integrated products from ATI Technologies are not very popular firstly because there are very few actual mainboards that are powered by the RADEON IGP core-logic, secondly because these devices cannot offer anything extraordinary in terms of performance and features. Currently ATI succeeds in selling their RADEON IGP320 and 340 on mobile market and is very satisfied with the results. The Markham, Ontario-based graphics solutions developer will also concentrate on distributing mobile solutions in future. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the company does not want to address the market of integrated desktop solutions: according to our sources, next year the world will see a bunch of very powerful and feature-rich chipsets from ATI Technologies.

North Bridges for Intel Pentium 4 Platform

RS250: An updated version of the current RADEON IGP340 with PC2700 DDR SDRAM support that is due in the first quarter 2003. Will also offer 533MHz Quad Pumped Bus, AGP4x and the same I/O capabilities as the predecessor.

RS300: Definitely a more interesting product for hardware enthusiasts than the previous one. It will support the Pentium 4 Northwood and Prescott processors with the Hyper-Threading technology and 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus. Besides, it will allow dual-channel memory configurations using PC2700 or DDR400 modules. What is very important, ATI will incorporate the RV250 (namely RADEON 9000) graphics core in this chip, hence, expect relatively high performance and DirectX 8.1 support from the part. As all the latest core-logic devices, this one will provide AGP 8x. The unit will appear in late Spring with mass-production to start a bit later.

I wonder about the performance of integrated graphics core: 6.4GB/s provided by dual-channel DDR400 is just enough for the CPU, but may not be enough for a powerful graphics core and a CPU; I remind that the original RADEON 9000-based graphics card requires 6.4GB/s peak bandwidth.

RS300VE: Simplified version of the RS300 with only one memory channel.

As you may notice, ATI Technologies prepares really competitive Intel Pentium 4 intended solutions, but do not think that they will fully leave the Athlon 64 market for the Santa Clara-based arch-rival.

North Bridges for AMD Athlon 64 Platform

RS380: AGP 8x-supporting tunnel with integrated RV250 (RADEON 9000) DirectX 8.1 compliant graphics core. ATI will integrate additional 64-bit memory controller in the tunnel and will allow end-users to install a memory module as a frame-buffer.

RX380: An ordinary AGP-8x tunnel without integrated graphics capabilities.

As always, expect ATI’s North Bridges with integrated graphics to provide multi-monitor support.

I/O Controllers

SB300C: ATA-33/66/100/133; Serial ATA-150; 6 USB 2.0 ports; 3Com Ethernet 100Mbit/s; 6-channel audio; advance power management capabilities; A-Link/2.

SB380: 8x8 HyperTransport links; 6 x USB 2.0 ports; 10/100Mb/s Ethernet; PCI 2.3; Audio; etc.

SB210: IXP200/250, but pin-to-pin compatible with SB300.

All the South Bridges are said to appear at the same time with the new North Bridges from ATI.

Of course, is it not going to be easy for ATI to win a significant market share from Intel, SiS or VIA. One thing we should understand is that ATI may experience problems with mass-production of its solutions and thus, fulfilling the orders. Both Intel and SiS have their own semiconductor manufacturing fabs, while ATI is a fabless company. This is only my own point of view that may be false, though. As always, ATI has all the chances, now everything depends on the company itself: drivers, BIOS-es, reference design, ability to fulfil the demand and so on.


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