Been wondering where ATI got the chutzpah to beat NVIDIA? This article on the EETimes talks about the acquisition of ArtX by ATI and how it’s worked in ATI’s favor. Not just in technology, but in getting key people in to ATI’s management in time to make changes in things like the R300 (RADEON 9700) graphics core. The article discusses how the R300 core was designed to beat NVIDIA’s offering instead of just providing “good enough” graphics, and how this effort will bring out ATI’s first DX8.1 integrated chipset
ATI is lengthening their product cycle from 18 months to 24 months, citing stagnant PC sales over the last few years. In spite of gaining market share (along with NVIDIA) at the expense of other video chip manufacturers, ATI wants to rein in R&D costs of video chips that are now more complex that the CPU’s on most PC systems. Given the lead ATI has over NVIDIA and that DirectX 9.1/OpenGL 2.0 are likely to be the standard for a while (perhaps till 2005), taking a breather might be a good idea. ATI lost $8.3 million in its last quarter, even though sales were up over the same quarter in 2002. ATI really needs to ramp up chip production since it’s been unable to keep up with demand for it’s high-end cards (as has NVIDIA).
ATI expects to increase its order to TSMC and its secondary foundry partner, UMC, later this year. TSMC currently churns out all of ATI’s 0.13 micron parts like the RADEON 9600. TSMC has said it will begin volume production of 90nm (0.09 micron) parts in July but ATI’s CEO Ho said the company was not considering a move to 90nm until 2004 at the earliest. .
In a recent PC magazine article quoting stats from a research firm, about 9% of the 2002 Internet traffic was due to online gaming, and online subscriptions will bring in an estimated $US 650 million annually in five years. The report states that while free online services will grow, it’ll be the pay-for-play services that will really take off. The report states that by 2005 most consoles will be playing subscription based games. Microsoft’s Xbox Live currently has 350,000 subscribers, up 100,000 from Jan. 1st. each paying an estimated $10/month (though everyone is still running on the $US 50, 1 year introductory fee). And this on a paltry 10 titles with only cable or DSL subscribers. It’ll be interesting to see when PS2 and GameCube start to get bigger numbers. Still, it looks like there’s real money on the table.