AMD Announces New ATI Chipset For Windows Vista

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The 690 series chipset, which comes in two flavors, the G and the V, will provide enhanced support for Windows Vista's high-performance graphics, 3-D capabilities and "Aero" user interface, as well as support for Microsoft's DirectX 9 advanced graphics APIs, the company said.

The chipset also integrates digital display outputs and offers built-in support for DVI for commercial systems and HDMI for consumer systems, the company said. This eliminates the need for separate plug-in cards that are required for DVI devices and high-definition TV support.

The new chipset, which will be available in leading motherboards in March, will be priced just under $20. The current chipset is priced a little over $20, AMD executives said.

AMD has released Vista drivers for its existing chipsets but the new 690 series is optimized for Microsoft's latest version of Windows, which was made available in late January.

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It is one of the first chipsets announced since AMD completed its acquisition of ATI Technologies last October. AMD announced it will offer an integrated graphics chipset and processor on the same piece of silicon in 2009 as part of its Fusion development project.

In the interim, AMD will position its AMD and ATI properties as a platform play for businesses and consumers.

"We are marketing it as a platform. It's not integrated at the silicon level but on motherboards," said Phil Eisler, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Chipset Division. "We're announcing a stepping stone or one phase of getting there by putting it together on a motherboard."

System builders are generally supportive of the new graphics chip and platform play.

"I like AMD's approach to the market, namely, the segmentation between boards that will be feature rich HDMI and DVI and Vista Premium for the consumer and dual-display support on the motherboard," said Joe Toste, a vice president of marketing at Equus Computer Systems. "It appears to me that we will see comparable AMD chipset motherboards that have more features than Intel for $20 to $35 less in the channel. That's substantial."

Another system builder plans to use the chipset to leapfrog name-brand OEMs but declined to be named because of its relationship with Intel.

"We are interested in offering systems using motherboards based on the new ATI chipset besides most of our customers already order systems with integrated graphics," said the system builder. "Systems based on the new ATI chipset will be another advantage that we have against the tier 1 competitors since we as a system integrator and can react to market changes at a quicker pace."