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LG Kills Hybrid HD/BR with BD199 Blu-ray player

It had been reported in March the LG Electronics had shelved plans to release its BD199 Blu-ray player. Instead the company considered working on a hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD player to cover both sides of the field. Well, it looks as though LG is now falling back to supporting just the Blu-ray disc standard. While it appears that LG won't be resurrecting the BD199 for a quick release, the company will make an announcement later this year as to its future Blu-ray product plans.

Late last year, LG Electronics claimed the company would sit in the Blu-ray-only camp. Although LGE is not as popular as some of the other Japanese brands in the US, in Asia and Europe LGE remains one of the largest electronics brands. Now with LGE firmly back in Blu-ray territory, many analysts are already starting to adjust their high-definition outlooks.

There were also previous rumors that Samsung would release a hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD player, but company representatives shot down that notion rather quickly. Ricoh, on the other hand, has already announced a set top hybrid player that is scheduled to hit store shelves before the end of next year. And to add another twist to the whole hybrid craze, Toshiba has been pushing for a unified disc standard which combines the best of Blu-ray and Bluetooth instead of complex hybrid players.

Source: dailytech


Intel: desktop processor timeline in 25 years

1971: 4004 Microprocessor
The 4004 was Intel's first microprocessor. Intel began development of the first microprocessor in 1969 as part of a project for Japanese calculator manufacturer Busicom to develop a set of chips for a family of programmable calculators. This breakthrough invention powered the Busicom calculator and paved the way for embedding intelligence in inanimate objects as well as the personal computer.

Originally, Busicom owned the rights to the microprocessor having paid Intel $60,000. Realizing the potential for the “brain” chip, Intel offered to return the $60,000 in exchange for the rights to the microprocessor design. Busicom agreed and Intel introduced the 4004 (right) to the worldwide market on November 15, 1971. The 4004 sold for $200 each. The 4004 processors contain 2,300 transistors.

1972: 8008 Microprocessor
The 8008 was twice as powerful as the 4004. A 1974 article in Radio Electronics referred to a device called the Mark-8 which used the 8008. The Mark-8 is known as one of the first computers for the home --one that by today's standards was difficult to build, maintain and operate. The 8008 processors contain 3,500 transistors.

1974: 8080 Microprocessor
The 8080 became the brains of the first personal computer--the Altair, allegedly named for a destination of the Starship Enterprise from the Star Trek television show. Computer hobbyists could purchase a kit for the Altair for $395. Within months, it sold tens of thousands, creating the first PC back orders in history. The 8080 processors contain 6,000 transistors.

1978: 8086-8088 Microprocessor
A pivotal sale to IBM's new personal computer division made the 8088 the brains of IBM's new hit product--the IBM PC. The 8088's success propelled Intel into the ranks of the Fortune 500, and Fortune magazine named the company one of the "Business Triumphs of the Seventies." The 8086-8088 processors contain 29,000 transistors.

1982: 286 Microprocessor
The 286, also known as the 80286, was the first Intel processor that could run all the software written for its predecessor. This software compatibility remains a hallmark of Intel's family of microprocessors. Within 6 years of it release, there were an estimated 15 million 286-based personal computers installed around the world. The 286 processors contain 134,000 transistors.

1985: Intel 386 Microprocessor
The Intel 386��microprocessor featured 275,000 transistors--more than 100 times as many as the original 4004. It was a 32-bit chip and was "multi tasking," meaning it could run multiple programs at the same time. The 386 processors contain 275,000 transistors.

1989: Intel 486 DX CPU Microprocessor
The 486��processor generation really meant you go from a command-level computer into point-and-click computing. "I could have a color computer for the first time and do desktop publishing at a significant speed," recalls technology historian David K. Allison of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The Intel 486��processor was the first to offer a built-in math coprocessor, which speeds up computing because it offloads complex math functions from the central processor. The 486 processors contain 1.2 million transistors.

1993: Pentium® Processor
The Pentium® processor allowed computers to more easily incorporate "real world" data such as speech, sound, handwriting and photographic images. The name Pentium®, mentioned in the comics and on television talk shows, became a household word soon after introduction. The Pentium processors contain 3.1 million transistors.

1997: Pentium® II Processor
The 7.5 million-transistor Pentium® II processor incorporates Intel MMX��technology, which is designed specifically to process video, audio and graphics data efficiently. It was introduced in innovative Single Edge Contact (S.E.C) Cartridge that also incorporated a high-speed cache memory chip. With this chip, PC users can capture, edit and share digital photos with friends and family via the Internet; edit and add text, music or between-scene transitions to home movies; and, with a video phone, send video over standard phone lines and the Internet. The Pentium II processors contain 7.5 million transistors.

1999: Pentium® III Processor
The Pentium® III processor features 70 new instructions--Internet Streaming SIMD extensions-- that dramatically enhance the performance of advanced imaging, 3-D, streaming audio, video and speech recognition applications. It was designed to significantly enhance Internet experiences, allowing users to do such things as browse through realistic online museums and stores and download high-quality video. The processor was introduced using 0.25-micron technology. The Pentium III processors contain 9.5 million transistors.

2000: Pentium® 4 Processor
Users of Pentium® 4 processor-based PCs can create professional-quality movies; deliver TV-like video via the Internet; communicate with real-time video and voice; render 3D graphics in real time; quickly encode music for MP3 players; and simultaneously run several multimedia applications while connected to the Internet. The processor debuted with 42 million transistors and circuit lines of 0.18 microns. Intel's first microprocessor, the 4004, ran at 108 kilohertz (108,000 hertz), compared to the Pentium® 4 processor's initial speed of 1.5 gigahertz (1.5 billion hertz). If automobile speed had increased similarly over the same period, you could now drive from San Francisco to New York in about 13 seconds. Pentium 4 Processor hits 2 GHz milestone in August 2001. The Pentium 4 processors contain 42 million transistors.

2002: Pentium 4 Processor with Hyper-Threading Technology
Intel introduces its innovative Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology for the new Intel® Pentium® 4 processor at 3.06 GHz. HT Technology enables a new class of high-performance desktop PCs that can work quickly among several computing applications at the same time, or provide extra performance for individual software programs that are multithreaded. HT Technology can boost PC performance by up to 25 percent. In addition to bringing HT Technology to desktop PC users, Intel reached a PC milestone in launching the Pentium 4 processor at 3.06 GHz. This is the first commercial microprocessor to operate at 3 billion cycles-per-second and is made possible by using the industry's most advanced 0.13-micron manufacturing technology.
Intel Pentium 4 Processor with Hyper-Threading technology introduced at 3.2 GHz in 2003.

2005: Pentium D Processor
Intel® Pentium® D processor with two processing cores – or “brains” – is introduced along with the Intel® 945 Express Chipset family with support for such consumer electronics-like features as surround-sound audio, high-definition video and enhanced graphics capabilities.

2006: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
Features Intel Core micro architecture, Core 2 Duo/Extreme is the product name of Conroe. The new processors provide as much as a 40% increase in performance and are 40 percent more energy efficient versus the best Intel® Pentium® processor (E6700 2.6GHz to Intel Pentium D 960 3.6GHz). The Core 2 Duo processors contain 291 million transistors.

Source: HKEPC

Toshiba RD-A1 HD-DVD recorder at last goes on sale!

After running into glitches the Toshiba RD-A1 finally the world's first HD-DVD recorder goes on sale today in Japan. It can record on single and dual layer HD DVD-R discs, DVD-RAM/R/W discs. It has 1 terabyte of storage space for recording all the HD content.

Currently Toshiba is offering three blank HD-DVD-R discs with the recorder which retails for 398,000 Yen ($ 3462).

For the sale Toshiba has made a special booth on the 1st floor of Yodobashi Akiba located in Japan's electronic mecca Akihabara.

HD-DVD media and movies for sale.



Samsung shows 4 GB SSD Flash for Vista. Ready to replace HDDs!

Samsung announced that a 4GB solid state disk (SSD), now being readied for production, will also serve as a high speed NAND flash cache for notebooks and PCs.

The device - compatible with Windows ReadyBoost, a new Windows Vista feature that uses flash memory to improve system responsiveness - enables users to experience a faster transfer rate from frequently used applications. The Windows ReadyBoost feature of the Windows Vista operating system will intelligently populate the SSD with the data a user needs before they ask for it. When a user requests that data, rather than being limited to servicing 100-200 requests per second (as with a traditional HDD), Samsung's SSD can service up to 5000 request per second, virtually eliminating data seek delays.

"By caching Hard Drive data using Samsung's flash SSD and the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, a typical user will see performance gains that will make working with their PC lightning fast," said Don Barnetson, Director, Flash Marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

Samsung Solid State Disk is designed in 2.5 inch, and working at 5V. With IDE, it supports ATA5 Ultra speed with DMA Mode 4 66MHz. By the automatic compression of ReadyBoost, data stored in Solid State Disk actually may as high as 8GB.

Source :


Full ATI TimeLine 1984-2006

• ATI was founded in 1984 by K.Y. (Kwok Yuen) Ho, Benny Lau and Lee Lau. All recent immigrants to Canada, KY had been a successful businessman in Hong Kong, most recently managing an electronics manufacturing business. Benny and Lee Lau were graduates of the University of Toronto who already had one successful PC business under their belts, having previously founded Comway. . The company was founded using a combination of their own savings and money from close friends and associates. One of the company’s first products enhanced the PC of the time by adding extra memory, a clock and parallel and serial ports.
• Array Technology Inc. was incorporated as a private company on 20 August 1985. The original name was subsequently changed to Array Technologies Inc. and then to ATI Technologies Inc. The ‘Array’ refers to “gate arrays”, an early way of manufacturing custom integrated circuits. Although ATI has long since replaced gate arrays by the more capable ASICs (discussed below), the name lives on in ATI’s canteen, “Chez Array” located in the
Markham headquarters.

ATI’s financial year still runs from 1 September to 31 August.
• ATI used ASIC technology to develop its first graphic controller and introduced its first graphics board, the Graphics Solution “Small Wonder”. It’s hard to imagine today, but in 1985 a specific board was required to interface with each type of PC monitor. The Graphics Solution was a breakthrough in compatibility and supported all standards and monitors and systems on the market at the time.

ASICs – application-specific integrated circuits – are a more highly customizable and higher performance approach to bespoke integrated circuits and are the approach ATI still takes today. Whereas gate arrays enabled circuits comprising a few thousand gates, ATI’s current high-end ASICs count them in the tens of millions.
• ATI had six staff when it was incorporated. The secretary, receptionist and shipping department were the same person. Today, the company employees 3,700 people worldwide, of which around 2,200 are based in Canada.

• ATI secured its first customer, Commodore Computers, with an order of 7,000 chips a week.
• ATI reported $10 million in revenue in its first full year of operations.
• 1986 saw the first color PCs appear on the market. However, there was no standardization and little agreement on how they should communicate with their monitors. It would seem reasonable to expect an application written for a color system to work fine on a monochrome system, with the colors appearing as shades. However, the lack of standardisation meant that they would not work at all. The reverse was also true – a monochrome application was exactly that – and would not function with a color monitor. This severely dented one of the advantages the PC held over its mainframe rivals – its versatility. ATI spotted the opportunity and released the VIP, a card that worked with every graphics interface, software and monitor on the market. As well as solving the incompatibility problem, it also provided faster graphics than was possible on conventional personal computers. ATI announced VIP (VGA Improved Performance) that combined EGA and VGA display support on the ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus.

Anticipating and driving platform trends and standards has been a core strength of ATI and key to the company’s success throughout its history.
• EGA, “enhanced graphics adapter” was the current graphics standard as defined by IBM (this was in the days when all PCs were IBM PCs). EGA was defined as up to 16 colors at a resolution of 640x350. The EGA Wonder™ improved on the IBM standard. ATI engineers were able to find a novel use of interlacing to support resolutions up to 640x350 with four colors on displays that were only designed for 640x200. The EGA Wonder 800 went further, to 800x600. Today, there are cellphones (with ATI graphics) that exceed this. Current PC resolutions top out at around 2048x1600, with over 16 billion colors.
• ATI was elected to the Video Electronics Standards Association and assisted in the establishment of industry-wide interface standards designed for the PC, workstation, and other computing environments
• ATI announced a follow up to the highly successful EGA Wonder, the VGA Wonder (VGA stood for “video graphics array”). The VGA Wonder was a full 16-bit VGA graphics card with a port for a two-button mouse. Mouse connectivity was provided since most serial ports were already in use. ATI provided computer users with exceptional full color performance while
enabling additional mouse features for new software applications and the emerging Microsoft Windows operating system.
• To broaden its product offerings in the growing personal computer market, ATI released the 2400 ETC fax modem. ATI went on to release several generations of modems before focusing on graphics. Ironically, ATI recently re-entered the modem business from a completely different angle – the most advanced digital televisions must communicate with the network,
and ATI is incorporating the relevant technology in its DTV chipsets.
• ATI introduced the first 8514/A compatible 2D graphics accelerator – the Mach 8 graphics accelerator (8514/A was another IBM graphics standard). It was designed to accelerate Microsoft Windows and provide smoother and faster word-processing and graphics performance. The ATI Mach 8 won industry awards for innovation and design signifying the arrival of the graphics card business as a bona fide industry. The card included innovative features such as scalable grey scale fonts which smoothed out the rough edges of early digital typefaces.

The adoption of 2D cards in the early nineties is likely to be echoed in the adoption of 3D cards today, as the industry undergoes a similar transition. Just as the adoption of Windows increased the need for 2D acceleration over and above that built into the standard PC, the introduction of Windows Vista (codename Longhorn) in 2006 will generate a need for 3D accelerators. Gamers have always required the latest graphics hardware, but the transitions from (text-based) DOS to Windows and now from Windows to Windows Vista make hardware accelerators necessary for regular PC users.

• ATI continued to diversify its product strategy with the introduction of the VGA Stereo F/X add-in sound and graphics card. The product combined a CD-ROM drive interface and ATI graphics accelerator card to enable true 4 computer multimedia capabilities without using extra valuable slots. CDROM drives are standard today (in fact, they are gradually being phased
out in favour of DVD and dual-layer DVD drives). However, being able to add what was considered high-end multimedia functionality in just one precious expansion slot was a significant innovation. ATI has continued to push the functionality of its add-in boards, as currently exemplified by the award winning All-In-Wonder series of TV/graphics cards.
• ATI released mach 32™, an SVGA (“Super VGA”) graphics controller and 32-bit “true color” graphics accelerator. The components were integrated into one chip to reduce manufacturing costs and price to the consumer.

• ATI released the first VLB (VESA Local Bus) products and, after that, PCI (peripheral component interconnect) bus products. A “bus” is a standard way for components inside a PC – including add-in cards - to communicate with each other and the PC proper. Many PC buses existed at the time including 8- and 16-bit ISA, IBM Microchannel, EISA, and VLB to name a
few. ATI enabled high quality video in a low cost marketplace by providing chips that supported all these standards internally. ATI even produced boards with multiple bus connections to reduce the number of products..
• ATI established ATI GmbH in Munich, Germany as the company began to
extend its footprint overseas.
• ATI and Intel unveiled the shared frame buffer interconnect (SFBI) specification that defined a method for combining full-motion video, graphics and other multimedia functionality into a single, integrated multimedia subsystem. This development was essential to the eventual
introduction of future products like the All-In-Wonder.

• ATI introduced the ATI-68890, the first PC TV video decoder chip. It included an SFBI interface. This was the first step in a march that led directly to today’s Theater 550. Twelve years on, PC/TV convergence is a familiar phrase, but not so in 1993. The ATI-68890 marked the beginning of ATI’s leadership in TV on the PC.

• ATI introduced the first graphics card to feature Multimedia Video Acceleration (MVA) – the Graphics Ultra Pro VLB high-performance VESA local bus card. This new solution accelerated video image scaling for better video playback in Windows. This was the first successful consumer card that accelerated video playback by adding hardware inside the main graphics chip.
• ATI made its initial public offering, and raised C$100 million on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE now TSX), trading symbol: ATY. ATI later also listed on NASDAQ (1996).

• ATI announced the first product to combine full-motion video and highperformance graphics on a single card -- VIDEO WONDER

• ATI shipped the industry’s first video graphics card for the PCI bus interface. The PCI bus provided local connection for other buses, such as ISA, EISA, or VMEbus; I/O expansion; and eliminated the need for motherboard redesign with each processor revision. Eventually, graphics technology overtook the capabilities of the PCI bus (although it remained useful for other components), and it was replaced by AGP (Advanced Graphics Port). AGP expanded through three new flavours (2x, 4x, 8x) before finally (in 2004) being deprecated in favour of the now current PCI Express standard, which is sufficiently versatile to encompass the needs of
graphics cards and less demanding peripherals such as sound or networking cards.

• ATI introduced video capture boards, the VIDEO BASIC and VIDEO-IT!, that simplified the capture of high-quality, full-motion video for Windows applications.

• ATI introduced the first graphics boards, based on the Mach64 chip, to accelerate full-motion video with hardware bitmap zoom and YUV to RGB color-conversion.

• ATI announced the first ever PCI-based graphics card to be supplied to Apple Computer Inc. as an OEM product – the XCLAIM GA graphics accelerator for Apple's PowerPC platform. ATI also became the first graphics company to ship Mac-compatible graphics boards. Today, ATI has around 80% market share at Apple, and ATI products ship in everything from the Mac mini to the PowerMac G5 on the desktop, from the iBook to the PowerBook notebooks, and even in Xserve server products.

• ATI announced an agreement with United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and other joint ventures to build a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Taiwan. This investment allowed ATI to secure its share of worldwide foundry capacity for the future benefit of its customers. Although ATI has since focussed on its core competencies, subcontracting semiconductor manufacturing to others, UMC remains an essential part of ATI’s semiconductor development today.

• ATI became the first in the graphics market to support synchronous memory with the ATI-264CT, an advanced, full-featured 64-bit multimedia accelerator. This product paved the
way for watching high resolution video on the PC.

• ATI became the first to provide an MPEG video card. MPEG THEATRE was a low-cost, plug and play MPEG-1 video playback ISA board. It could be used to upgrade any 386, 486 or Pentium PC.

• ATI released the world’s first consumer 3D chip – 3D Rage. This chip combined 3D features with all the capabilities of ATI's mach 64 2D accelerators in addition to full-screen, full-motion MPEG video playback.

Sales that year exceeded one million chips. Starting a pattern that continues today, ATI quickly followed it with a version optimized for notebook computers.

• ATI collaborated with Intel on the Accelerated Graphics Port architecture that was designed for low-cost, more effective implementation 3D graphics performance in PCs.

• ATI announced the first gaming and multimedia tuner for Macs -- XCLAIM VR.

• As an industry first, ATI announced the first product that let home computers be connected with conventional large-screen TV, ImpacTV.

• ATI introduced the first graphics accelerator board to deliver both powerful 3D acceleration and a TV-out capability, the 3D XPRESSION + PC2TV.

• ATI improved DVD playback performance on PCs at higher resolutions with the 3D RAGE™ II+ DVD chip, the first graphics accelerator with motion compensation DVD software.

• ATI became the first graphics company to release products (3D Rage Pro) with full support for the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP 2X)

• ATI acquired Tseng Lab’s graphics assets, including 40 engineers. This acquisition enabled ATI to increase its output of new graphics chips. Concurrent team development allowed the company to deliver more solutions in a shorter period of time.

• ATI became the first graphics company to ship a combination graphics and TV tuner card, enabling users to receive and capture analog TV signals – All-In-Wonder. This family has won dozens of awards, and is still in production today, making it one of the PC industry’s longest running and most successful products.

• ATI was the first company to introduce a complete set-top box referencedesign -- Set-top-Wonder CE. The Windows CE-powered set-top box featured ATI's latest 2D, 3D and video acceleration and PC to TV convergence technology by combining key high performance entertainment functions at a low cost.

• ATI announced the Rage Theater, the industry’s first video in/video out chip. It greatly reduced the board area and cost of multimedia products, by including an SPDIF output for high quality audio output from PC DVD playback. The chip was designed to deliver high-quality, cost-effective video decoding and encoding capabilities for set-tops and multimedia PCs.

• ATI surpassed $1 billion in revenue.

• ATI shipped its 10 millionth AGP chip

• ATI acquired Chromatic Research Inc. to develop system-on-a-chip (SOC) products for numerous multimedia applications including set-top boxes as well as other consumer electronic devices. This acquisition paved the way for the development of ATI’s Xilleon chip, an SOC device for digital TVs.

• K.Y. Ho, ATI President & CEO, was selected as Canada's Entrepreneur of the Year by Canadian Business magazine

• ATI began trading on NASDAQ and affirmed the status of the company among major high-technology firms. ATI would later join the elite group that make the NASDAQ -100 in 2003. ATI is one of only two Canadian firms in the NASDAQ-100; the other is RIM.

• K.Y. Ho, ATI President & CEO, was selected as one of the top 25 business leaders in the world by Business Week Magazine

• By 1999 ATI had shipped over 2 million boards with TV tuners, including the Video It, Video Basic, ATI-TV, and the All-In-Wonder, making it a leader in the PC TV segment..

• ATI completed its acquisition of ArtX, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, a leading developer of high-performance graphics for both PCs and consumer appliances (ArtX was already developing the “Flipper” chip for the Nintendo Gamecube). The acquisition moved ATI into the consumer electronics market, adding key technologies for consumer devices. ATI’s current CEO, Dave Orton, was ArtX’s President at the time, and joined ATI as President and COO.

• ATI launched RADEON as the world’s powerful and feature-packed graphics processor. This new chip marked ATI's entry and market leadership in the high-end gaming and 3D workstation segments.

• ATI acquired workstation graphics processor pioneer FireGL Graphics, formalizing its entry into the high-performance workstation graphics segment of the PC graphics industry

• In 2001, ATI changed its desktop business model, shifting its emphasis from selling boards to selling the chips to board manufacturers. This increased margins and reduced exposure to risks such as memory inventory – each board required a significant amount of memory, and DRAM prices are famously unpredictable.

• ATI acquired Hydravision desktop management software application from Appian Graphics. The Hydravision application provides users with an interface for simplified management of multiple displays. It is now possible to drive up to five displays from one PC equipped with an ATI motherboard and two ATI 3D cards. Users who want multimonitor more than they want 3D gaming can now use Hydravision with ATI’s FireMV products (see 2004).

• ATI unveiled Nintendo Gamecube technology at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and officially entered the game console graphics market.

• ATI introduced Xilleon 220 as the world's most highly integrated system-onchip for set-top-box, digital TV and consumer products manufacturers for a variety of uses around the world. It would become a cornerstone product of ATI’s Digital Television business unit.

• ATI Technologies Inc. was elevated to permanent membership in OpenGL standards board, reaffirming ATI’s status in the computer graphics industry.

• ATI entered the handset market with the Imageon 100 -- an advanced display co-processor for PDAs and Smart Phones. This product led to design wins with major handset manufacturers. It illustrates one of ATI’s core skills – anticipating and acting on industry trends. Cameras on
cellphones (a typical Imageon application) were almost non-existent at the time but ATI chose to invest in the technology anyway, perceiving a growing market. Today, ATI sells around ten million Imageon chips a quarter.

• ATI acquired NxtWave Communications, giving ATI the digital reception television technology to provide complete solutions for PC and TV customers. ATI is now the world’s largest provider of silicon for integrated digital televisions.

• ATI introduced the Radeon 9700, the world’s first DirectX 9 graphics chip. DirectX 9, a standard introduced by Microsoft, was the most radical advance in graphics in over ten years, and required full floating-point support. ATI actually had the Radeon 9700 in stores three months before Microsoft was ready with DirectX 9. The 9700 and its derivatives led to massive market share gains for ATI.

• ATI announced the world's first mobile graphics solution with programmable pixel shaders – Mobility Radeon 9000. This mobile part would lead to many design wins with leading notebook manufacturers.

• ATI announced agreements with both Microsoft and Nintendo to develop graphics solutions for future game consoles. The announcements were worded cryptically to satisfy the need for secrecy in this fiercely competitive market. However, it was later possible for ATI to reveal that they were for as the graphics chips for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Revolution game consoles.

• ATI acquired its APAC distributor to give it greater customer reach into the Asian markets.

• ATI demonstrated the world’s first graphics processor to incorporate a PCI Express (PCIe) interface, the current PC interconnect standard, at the Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in San Jose. Once again, ATI anticipated correctly the needs of its customers as they approached the transition to PCIe (from PCI/AGP), this time with the result that the company won virtually all the PC desktop and notebook business from OEMs in this product cycle.

• ATI was added to the NASDAQ-100 Index. ATI stock was also included in the NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (Amex: QQQ).

• ATI became the first company in any industry to launch high-volume products using the 0.13um low-k semiconductor production process. On this occasion, anticipating a technology shift allowed ATI to improve performance by 15% without increasing power consumption, a development that proved particularly attractive to notebook manufacturers. At its peak, ATI was consuming the vast majority of the industry’s capacity for manufacturing 0.13um low-k devices.

• ATI announced the first 3D gaming chips for cell phones -- Imageon 2300 that enabled game developers to create visually rich 3D gaming experiences. The first product using this device was launched by LG in early 2005.

• ATI leveraged its low-k expertise to introduce a high-performance graphics solution for notebook PCs – the Mobility Radeon 9700. This was the first notebook chip that gave desktop-like performance to users on the go.

• Dave Orton became ATI’s new CEO.

• ATI announced the the industry's first mobile PCI Express graphics processor -- Mobility Radeon X600. ATI's mobile PCI Express solutions are employed by more than 16 of the industry's leading OEM and ODM designers including, Acer, Arima, ASUS, Clevo, ECS, eMachines, FIC, Gateway, HP, Inventec, LG, Mitac, Samsung, Quanta, Uniwill and Wistron.

• ATI announced the world's first PCI Express multimedia video card -- All-In- Wonder X600 Pro. Powered by the Radeon X600 graphics chip, the video card was designed for home theater, video editing and gaming enthusiasts.

• ATI shipped more than 5 million chips for HDTVs and set-top boxes. As of the most recent statistics, ATI estimates that it has 85 percent market share for Theater and NXT demodulators and a 40 percent market share for Xilleon MPEG decoders and display processors. Together, the front and back ends represent almost all the intelligent (non-commoditized) silicon in an HDTV.

• ATI introduced its FireMV range of products, cards designed not for 3D gaming but 2D performance with multimonitor setups, such as those required by traders. Configurations up to four quad FireMV cards have been tested (so driving 16 monitors simultaneously) but more are
theoretically possible. This represents a major new market opportunity for ATI, and leverages investment made in other parts of the business.

• Mercury Research declared ATI to be the world's largest discrete graphics supplier in 2004.

• ATI acquired cable modem silicon intellectual property and staff from Terayon Communication Systems, Inc. This acquisition allowed ATI to develop more competitive feature-rich solutions for the DTV marketplace.

• ATI announced 1 million Radeon XPRESS chipsets shipped to desktop PC, notebook and motherboard manufacturers around the world. ATI’s chipset business continues to grow extremely rapidly and is an area of great promise for the company.

ATI started twenty years ago as a graphics company and, twenty years later remains committed to that goal – to give users the best possible visual experience. The number of platforms has increased in the intervening two decades. And ATI has taken its core graphics competency and leveraged its experience to move into the markets that those new platforms represent:

• Cellphone
ATI developed skills and technologies to reduce power consumption for notebook graphics. These have proved invaluable as ATI aggressively entered the cellphone market. The current state of the art cellphone graphics chip (ATI’s Imageon 2300) consumes about 75mW, peak. In
contrast, state of the art desktop parts consume roughly one thousand times as much power.

ATI built its TV experience and knowledge base through TV-on-the-PC products. It has used them to become the largest supplier of HDTV silicon technologies. This is a market that is set to grow explosively over the next couple of years. About $5m was spent on digital TVs in 2004, out of a market of around $30m. But the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all TVs sold in the US by the end of 2007 must be digital ready, requiring the market, by law, to grow at least six fold.

• Game console ATI has long been a performance leader in PC graphics and this has attracted the attention of the console vendors. No details of Nintendo’s next generation console are yet available, but it’s clear from the technology ATI has developed for the Xbox 360 that it expects to be a leader for some time to come.


TOP-performance card based on R580 - Radeon X1950XTX! Photo of the day: ATi Radeon X1950XTX Final Sample

Great job done by folks from HKEPC. They published final sample photo of the newest TOP-performance card based on R580 - Radeon X1950XTX!

Driven by ATi R580+, ATi Radeon X1950XTX is the next trump card from ATi. Its model code and PCB version are 215BAABKA31FG and 102-A91501-00 respectively. Same as R580, it has 16 Pixel Shader pinelines, 48 Pixel Shader processors, and 8 Vertex Shader engine. Features at GDDR4 memory, it’s equipped with 512MB 2GHz DDR. Sources indicated that ATi Radeon X1950 Crossfire is releasing on the same date with XTX version. Similar to the XTX version, the PCB version of the CrossFire version is 102-A98801-00. Both of them are available in late Aug. the final version of ATi Radeon X1950XTX is shown as below, the design of heat sink is a little bit different from those widely spread previously.

Radeon X1950XTX is the replacement of the old king, Radeon X1900XTX, and targeted on nVidia Geforce 7900GTX 512MB. The price of the CrossFire version the same as XTX and is set at $399 to $499.

Source: HKEPC

ATI reinforcement: X1650 against G73

Since nVidia released Geforce 7600 family (G73) in match, its corresponding rival Radeon X1600 was facing a strong enemy with lower cost and better performance, forcing ATi to recall a weakened R520 version Radeon X1800GTO (R520LE) for the level. In long term, ATi is going to release new Radeon X1650 family.

Radeon X1650 is composed by RV560, RV530 and RV535 chipset, where RV560 is correspond to the top model 1650XT. They are manufactured by TSMC with 80nm process, featured 8 Pixel Shader Pipelines, 24 Pixel Shader Processors (12 for RV530), 128Bit memory controller with 1.4GHz DDR support, 600MHz clock speed and build-in Compositing CrossFire Engine. It is no more master/salve card for CrossFire. Expected to be available in October, its price is set between $149 and $199.

After the launch of Radeon X1650XT, source hinted that Radeon X1600XT and Radeon X1600Pro would be renamed as Radeon X1650Pro and Radeon X1300XT with no any change in specification. Besides, the 80nm version of RV530 is available in October, codenamed RV535 and manufactured by TSMC. With a lower cost, ATi would definitely become more compatible. Radeon X1650 Pro is expected in $99 to $119, while Radeon X1300XT is expected in $79 to $99.

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Intel to launch Merom, Conroe on Thursday

Santa Clara (CA) - Intel today confirmed that it will introduce its Core 2 Duo processor will officially launch this Thursday at an event held at the firm's Santa Clara headquarter. Several hundred journalists and analysts are expected to attend the event.

Other than previously expected, Intel will launch the desktop version Core 2 Duo E6000 series ("Conroe") in tandem with the mobile version Dore 2 Duo T7000 series ("Merom"). Internal roadmaps dated from March of this year indicated that Intel had planned an August launch for Merom, with about four weeks of distance to Conroe.


AMD drops desktop processor prices by 47%, not by 51%

While AMD has told journalists over the past year that it does not believe that it will have to react in any way to the launch of Intel's Core 2 Duo processor, the company today informed vendors about a rather dramatic price reduction in anticipation of Intel's new processor later this week. Confirming rumors that spread through the Internet in the past week, AMD cut the tray prices of most of its desktop processors, which the company believes will ensure that Athlon and Sempron processors will remain the best value on the market when Core 2 Duo debuts.

While most Sempron processors and all regular single-core Athlons are now priced well below the critical $100 mark - the Sempron 2800 model sells for $52 - the focus of the price reductions are clearly the socket AM2 products which already determine AMD's desktop product portfolio. A look into the new price list reveals that Intel's Core 2 Duo processor has forced AMD to give up its previous solid standing in the upper-end mainstream market and open up a huge price gap between the high-end FX-62 processor - now priced at $860 - and the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ model, which currently is AMD's fastest mainstream processor and now sells for $312.

Compared to the rumored price drops of the past week, the 7/24/2006 price list, AMD may have made last minute changes and applied a more conservative price reduction model. While the decrease is substantial across the board, the reductions may not be enough to enable AMD to claim an overall price-performance leadership. According to findings published by TG Daily last week and according to a price list we received from Israel today, especially the 4200+, 4600+ and FX-62 models do not achieve this goal. For example, the 4200+ model would have to be priced below $213, but is indicated to sell for $225. The gap widens with the 4600+ version (below $241 required, actual price $290) and may raise eyebrows with the FX-62, which now sells for $860, but would need a price tag below $425 to achieve a price-performance leadership position over Intel's Core 2 Duo processor.

While we have to wait for an official U.S. price list some AMD processors appear to represent a great value, especially the X2 3800+ and X2 5000+ models. It is obvious that AMD will face a dramatic drop in average processor pricing at least over the next two quarters and it remains to be seen, if the new price points will result in enough additional sales to make up for the reductions.



ATI Radeon X1950XTX and X1950 CrossFire Edition

This week ATI sent an advisory out to its OEM partners announcing the details of the new Radeon X1950 and X1900 graphic cards. Both of these new cards are based on the same R580 core, but with some fundamental differences.

R580, the 48 pixel-shader processor version of the R520 (Radeon X1800), was announced this past January. R580 features a robust memory controller capable of utilizing several different types of memory, including GDDR4 which was not even available when the Radeon X1900 was first announced. Since then Hynix and Samsung have both jumped on the GDDR4 train with revenue shipments beginning several weeks ago. The new GDDR4 variants of R580-based Radeons are now called Radeon X1950. Radeon X1950 will retain all of the features of the Radeon X1900, and really only have the added benefit of a new cooler, GDDR4 memory and different frequency clocks.

Radeon X1950 at launch will come in two flavors: a high clock "XTX" version, and a CrossFire version. Both cards feature 512MB GDDR4, and the only major difference between the two is that the CrossFire X1950 houses the composite engine and input interfaces for CrossFire. Just yesterday, ATI issued an advisory to its partners claiming "Clock frequencies for RADEON X1950 family products are pending and will be provided at a later date." However, in March of this year ATI released a new policy for AIB partners to overclock X1000 series cores with some discretion. While we can already confirm some partners are planning 650MHz core versions, there is still a distinct possibility that higher clocked cards are also in the works. Memory clock frequencies have not been announced either, though Samsung announced its GDDR4 is already capable of 3.2GHz in 8x512Mbit configurations.

The new Radeon X1900 is a low-cost version of the existing Radeon X1900 that only uses 256MB of GDDR3, enabling the card access to the $300 price point. The Radeon X1900XT 256MB will use the same clock frequencies as other Radeon X1900XT cards: 625MHz core and 1.45GHz memory.

ATI's advisory documentation claims the Radeon X1950XTX will begin sample availability on August 7, with the CrossFire sampling beginning exactly one week later. Sampling of the Radeon X1900XT 256MB will begin immediately.

Radeon X1900 and X1950 will be replaced by another ASIC core, dubbed R600. R600 is expected to be 80nm with new design features above and beyond the R520 and R580 series.


AMD will acquire ATI for $5.6 bln next week!

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is considering a $5.6-billion (U.S.) takeover bid for ATI Technologies Inc., a leading manufacturer of computer graphics chips, sources say.

ATI stock is rising today on rumours that AMD will make a friendly offer of between $21 and $23 as early as next week.

The board of directors at Sunnyvale, California-based AMD have approved a takeover offer, according to an investment banker familiar with the talks. Other sources in the financial industry said AMD executives have been spotted at ATI's Markham, Ont. head office.

ATI shares are changing hands at $16.12 on the Nasdaq exchange, up 39 cents from yesterday's close, with twice the trading volume typically seen in the stock. At these prices, ATI sports a $4.1-billion market capitalization.

There has been considerable industry speculation that AMD may pursue an acquisition of ATI Technologies, although such an outcome is by no means certain, said a report this week for analyst Eric Gomberg at investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners.

In light of AMD's technology road map, and specifically its Torrenza technology, we believe that such a merger would not be so far fetched.

AMD would make an offer at a 20-to-40-per-cent premium to ATI's current share price, Mr. Gomberg estimated. ATI and arch-rival Nvidia Corp. dominate the market for the chips that run computer games. AMD and its major competitor, Intel, both buy ATI products.

Other industry watchers were less convinced an offer was coming, or that such a union made sense for AMD. One analyst described such a deal as a breathtakingly bad idea from a strategic perspective.

AMD has whipped Intel from one end of the school yard to the other over the last three years and done so without a graphics business of its own. Acquiring a graphics capability would be an expensive distraction and would offer AMD almost no advantage, the analyst said.

ATI has maintained closer ties to Intel over the years than AMD, and that relationship would be troubling for ATI to dismantle.

The closeness of the two means ATI gets an early look at some of the standards and technology that Intel, the world's biggest chip maker, is working on. If AMD acquired ATI, expect Intel to send ATI to the back of the bus, the analyst said.

In addition, Intel has left a lot of the lower-margin business of chipsets to ATI as Intel wrestles with capacity constraints. As a result, integrated chipsets account for about 25 per cent of ATI's revenue today, up from just 10 per cent a year ago.

Intel would likely move to repatriate that business if AMD acquired ATI.

Another messy factor to consider is that Intel and ATI have cross-licensed some of their intellectual property, raising the possibility that some of ATI's technology would end up in a competitor's hand after a deal.

Stupidity is no barrier to tech mergers, the analyst said. �This deal would be out of strategy for AMD and out of focus.

Other people watching the chip sector wonder if AMD is being forced into making an acquisition because it fears Intel may use graphics to lock it out of markets in the future.

If AMD has got a whiff of something that Intel is doing far enough out and now realizes it needs graphics IP to compete, then a deal makes sense, a second analyst said.