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ATI logo finally gone?

There’s a background buzz in the industry right now that says the ATI brand might not make it past Christmas. For almost 25 years, the graphic card buying public has put ATI on its shortlist. KitGuru wonders, could this be the end?

The world is full of weird paradoxes , surprises and contradictions. Apple PCs have always been famous for graphics and yet they don’t support DirectX or, generally, ship with anything faster than a single, middle of the range graphic card. Intel and graphics are two words that most people don’t readily put together, yet Intel is the biggest supplier of 3D graphics processors in the world. In a world where cinematic gets wheeled out every 18 months to describe the next generation GPU without a hint of irony, should we be taken aback by the loss of a brand like ATI?

When Lau, Lau and Ho got together in 1985 to form Array Technologies Incorporated, they couldn’t have dreamed of the reach their new company would have in just a few short years. By 1991, they had created the Mach8, which was able to process graphics separately from the CPU. How strange that, 20 years later, the world’s biggest manufacturers would be pushing back the other way – spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research the best way to bring GPU and CPU functionality back inside a single product. Make your minds up chaps.

Original ATI logo - from the time when cowboys ruled the Earth

How to merge while keeping your distance
On 24th July 2006 AMD  bought ATI and, with it, all of the names, logos and trademarks. For the past 4 years, AMD has made a sustained effort to keep the ATI and AMD brands as far apart as possible.
Don’t upset Intel.
When nVidia supremo Jen Hsun Huang said “Intel is false” at the nVidia Analysts Day in April 2008, AMD could hardly believe its luck. It hunkered down and did whatever it could to ensure its graphic cards didn’t carry any AMD logos. The strategy worked. Without a proper chipset programme of its own and AMD chipset collaboration no longer making sense, nVidia found Intel more objectionable than it had previously been when it came to supporting SLi on its mainboard chipsets. At the same time, all of those Intel chipsets happily supported ATI CrossFire. The lines had been drawn and a slow movement from one side to the other began.

World War III
While the famous quote says that World War IV will be fought with sticks, there is still some argument about World War III. From where KitGuru is sitting, the start of the next war begins when the ATI brand disappears. The IT world turns on marketing programmes. Intel won’t pay towards adverts with AMD logos and vice versa. As soon as ATI is replaced with AMD, we’ll see a huge polarisation of the brands, with Intel’s Core logos et al on one side and anything resembling AMD or Fusion on the other. Of course, there will still be some graphics-only advertising for nVidia, but without being able to tap into the global CPU or chipset revenues, they’re unlikely to be as prevalent.

Single Brand Logic
Having more than one logo, means that your efforts, money and other resources are split. You don’t have a single point on which to push. The merged company’s challenge has been that, in their respective fields, the ATI logo has more positive associations in graphics than the AMD logo does for processors. Maybe the powers that be have decided that pushing ‘Radeon HD, Radeon HD, Radeon HD’ to the world was enough – and that we’re not going to notice if the preceding letters change from A-TI to A-MD. It’s a wager, but maybe not too much of a risk.

There's always a chance we're completely wrong, but it does seem that AMD brand gurus have decided to lose part of this logo

Saying Goodbye to ATI?
If the rumours are true, then the next set of logos will already have been created and approved. They will be sitting on a private server, inaccessible even to those with a password for AMD’s asset management system, ADAM. While HP kept Compaq around as a way of selling it’s cheapest (nastiest?) laptops to an unsuspecting public, the chances are that the ATI logo won’t be printed on any materials launched after the end of 2010.

KitGuru says: It’s a sad day when a brand ends, but when you consider all those that went before it – including 3Dfx, 3Dlabs, Cirrus Logic, Number Nine, Oak Technology, Rendition, S3, SiS, Trident, Tseng Labs and XGI – then you can see that evolution is the coldest of mistresses.

Leave us your thoughts and feelings publicly below or more privately in the KitGuru Forum.

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  • David

    While this would be the end of a legendary company it really does make sense – there is no need for AMD and ATi when they are owned by the same company. Its massively confusing for people. even the website is a mess.

  • Fred

    I think this is actually long overdue. as much as it is sad in a way.

  • Tim

    It will stop so much confusion. even in reviews ive read people referring to both companies, If reviewers and press are confused then the public dont stand a chance.

    Good little writeup, very interesting to hear.

  • Death Dealer

    Why would they drop ‘radeon graphics’? I can understand them ditching ATI, but why lose the name of the solutions ?

  • Hakuren

    Honestly couldn’t care less. As long as VGAs are good and competitive they can change name to whatever they want. Following that WWIII thought how about for AMD Crusader 6850 or Jihad 6870? ;-D


  • faith

    @DeathDealer: They’re not losing the Radeon part – from what we hear they’re just cutting out the ATI

    @Hakuren: Closer to the launch, maybe we’ll run a competition for ‘the most inappropriate name ever for a graphic card – no swearing please’

    @David: The web site has taken far too long to come together, agreed

  • bitnet

    Dropping ATi makes sense if AMD continues towards it’s push of APUs. Discreet graphics solutions will eventually comprise only a portion of its’ product set, whilst major work is done to integrate GPUs together with the CPU into the APU SoC. It would, in a sense, be on par with Intel’s current strategy. Eventually, only nVidia will be left alone without a CPU/APU and they may have to sell out to Intel if Intel continues to evolve their 3D products to a competitive level.

  • ET

    I agree with bitnet. There are already graphical products branded AMD, in the form of chipset integrated graphics. Soon there will be a lot more powerful graphical solutions. with Fusion, and the division between graphics chips and other products will be even less clear cut. So the distinction between ATI and AMD doesn’t make much sense.

    I’ll still be sorry to see it go, because of all the history, and as pointed out in the article, it could have implications. Still, with AMD making a push to get back into the CPU game, it might make sense to sever the Intel ties.

  • Hassan

    But geeks would still know that AMD graphics comes from Ati, so merger would have little effect infact.

  • Zack

    Changing the name would stink!

    Will now name all Cadillacs to Chevys just because owned by the same people.

    Then will drop the ATI name so we can all CPU/GPU on one chip AMD and pay through the nose upgrading the CPU/GPU at one time every-time because there connected. That really sucks for anyone that builds there own PC or upgrades them.

    I’m a ATI fan and AMD fan so when they bought ATI it was not to bad, they bought ATI for the Brand Name and fan base so why not use it!

    Nvidia fans will be laughing when we have to by a new PC or Laptop ever-year because all are chips and combined in one big mess.

    Not to mention MAC’s that are running ATI cards and INTEL CPUs, oh well make fans back to on-board video.

  • MuadDib

    No, that would be very, very wrong! ATI is a very, very strong brand, perhaps even stronger than AMD itself. Killing such a valuable asset would be the utmost madness on their part.

    That “single brand logic” sounds like complete nonsense. Yes, you do split your resources into 2, but you also “milk” and get your revenues from 2 sources.
    And if you merge them, that is, if you put both things under 1 coat, it may not suit either of the brands in a satisfactory manner..
    The result will be that you will have a unified source, but the total flow from it will probably be significantly smaller.
    There will be additional cost with rebranding, and yet more and more people may get confused and going to the other camp, because they are no longer finding the “right logo” and the “right colour”.
    Also, the demise of a brand could be interpreted as something much more serious, perhaps as the demise of its parent company…

  • Tom

    What a shame to drop the ATI logo since they are still using the ATI’s innovation or ATI’s technology. ATI has been a well respected brand for many years and they are killing the most respected famous brand name of video cards? It sounds like someone is killing the Mercedes Benz brand name. “ATI” goes with “Radeon” since “Radeon” is the graphics technology originally invented by “ATI” (like ATI Radeon Premium Graphics). AMD is a well known CPU company that makes chips and CPU so it does not make sense to replace aggressive lengendary ATI logo with AMD logo.