When we first heard news that ATI and AMD would be merging back during Computex 2006, things were spinning in the hardware sector. There were talks, rumours and more talk - that went on for months with "it's on" and then "it's off". Finally we saw the truth come out with an official announcement made by AMD and ATI that the merger was indeed going ahead and that some major changes would soon occur.
One of them is the naming of the ATI products; some have continued to keep the ATI logo while others now use the AMD banding. Graphics cards still are known as ATI Radeon series though they do carry the AMD branding. Chipsets for the desktop and mobile sectors are where things now take a turn.
During the AMD down under Christmas party for media and partners, we sat down with both AMD and ATI representatives and asked some questions. One of them was will ATI/AMD produce chipsets for its competitors like Intel. A big resounding "Yes" was given to us and explained. Chipsets for the Intel sector will carry the name ATI and likely carry the Xpress naming that has happened with the previous generation of chips. AMD based chipsets will be given a new naming system based on its Northbridge architecture, for example the Crossfire 3200 for AMD has been renamed to AMD 580X (RS580 Northbridge). It's unclear how much the push towards the Intel sector will be considering the relationship AMD and ATI now have, one thing is clear, AMD chipsets will now be bigger and better than ever before.
Today we are looking at one of the first culminations from ATI/AMD. While some of the older chips have been renamed, today's contender is the first to be made since the merger occurred last year. Named the AMD 690 chipset series, it carries some new features. ECS have kindly sent us the first sample to us ahead of launch at the end of this month. It's based on the AMD 690G chipset and comes with embedded ATI Radeon X1250 graphics with support for all Socket AM2 processors.