Interview: ATI's John Bruno

Written by Wil Harris

August 31, 2005 | 09:43

Tags: #azalia #chipsets #crossfire #interview #john-bruno #rd480 #x800 #x850

Companies: #amd #ati #intel

The can't comments

One of the things we were most interested to hear about was what ATI are intending to do with future revisions of the CrossFire motherboard platform, especially with the latest news that ATI is preparing products for AMD's Socket M2.

Is ATI planning to release a Crossfire board with x16 slots and the corresponding extra PCI-Express lanes?

"We have some powerful, feature-rich platform technology in the works that you'll really be excited about. Stay tuned."

How about a hardware firewall?

"There are no plans for a hardware firewall implementation. We don't see a lot of value in it, as there are abundant software solutions that deliver exceptional protection."

What about CrossFire solutions with more than two graphics slots?

"We can't comment on that, but SGI currently has an ATI-powered solution that fits that profile for vertical markets."

And with a stable, fast motherboard chipset now available from them, will we see a strong push into the workstation and power-user markets they've traditionally been a bit weak in?

"You are going to love me for this, but we can't comment on unannounced products."

Bah! Well, worth a go. If we were going to speculate, we'd say that ATI won't be too long before it announced x16 dual graphics slots since NVIDIA already has them. When it comes to multiple graphics slots, it's clear that ATI's architecture is more amenable to this than NVIDIA's. NVIDIA's SLI is built from the ground up, it appears, to support 2 cards.

Load balancing in split-frame rendering becomes too much of an overhead with 3 or more cards, and alternate frame rendering introduces too much lag if done across 3 or more cards. ATI's supertiling mode, however, should allow for a fairly simple, linear scaling in performance, and we wouldn't be surprised if ATI pushed hard to get that out sooner, rather than later, allowing it to take the lead in the dual-graphics war.
Interview: ATI's John Bruno The future

Catering to enthusiasts, and more to come

We mentioned that ATI mainboards haven't previously set the world on fire, but it is clear there's been a big shift in ATI towards creating top-notch, high-end mainboards. How has this come about?

"We've consistently delivered strong platform products, and the evidence is that our market share has enjoyed steady growth since we entered the market in 2002, but we are definitely broadening our target market to include enthusiasts and gamers now. We have strong internal teams that do ASIC design, motherboards, sbios, etc. Once a decision was made to start aggressively targeting the enthusiast market things began happening very quickly. The most exciting things are still to come as clean sheet designs are now being worked on with the enthusiast in mind. This is marked change from the OEM focus that we have had past."

More exciting things to come? Sounds good to us.

"With the next generation of chipsets were are aiming to achieve performance leadership as well as being the preferred supplier for OEM designs. There are some front side bus, memory and graphics bus inflection points in the near future and we are developing new technologies in preparation for their introduction. These will be the driving force behind the next generation of chipsets and ATI has a well established history of improving its position around inflections points like AGP, PCI-Express and DirectX 9."

Inflection points? There are some big ones coming up, as ATI quite rightly point out. One of them is DDR2 for AMD, another is the Pentium-M-on-a-desktop Viiv initiative from Intel, which will mean faster Pentium M chips on a faster bus with better memory. With ATI's strong position in multimedia and Media Center products, expect them to push hard to be at the front of manufacturers providing Viiv certified products.


We are really looking forward to seeing Azalia solutions on AMD, since sound is one area that Intel has been the clear winner on for a long while.

Not only that, we're excited about getting our hands on the first CrossFire products later on in September, and we'll be letting you know how they perform in our rigorous benchmarking tests just as soon as they arrive in our mucky paws.
Discuss this in the forums
YouTube logo
MSI MPG Velox 100R Chassis Review

October 14 2021 | 15:04