Industry Update - Q4-2004: AMD adds SSE3 Support, Intel's 925/915 not selling and moreby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 3, 2004 1:00 AM EST
- Posted in
ATI vs. NVIDIA
Just a couple of years back and a motherboard manufacturer producing both ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards would find themselves kicked off of the nForce2 partner list. These days things are very different, most manufacturers are producing both ATI and NVIDIA cards thanks to around 12 months of NV3x slip-ups. That being said, there are still incentives for a manufacturer to only deal with one of the two companies. For example, ATI is only willing to share a certain amount of information with their partners if the partners in question happen to produce NVIDIA cards as well. If you are ATI-exclusive, then you get more information. Makes sense, right?
Despite having access to more information, there's little I could find out about what's coming next for ATI and NVIDIA. Despite close relations with their partners, ATI and NVIDIA can keep their board vendors in the dark for much longer than Intel can, for example. The reason being that most of the time ATI and NVIDIA simply hand their vendors a reference design, and the vendors do nothing more than duplicate the relatively simple design. In some cases with NVIDIA, the board vendors must purchase both the GPU and the memory from NVIDIA, leaving very little work other than assembly for the board manufacturers to do. Combine that with very short product cycles and you can see why there's not much information floating around.
The big discussion in Taiwan about ATI and NVIDIA is with the current state of PCI Express. Without a doubt, Intel did a wonderful job of convincing all of their partners that the transition and ramp to their 915 and 925X platforms would be extremely aggressive. The reality obviously was completely different, as 2004 has almost come to a close and the only demand that we've seen for the latest PCI Express platforms comes from the OEMs themselves. Intel's efforts are very evident from the most recent product releases we've seen from ATI and NVIDIA; the GeForce 6600GT and X700 XT were both PCI Express-only parts initially, with AGP versions due out in the coming weeks.
The supplies of PCI Express graphics solutions from both ATI and NVIDIA are limited as you've heard over the past several weeks, and unfortunately there were no signs of a fix from the manufacturers in Taiwan. We received varying explanations for the shortages - with everything from low packaging yields to demand miscalculations. There is light at the end of the tunnel and most manufacturers were optimistic that PCI Express graphics supplies should pick up in the new year, until then we can expect sparse availability of the more desirable PCI Express GPUs.
The memory market is pretty unchanged from what you'd expect, the strengths are definitely in DDR sales right now. With poor 915 and 925X sales and no AMD support for DDR2, there are simply not enough platforms out there to drive up DDR2 demand. The only real demand for DDR2 comes from, as you can guess, the OEM platforms.
We would expect better adoption of DDR2 in 2005 as more 915 and 925X platforms make their way into the hands of more and more end users. Towards the end of 2005 Intel will have DDR2-667 support on their platforms, and without AMD here to force an early adoption of DDR2 standards we can expect that Intel's upcoming Glenwood/Lakeport platforms will be the only driving force behind DDR2-667 adoption.
I hope you enjoyed this little update on the industry, if you'd like to see more of these types of articles just let us know - the flight to Taiwan isn't too bad and the information is usually top notch :)