Tuesday, July 25, 2006

AMDTI? ATIMD? The Vector and the CPU

I hate to say I told you so, but...

AMD and ATI are now one. It's the talk of the town: AMD has taken over ATI, to make... umm... AMDTI?

The hardware ramifications aren't well known... who knows if this will spawn a new core-logic chipset, a new southbridge, a new means of fabricating ATI/AMD procs, new GPU's and physics accelerators, or just new marketing. However... if the core reason they've joined together is for intellectual property, we may start to see some vector units in CPU's. Who knows.

From my perspective, this smells like a bad deal. ATI's Linux support, while existant, is shallowly so. One need only to try to manage a dual-screen setup or hack an xorg.conf file to realize how kaboshed ATI's Linux driver support is. Contrast it to the robustness of Nvidia's unified driver model and there is simply no comparison. Nvidia wins by not inventing their own wacky configuration schema, but instead streamlining their X11 integration with the mainline accepted standards and augmenting it only when necessary.

And yet, AMD has proven to be a big Linux supporter. So maybe their ingestion of ATI will be a driving force for them to get their collective butts in gear. Here's to hoping ATI will be the big winner of all this, and that they get in line with AMD's more competitive practices.

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