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ATI licenses MIPS CPU

Graphics specialist guns for set-top box market

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Graphics card vendor ATI's plan to branch out beyond its traditional markets into the set-top box and Internet access device markets took a further step forward yesterday when the company said it has licensed MIPS' 64-bit CPU architecture. The deal is an unusual one in that ATI's acquisition of PC-on-a-chip developer Chromatic Research last November should surely have given the company the processor expertise it needs to move beyond the graphics market. ATI must think that the next stage in the Chromatic chip's development can be made to occur much more quickly if it buys in a more advanced processor design. Clearly ATI's ambition is expanding. The Chromatic acquisition was widely seen as ATI's attempt to shore up business against moves by Intel into the graphics chipset arena. As for MIPS, in addition to the up-front financial implications, the deal allows it to attach its name to one of the best-known OEM graphics companies. Getting its CPU placed at the heart of an ATI set-top box reference design will do the SGI spin-off no harm at all. ® See also Rage 128 drives up ATI Q2 figures

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