ATI A3 chipset to support Athlon XP
Not just Pentium 4, it seems
ATI's upcoming A3 chipset, the graphics company's attempt to tackle arch-rival Nvidia's nForce initiative head on, will support AMD's Athlon XP processor as well as the Pentium 4.
Yes, we were surprised too. Given the recent cosying up between AMD and Nividia, and Intel and ATI, we, like many others, assumed these four companies would set themselves in two, warring camps.
Yet what did we spy this morning but a reference to ATI's offering on what appears to be an internal AMD document listing third-party chipsets for the Athlon XP. The roadmap was posted on German site Threecom.de along with other documents purporting to outline AMD's plans for the coming year.
Of course, we can't yet say how accurate the information is, primarily because even AMD doesn't know third parties' exact release plans, but assuming the document is at least reasonably up to date, ATI is on course to ship A3 this quarter.
A3 - or the listed version at least - will support DDR200 and DDR266 memory, offer 200MHz and 266MHz frontside bus speeds and offer an AGP 4x graphics port.
Beyond the Athlon support, there's not much of interest here. However, the successor part, codenamed A4-K, will not only add support for DDR333 but, like nForce, be based on AMD's HyperTransport bus. A4-K is roadmapped to ship sometime next year.
Hints that ATI is working on a chipset product emerged last August from claims made by mobo makers. Since ATI was (a) quite close to Intel these days and (b) a possessor of an official Pentium 4 bus licence, it was understandably assumed that the ATI part would target the P4 market. If the Threecom.de roadmap is genuine, ATI has its eye on the Athlon, though there's nothing to suggest it doesn't want to win business in both sectors. ®
Threecom.de: AMD's new roadmap (in German)