ATI to unveil A4 Pentium 4 chipset next quarter
Targeting mobile and games markets
ATI will launch its Pentium 4 integrated chipset, codenamed A4, during the first three months of 2002 and will target the part at notebooks and gaming PCs.
So claims DigiTimes, citing unnamed sources who we reckon are close to Taiwan's motherboard makers - who ATI has been courting on order to win support for the chipset. The report notes that both Gigabyte and CP Technology have shown interest in the part, having both already decided to offer graphics cards based on ATI technology.
The P4 chipset, which connects the Intel CPU to DDR SDRAM and features first-generation Radeon graphics, is called the A4. Alas, the sources have nothing to say about ATI's other chipset, the Athlon XP-oriented A3. That chipset was the first to be linked to ATI following the graphics company's acquisition of a Pentium 4 bus licence from Intel. However, A3 recently turned up on an AMD third-party Athlon chipset roadmap.
A3 will support DDR200 and DDR266 memory, offer 200MHz and 266MHz frontside bus speeds and offer an external AGP 4x graphics port. A 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.
The DigiTimes piece also quotes ATI's VP of corporate development, Henry Quan, claiming that ATI doesn't plan to compete with other PC chipset makers. An odd thing to say, that, since what else is the point of offering an integrated chipset? Surely it's not just about proving anything Nvidia can do, ATI can do better?
Quan is also said to have said ATI will be targeting the part at the games market, though we'd suggest that the gamers would be more keen on PCs with upgradeable graphics than tie themselves to a chipset containing the previous generation of graphics technology.
However, an emphasis on the mobile sector makes more sense, given ATI's keenness to shore up its lead in the mobile graphics chip market and the need to differentiate its part from Nvidia's desktop-oriented nFarce.
Intel's Mobile Pentium 4s aren't due to ship until March 2002, so if A4 is aimed at the mobile market - or ATI is preparing a mobile version of it - we wouldn't expect it to be announced much before then. ®
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