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The ATI brand is about to disappear, AMD announced Monday. "The timing is right as far as we're concerned," an AMD spokesman told The Reg, explaining that the company's brand strategy is moving to a "customer-centric approach" and away from processer-centric branding. The company's Radeon and FirePro brands will remain, but …

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memories

I remember dreaming about getting a ATI Graphics Pro Turbo(I think that's what it was called) waaay back when(early/mid 90s). Eventually got something even nicer the Number Nine Imagine 128, loved that card. and the Series 2 that followed. Then the Ticket to Ride Revolution IV after that!

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ATI

So long Canadian brand name....

Seems like an awfully valuable thing to throw away. I wonder how much ATI spent building that brand.

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Logical move

ATi spent building that brand before being acquired, now to move under the AMD brand seems logical. As a long time Nvidia user, and who switched to AMD once during the Intel Pentium 4 debacle, ATi brand prior to its AMD take-over was more synonymous to me of crappy drivers support.

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Yeah

"ATi brand prior to its AMD take-over was more synonymous to me of crappy drivers support."

Changing the name from ATi to AMD isn't going to change that. I wish it would, but I guess it was unreasonable of me to expect the AA and AF on my new 5850 to, you know, reliably work.

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And Gravis too

There's was once a time when Canada was the place to get all the best multimedia stuff.

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Not for a long time ...

Not since Celine Dion & Shania Twain it hasn't. I still haven't forgiven the Canadians.

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Title

I wonder if this is so much about getting rid of the ATI brand... or moreso about getting the AMD logo on boxes.

Think about it this way: AMD makes CPUs and GPUs (or whatever you want to call them now with the CPU on the GPU). So you could have an ATI/AMD graphics card and an Intel processor. This means the two stickers on the outside say Intel Inside and ATI Graphics.

Now, with ATI gone it says Intel Inside AMD Graphics. Which causes average Joe punter to say "Oh, those AMD people made part of this computer too? Why not get the one with AMD processor AND AMD graphics... seems to make sense!!!"

I've seen people buy crap monitors because "well it says Dell on it too, it must go with the computer that says Dell on it" and I've seen people refuse to buy new mice and keyboards ("This is the one it came with, I can't use that one!"). I can't help but think that this will be a positive move for AMD.

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I was thinking of hardware rather than meatware

But you do have a point.

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid.

Brand names are everything. Why do people at the top seem to forget this?

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Linux

Do you work in marketing?

I have to say sitting at the sidelines I have a positive general impression of the ATI name, but judging from the comments there are at least a few folks who have the exact opposite view and that applies to me too to some extent. The knife cuts both ways.

Branding is overemphasized - in the end quality is everything

/Linux, because ATI's crap drivers can't support XBMC Live - hopefully AMD's can

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Welcome

My wife works in marketing - so...

And you're wrong - branding IS everything.

And branding keeps company's product popular even when 'made in China' catches up with the quality of the product. Quality isn't everything - look at Apple, the sleek design and packages and marketing helped Apple become the leader in mp3 devices. Make no mistake, Apple has had its fair share of quality issues.

With that said, no one sound worry too much about the ATI brand - its not like its being thrown in the trash. Brands get retired, a company holds on to them and then brings them back if they feel the need.

AMD may one day decide to sell (unlikely I know) its graphics card business along - most likely the ATI brand would be part & parcel of this deal.

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Anonymous Coward

No offense intended

... to you or your wife by the question but to me the importance of "branding" is grossly exaggerated and I'm not the only one who thinks that way. Just look at what happened with the Kin - http://www.bnet.com/blog/salesmachine/how-kin-became-microsofts-worst-failure/10924 - all the Branding in the world couldn't save that failure.

Brand recognition and perception is initially and primarily developed by having a desirable product. The Brand is maintained, again, *primarily* through the product being of some acceptable level of quality and maintaining that desirable status. Good Brand management and recognition can help smooth over rough patches in quality like the examples you mentioned, agreed, but on the long term poor quality will tend to destroy a brand no matter how much is spent on marketing and advertising. I.E. you can only polish a turd for so long before most everyone realizes it's a turd.

I'm no Apple fanboy, but their products are seen by their clients as being of high quality regardless of their occasional (frequent?) issues with QC and I can't say that this is due *entirely* to marketing/advertising although possibly more than any other example, I would tend to say that they are a good example for how important Brand perception and recognition can be.

Don't get me wrong, please, I am not saying that the Brand, Brand Management, etc are unimportant. I have clients who live and breath by their brand and in the negative, and to your point, the brand *can* be everything. Your Brand perception being highly negative with your clients (BP, Goldman Sachs, etc) can really, really hurt you and potentially put you out of business... in which case rebranding to run away from your bad reputation might be advisable as I think someone else mentioned. That is, however, more of the exception than the rule.

More typically Branding attempts to polish/improve, or at least maintain the perception of a product. From that perspective it builds on the quality variable in the equation, but doesn't replace it.

And for the record, I'm not a Bill Hicks anti-marketing type.

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not sure that makes sense

Anyone notice on the side of every Wii is the brand ATI? Seems like a valuable moniker to just toss out.

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Who did they ask?

I know that ATI at least sounds like "nVidia's Competition". AMD sounds more like "those guys who make x86/64 chips that aren't Intel", so the brand isn't directly related to GPUs. It would look like VW-branded power tools ... yeah, they do good cars, but it isn't quite their market.

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Depends when you ask..

Remember, before the Core 2 launched, AMD were "winning" the CPU battle on a number of fronts... And ATI are currently the graphics leader while nVidia struggle to get Fermi right.

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Anonymous Coward

My memory of ATI...

Is of the worst drivers i've ever had the displeasure to have running on my system. Hence why i've been using Nvidia for as long as I can remember.

Then again, my experience with ATI drivers isn't likely to be representative of the existing situation. I hope not anyway, i'd be shocked if they hadn't managed to improve in ~15 years.

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Boffin

Heh

Funny, all I can remember is this http://www.reghardware.com/2008/03/28/nvidia_vista_drivers/

Granted my first proper ATi card was an X600 or something or rather, but since I haven't had any problems to speak of. I haven't been a fan of nVidia since they bought up PhysX and denied competitors the ability to share in the technology and those few nVidia RAID devices I saw fail on a number of Acer machines on display at work. That could just be Acer though.

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My memory of ATI...

I remember crappy ATI drivers of old and have been an nVidia person for ages. However I think the situation has reversed. nVidia's latest drivers suck big time (at least in Win 7 for Quadros). So much so that I've swapped in an ATI board and am very pleased with it.

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ATI kept their drivers current

ATI was always good at keeping their drivers current, even for older cards.

Since there are many incompatibilities, especially when upgrading for games/graphics it could be you never bothered to contact ATI support or some other card/driver was causing problems.

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Stop

Green against Green?

Or is AMD turning red? I'd recommend that, AMD's green is very tacky.

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Brand

Neither ATI or AMD have the same ring to them as Intel or Nvidia. Both are initialisms which aren't that catchy.

They need a decent brand name.

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From a branding standpoint

There are two more factors to consider, both help minimize any risk in this change.

1. They aren't changing the look of the ATI brand, which means their similar name, AMD, will hot-swap easily.

2. The still have the equity of the individual brands, Radeon & Firepro.

All they are really losing is the a T and an I, traded for a M and a D. Current fans will barely notice. AMD fans will get more easily introduced to AMD's graphics efforts. And ATI haters might reconsider thew "new" ATI.

A sound decision, imo...

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Unhappy

Keep the name

I think a lot of punters will associate AMD and Intel as processor makers, and ATI and Nvidia as graphics chip manufacturers. I do.

Take the ATI brand out of the equation and, personally i think, that many people may think ATI has died leaving Nvidia as the only graphics option.

What's the sticker on your PC or the sticker in the graphics card box going to say ? Powered by "AMD (Nee ATI) graphics"

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ATI is well known

ATi is well known, anyone I talk to who is into computer hardware know that there is Nvidia and ATi. It will be a shame to see the ATI name go.

Hardware wise ATi is great, but their driver let them down, building a new computer at the end of the year, deciding weather to stay with Nvidia, which have been rock steady, or go for ATi/AMD Graphics card.

I will go for another AMD CPU, I hate Intel, but not sure about their video cards, because of their drivers./

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Linux

Drivers

I've always used the open-source drivers. Yes, there have been missing features, but then I've never been stuck with particular kernel versions because of lack of support in the drivers.

I'm currently using Gallium3D (part of Mesa 7.9-devel) on R300-series hardware. When that fails or I find it to be a bit too underpowered, then I'll see what's around and what's supported (should be more or less what's available, as well as older hardware).

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Big Brother

Who cares

The only people who care about brand names are the ones that either can't be bothered to read reviews and instead base their purchasing decisions on marketing spiel, or the ones that think that progress doesn't happen and that if company A had crap drivers 5 years ago then that must still be the case.

I buy what is the best hardware for the money at the current time and I don't care whose name is on it. I've gone from Intel CPUs to AMD and then back to Intel. I've bought Voodoo, Nvidia, Nvidia, ATI, then Nvidia again, then ATI again. Anyone who has any interest in computer hardware knows that these things go in cycles, and hooray for that, the competition is great for the consumer.

So yeah, while losing the ATI brand for good is a bit nostalgia-inducing and all, in the end it makes zero difference. Free your mind from the marketing brand control.

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The only people?

"The only people who care about brand names are the ones that either can't be bothered to read reviews and instead base their purchasing decisions on marketing spiel"

That would be "most of the population", then?

*Cough* iPhone *Cough*

I mean, come on, how many people know who Intel are based solely on the annoying jingle jammed onto the end of every annoying PC World advert? That's branding, that is, and it works rather well. I've met a good number of people who won't buy a PC with an AMD processor in it because they've only ever heard of Intel, so they assume Intel are the shit, and AMD are some unknown Korean manufacturer or something. It's nonsense, of course, but it's the impression they have thanks to branding.

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sometimes

it is really helpful to know who you're buying from, resale of goods depends heavily on brand name and a good brand name attracts the right people, ie, Rolls Royce are only going to appeal to engineers and craft men who want to build something luxurious where as BMW would attract engineers who are interested percision equipment.

Face it, it is important if you are looking for something specific built by a certain type of person, and if you're just looking for a something to fill a generic task then you take this approach otherwise you reseasrch all aspects

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Discrete Graphics Cards

Don't take this the wrong way, but we are not representative of general computer users. As much as we might think otherwise there are a significant portion of the users that don't even know what brand of CPU is in their machine much less GPU - to them an HP is an HP, a Dell is a Del, an Acer is an Acer, etc. All they really care about is if the machine can run the programs they need to use. Their GPU could be from Tesco for all they care.

Even then, with the way things are headed (call it fusion, call it an APU, call it integrated graphics) the whole concept of discrete graphics will become niche (high end gaming, graphics/CAD workstation) instead of general usage... and that's really the only area where the loss of the ATI brand will really hurt. The computer makers (HP, Dell, etc) and corporate buyers will know what they're getting, the average punter won't really care, and the gearheads who need discrete graphics will just have to get used to saying AMD instead of ATI.

So to those who say this is a bad move, with two major bands how would you propose AMD name their new fusion chips? "AMD-Bulldozer-ATI-Radeon APU Inside" doesn't really roll off the tounge or fit on one of those neat little stickers very well IMO.

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Pint

What about Intel?

Now AMD will be recognized as the company that makes great CPU and video cards, but Intel as a CPU manufacturer which makes crappy video cards.

And certainly many more people are going to buy AMD CPUs plus AMD GPUs because "if they are from the same company, they are better if together" or something along this line. Double win for AMD.

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Pint

Rebranding seems to be...

...something that companies do when they can't sort out/don't understand the underlying problems of their business.

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IT Angle

And this...

is _de_branding -- so is it because they _can_ sort out the underlying problems...?

Just askin'

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Normally I'd agree with you

...but I'm not even sure if this even qualifies as a rebranding in the traditional sense. This was a merging of two distinct corporate brands, both of which had well known underlying product brands (Opteron, Radeon, etc) and the two distinct product lines (CPU's/GPU's) are planned to merge very shortly into the new Fusion APU's.

Seems to me that ditching the ATI name is absolutely the right thing to do from a branding standpoint - it would just get too confusing otherwise. I guess they could have kept it for the discrete cards, but really why bother? AMD doesn't have deep pockets and managing extraneous brands isn't cheap.

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Pint

ATI: Short but proud history

In 1985, ATI was founded as Array Technologies Incorporated by Lee Ka Lau, Benny Lau and Kwok Yuen Ho some/all of whom immigrated from Hong Kong. They were based in a suburb of Toronto in a high tech park.

They were noted for treating their employees and customers decently and when I lived in Toronto they were good with support.

All the founders became deservedly wealthy, and their employees did OK, as well, through their share plans.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Yes I recall dialing into their Richmond Hill BBS to download drivers and config tools for my ATI EGAWONDER card. May still have that card somewhere... I recall it was actually made in Canada!

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Anonymous Coward

At least it'll be cheap to do

they only have to change 2 letters. Now, if Intel had bought ATi, then the rebranding would be a major job, how would ProFire look with "Intel inside" underneath it in font size 4? and in red, to boot, metaphorically.

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Crappy Video Drivers?

Traditionally ATI had superior hardware to nVidia (alongside a slew of also rans), but crap drivers for their cards. I've fond memories of ATI and Nvidia being caught out in turn optimising drivers specifically for various testing scenarios that bore no semblence to real world usage. My own pet hate was how some OEM manufacturers couldn't use the default ATI drivers- but needed their own modified versions- and if you ever needed to reinstall, it was a nightmare.......

Personally- I'd have more faith in the ATI brand than I would in the AMD brand- I've loved overclocking ever since the K6-2-500 days- but have some quite horrific memories of burnt out components. I have burnt out a few graphics cards in my time too- but normally a reboot into LKGC and resetting clock speeds- sorts a graphics issue (unless you've borked the card).

I'm not sure that I'd be too happy with the fully integrated chips they are now proposing- anyone who loves performance- will run a mile......?

S.

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FAIL

alledgedly great hardware

but being buggy and unusable it is wild speculation that there is underlying great hardware

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Stop

Why this all this misplaced emphasis on brand name ?

Isn't it first and foremost the quality of the products which should interest us as users ? Or have we all been seduced into believing that putting one label on the product of an assembly plant in China instead of another makes an earth-shaking difference in our «product experience» ?...

Henri

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Remember where brand names started.

Brand names are emphasised because they were originally created as a way to generate trust in quality. The first branded goods were sealed and branded to show that they hadn't been adulterated, and it quickly became known that a brand-name product was more likely to be trustworthy, consistent and of a higher quality than unbranded equivalents.

Yes modern brand names are less likely to indicate that but, nevertheless, branding is still a marker of something. Brand names signify a recognisable level of quality.

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Megaphone

all very well

but can we PLEASE ditch the stupid model numbers?

Do I want a 4800XXTXX Model G Turbo or a 5200 GTI XXX Rev. 2?

Fuck if I know. I stopped paying attention to this shit a long time ago.

I'm looking at you too, Nvidia. It isn't a Geforce 220XXXXTX GTI X, It's a fucking Geforce 10. Just call it that so we can understand what model it is. PUUUURLEASE.

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FAIL

poor graphics

those logos look as if they got designed by some 14 year old

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ati

i remember a old video card i used to use i believe it was the x600 or somthing very old card i just wish the new cards today wernt so big jeese and power hungry

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ATI Drivers

ATI drivers are undoubtedly still very poor. I risked buying a new laptop with a Radeon 5400 in it and they are awful. Catalyst is crap too.

I have the big cursor problem, the crashes, the system freezes, the inability to resume from hibernate half the time. All these are long known about ATI bugs which remain unfixed after 8 updates of the drivers (now on 10.7). Never again.

If AMD put some effort into sorting this out then great.

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Coat

I have never had an issue with ATi Drivers

I guess I am just smarter than most here! Now, let me get my coat.

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Boffin

ATI Drivers

I understand a lot of the hate for them here. Many moons ago, around about the 2nd/3rd generation Radeon, the Catalyst drivers were seriously behind nVidia's for stability, performance and customisation.

I have to say that HAS changed now. I took the plunge, having been a GeForce user since the GeForce 2 MX (having had one other outing with ATI and their x700 which was good performance, but still rubbish driver support). I have the Radeon HD 5770 now after seeing some v. impressive benchmarks and I gotta say it's a stonking card for the money.

The new Catalyst drivers (AMD branded) are a VAST improvment over the old. Highly tunable (yes you can overclock using them too) and very stable (so long as you dont go to mental with your OC). My 5770 is a factory overclocked unit and I've been a happy gamer for over 6 months now!

I'm not too fussed about losing the ATI branding. I think it will remove a lot of the confusion over the two companies - yes it may create some with the non-geeks out there, but eventually they will get it.

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RIP ATI

I've always used both ATI GPU's and AMD CPU's, primarily because of cost vs performance, and because when I started building systems the pentium4 had reared its ugly head.

In regards to the p4... I've never seen a CPU get THAT HOT and keep going...

This is a good move IMO.

I'll be able to stop remembering about the merger when driver hunting, and they are keeping the radeon product line so its all good.

The important point here is they aren't getting rid of the staff who make ati cards, so the same good quality, competetively priced hardware should continue.

Bye bye ATI, I'll miss you.

I'll miss you even more when I have to replace my case sticker :(

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ATI brand still remains on the boxes but distributors items are AMD Radeon

Hi, I guess it takes longer to get rid of the retail box covers. There are no more ATI authorized distributors selling ATI just AMD video cards.

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