Earlier this week we speculated that AMD's acquisition of video card darling ATI might foreshadow a broad push behind affordable systems that can actually run Windows Vista with its consumptive (but slick) Aero interface. Well, the fact that both AMD and Intel are slashing prices on their 64-bit client processors is the real story there, but closely integrated graphics surely won't hurt in the Aero universe.
Since that time, we've seen some speculation that AMD may actually be positioning itself as a PC manufacturer with the ATI addition, but with margins already paper-thin in that sector, it's hard for us to see such a move exciting the market.
In a smart Q&A at DigiTimes, AMD executive vice president Henri Richard says his firm's goal of grabbing 30 percent of the processor market by 2008 is not contingent on forcing all digital media through a PC -- leaving the door open for AMD + ATI to drive digital video recorders and similar media appliances. Richard added that the ability to closely integrate video, long considered the domain of Intel, will help AMD tackle the mobility market, where it has yet to make much headway.
Richard says that for the time being, AMD and ATI will retain separate manufacturing processes, but in time it will "make sense" for the processor and video to be on the same die. That's typically a plus for commodity business PCs, and would certainly extend the set-top box market. Not so much for gaming PCs and other video-intensive niches where video card upgrades are the norm, and where the name ATI has so much clout.