ATI Technologies

ATI Technologies Inc. ( ATI short ), headquartered in Markham was at times one of the main manufacturers of graphics cards and chips for computers. The company was founded in 1985 by Kwok Yuen Ho ( CEO until 2004), Benny Lau and Lee Lau, all three emigrants from Hong Kong, was founded with an initial investment of $ 300,000 U.S.. It is not to be confused with the U.S. mining company Allegheny Technologies, its stock exchange regulations abbreviation as ATI is.

On 24 July 2006, the acquisition by the U.S. Processor Manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. was officially announced (AMD). This acquisition has been fully completed on 25 October 2006, so that the existence of the Company " ATI Technologies Inc." ended. The ATI brand name was still a few years for a variety of graphics products are made. ATI was originally an acronym for "Array Technology Inc. ", but was to " Array Technologies Inc." and shortly thereafter changed even in the first year in " ATI Technologies Inc.".

For August 30, 2010, AMD announced that it will distribute future products no longer under the ATI brand name, but only under its own abbreviation AMD. Existing products continue to run under the brand ATI.


ATI's production initially covered only application-specific integrated circuits ( ASICs), until the company president K. Y. Ho yet succeeded in its first year, to conclude a treaty with Commodore 7000 graphics chips per week. Shortly before that, four months after incorporation, the early exit for ATI seemed near, however, the Asian Bank Overseas Union Bank saved the Canadian producers with a loan of $ 300,000, later, the Bank provided a loan of even 1.5 million U.S. $.

Starting in 1987, Canadians produced the first EGA and VGA graphics cards for the ISA slot that supports up to 256 colors and 16 and were IBM compatible. These were the cards EGA Wonder and VGA Wonder. The latter was a 16-bit ISA card, which was run in an 8 -bit ISA slot. In addition, the VGA Wonder had an analog and a digital monitor port, so that all available in the PC sector monitors could be connected to this card. The VGA Wonder was equipped with 256 KB or 512 KB Video memory and could display resolutions of 1024 × 768 pixels in up to 256 colors. The following graphic card could represent standards ( compatible display required): MDA, Hercules, CGA, EGA (incl. SuperEGA ), MCGA and VGA (incl. div SuperVGA modes). The VGA Wonder was in combination with a multisync monitor, the ideal configuration for creating programs that should be run on different graphics cards from different standards, as all provided by the program representations could be tested. Before either had multiple computers with different graphics cards are available, or the graphics card in the computer often had to be changed, possibly other monitors were to join.

1991 and 1992 were followed by the Mach 8 ( co-processor ) and the Mach 32 ( integrated processor ) the first 2D accelerator. In 1994, the 64-bit Mach64 processor, which had the first functions of the color conversion and was quite powerful for its time.

After the successful run continued at the major OEMs with the Rage series. The good position in the retail market owes ATI, among other things some acquisitions. So took over ATI in 1998 for 3 million U.S. $ Tseng Labs including all 40 employees and early 2000 for $ 400 million, the chip design company ArtX and its 70 employees.

In the middle of the same year, the first Radeon chipset appeared under the codename RageC6. This was followed Radeon 7500 (2001), Radeon 8500 (2001), the end of 2002 the Radeon 9xxx series, which brought ATI breakthrough in the players. This Erfolgszug sat ATI continues with the Xxxx series ( eg X800Pro ) in early 2004, which was replaced (also called X1K ) from October 2005 through the X1xxx series.

2004 sparked Dave Orton, who came from ArtX to ATI, K. Y. Ho as CEO from, this changed as Chairman to the Board of Directors. The end of 2005 K. Y. Ho also announced his retirement from the post of Chairman of the Board - the founding generation has thus fully retracted. On 2 May 2006 ATI took over the Finnish company Oy Bitboys with the aim of creating a European design center for mobile chips. July 24, 2006 ATI itself was target of a takeover by the U.S. Processor Manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). AMD has completely taken over on 25 October 2006 for a total of 5.4 billion U.S. dollars ATI.


The main area of ​​business was the development and production of graphics processors. These were made both for different PC architectures, such as for TVs, mobile phones, consoles and other microelectronic devices. ATI has also worked in the multimedia business. The company offered its " theater - Chip", support for video-in and video-out features, on separately available TV - cards. It went on to ATI motherboard chipsets (with and without integrated graphics unit ) for the processors from AMD and Intel ago.


In response to Nvidia's SLI technology ATI introduced a technique called Crossfire, which allows to operate two PCI Express graphics cards on certain motherboards parallel. Crossfire is based on the much older multi-rendering process. Most Intel and AMD motherboards offer Crossfire as an alternative extension by a similar ATI graphics card is added when at least two PCI Express slots are available. On the other hand Nvidia graphics cards can only be used on motherboards with SLI support nForce chipset parallel.


The term CrossfireX is a new version of Crossfire mode. The main novelty here is the possibility of four graphics cards to run in parallel dar. For this mainboard with corresponding number of PCI Express slots necessary, as well as a chipset which supports CrossfireX. A system with a CrossfireX graphics cards composite consisting of two or four cards in conjunction with AMD CPU and motherboard has been designated by the AMD marketing department as Spider platform. With the introduction of Phenom II and Radeon HD4000 series, the Spider platform was replaced by the Dragon platform.

Driver support

ATI provides proprietary drivers for Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X and GNU / Linux. There is for Microsoft operating systems a Catalyst Software Suite package called ( display driver, Catalyst Control Center and WDM drivers ), as well as a pure display driver version. The updates are released about once a month.

Support for the Linux driver fglrx was at the beginning very slowly and delivered slow and unstable drivers. The support for new chipsets lasted sometimes up to a year. Since the beginning of 2006, new fglrx versions were published significantly more regular, since 2007, there are about an update per month. Publication is most often coinciding with the release of Windows drivers.

The initially very short list of the supported distributions ( Red Hat, SuSE ) has now been officially added to all major distributions (Debian, Fedora, Mandriva Linux, Red Flag Linux, Red Hat Linux, Slackware, openSUSE and Ubuntu).

In August 2006 it was announced that in version 8.28.8 for the last time support for older GPUs Radeon 8500, 9000, 9100, 9200 and 9250, as well as their Mobility and IGP versions will be included.

Following the acquisition of ATI by AMD in August 2006, ATI came to the demands for disclosure of their driver specifications. About a year later, in September 2007, the first documents as well as a rudimentary 2D driver as a basis to members of the Xorg Foundation have been delivered. At the same time AMD also began to promote the development of the proprietary fglrx driver. Within the next few months, much of the previous OpenGL code was replaced, which expressed itself in version 8.41.7 in a significant increase in 3D acceleration. In November 2007, ATI was also on the previous, fglrx own version numbering. The driver package was renamed Catalyst and has since performed with the same version number of the current version of Windows.

The available open-source Radeon driver allows a largely unproblematic use of older graphics chips with experimental support of previous X700/X800-Generation.

In September 2007, ATI released a portion of the 2D specifications for some of their newer graphics chips and promised to publish both the lack of 2D and 3D the complete specification as soon as the last legal issues had been resolved.


Branches of ATI were on Barbados, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and the USA. The company employed at the end of more than 5600 employees (as of 2006) and generated sales of approximately 2.2 billion U.S. dollars ( 2005).


ATI developed especially new Graphic Processing Units ( GPUs). The production Selbiger gave ATI the Taiwanese semiconductor production company TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company). The production of PCB (Printed Circuit Board) left the group now largely other companies. Among others, Sapphire Technology, PowerColor, HIS, Club3D and ASUS Partner of the Group. The ATI FireGL series can be found exclusively as " Built by ATI " ( in German: " made ​​by ATI " ) titled graphics cards. Besides the familiar desktop chips, there was a wide range of Radeon graphics cards for the notebook sector, running under the marketing name ATI Mobility Radeon, which is characterized by the combination of high performance with low power consumption (apart from the top models Mobility Radeon X800 and X1900 series once ) are distinguished.


Furthermore, ATI began both on the motherboard sector as well as on the graphics card sector very much for the new interface standard PCI - Express. So there were quite a few early models that have appeared only for the new standard. However, these chips PCI - Express graphics cards to AGP cards could continue to make backward compatible with the bridge chip Rialto, modified. So all have AGP systems compatible cards from the Radeon X700 particular chip.

Graphics chips

ATI has or has had the following graphics card series offers:

  • Desktop Radeon
  • Rage
  • Do
  • Notebook Mobility Radeon
  • Mobility M4
  • Rage Mobility
  • Mobility FireGL
  • ATI FirePro M
  • Professional Area FireGL
  • FireMV
  • ATI FirePro
  • Embedded and mobile range ATI Imageon
  • Multimedia ATI All- In-Wonder: Graphics card with an integrated TV tuner module, radio tuner and a video input ( composite video or S -Video).


ATI had different chipsets for AMD and Intel platforms on offer. While the latter were adjusted by the acquisition of AMD, the AMD chipsets are now running under the naming scheme AMD * type name * on.