Monday, August 30, 2010

ATI Radeon branding will be changed to AMD Radeon

The rumors are true! AMD intend to phased out the ATI logo on future branding of graphics processors, which are developed by engineers of ATI Technologies, which AMD acquired back in 2006.

A major motivator is the fact that AMD plans to introduce a range of new products incorporating both AMD microprocessor technology and a Radeon graphics tech on the same chip. The first fruits of the CPU-GPU "Fusion" initiative are slated to arrive soon. "Ontario," which will combine two copies of the low-power "Bobcat" CPU core with Radeon graphics, is slated to ship before the end of the year. The more powerful "Llano" APU, which mates quad Phenom II-class CPU cores with presumably a more capable GPU, is scheduled for the first half of 2011. Obviously, the combination of the firm's CPU and GPU technologies into single-chip products could create some consumer confusion, if folks were to continue to think of AMD and ATI as separate entities—especially if the ensuing marketing messages emphasize the benefits of CPU-GPU integration.

Furthermore, AMD tells us it feels confident in making this change right now because its graphics business is "on good track," having surpassed rival Nvidia in discrete graphics shipments last quarter, according to analyst estimates, and having secured high-profile design wins with the likes of Apple. Also, the chastening of Intel via its settlement with the FTC gave AMD some extra assurance that the expansion of its brand into graphics wouldn't hurt its relationships with major PC makers.

According to AMD's own survey results, consumers savvy enough to know something about discrete graphics cards tend to know the Radeon name, they tend to like AMD, and they don't mind seeing the AMD name on graphics cards once they realize AMD merged with ATI. The folks at AMD read those results as "permission" to jettison the ATI brand name.

The plan is to replace "ATI Radeon" and "ATI FirePro" with "Radeon" and "FirePro", along with a sprinkling of AMD corporate identity. The badges you see above will be used for systems with discrete Radeon and FirePro graphics cards. The lower row omits the AMD logo, so PC makers shipping Intel-based systems will be able to avoid the oil-and-water combo of Intel and AMD branding, if they wish.

However, end-users are likely to miss the ATI logotype since in general people associate the brand with high quality, performance, experience and so on. Besides, 25-years old trademarks like ATI are generally recognizable.

Some analysts said the re-branding of ATI Radeon into plain Radeon may become the worst branding decision ever made by AMD due to the fact that ATI has a larger scope on the market of discrete graphics chips than AMD does on the market of CPUs.

Official statement from John Volkmann : Evolving the AMD Brand Portfolio

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