For the hardcore 3d artists who have been doing this for many a year, it's sad to see an iconic brand lose its identity after such a long and illustrious career. it has always been a love hate relationship for ATI/Nvidia among all 3D artists. I come from a time when graphics cards in PC's where absolutely atrocious; that was before VGA and when 4 colours was a big deal. There was I, with my silicon graphics 4D20 and a geometry engine running GL. How advanced was I?!
Then the apple'ites got Radius graphics cards - wooo! - and the PC arena started with graphics cards from all sorts of manufacturers. 3Dfx with the voodoo range, S3 with the Virge, ATi with the rage, Nvidia with NV3, Matrox with Millenium, 3Dlabs Wildcat. What a time of innovation, speed increases and hard decisions that was.
After years of acquisition and consolidation we were left with two main heavyweight contenders: the jolly green giant of Nvidia and the red devils at ATI. They have both battled for graphics card supremacy for years. Each revision or introduction of new chips meant massive performance jumps. The move now to GPU's, which are more than just for graphics, means that the battle ground has changed. Mid range graphics cards have more than enough power for the average user and only specialist systems and software really get the best from the highend graphics cards.
The battleground has now moved from just graphics cards to include the big boys Intel, AMD and Nvidia. With AMD losing the ATI brand the focus is now on a more general purpose computing level. All three manufacturers make motherboard chip sets and motherboards. All three make some sort of GPU, two of them make CPU's. With Intel and AMD trying to make a general purpose chip that will be part CPU and GPU in one chip, with the stalled/failed larrabee on Intel's part, and with Fusion from AMD, the question is: what of Nvidia? Well, they are currently riding high with CUDA development language on its GPU's, and with general GPU chips such as Tesla for general computing tasks, the future is, as always, just more interesting.
Good night ATi brand! Welcome the new era of CPU/GPU computing.