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AMD axes ATI brand

If you have any kind of sentimental attachment to the familiar, red-bordered ATI brand with its friendly curvy letters, then dig out your mourning gear. Yep, it turns out that all the rumoursжwere 100 per cent true. AMD is axing the ATI brand for good, and it's now official.

AMD says the decision to drop the 25-year-old brand was made after polling a large collection of "graphics-processor-aware consumers" in seven different countries, to ensure it had "permission" to dismiss it.

"We asked them straightforward awareness preference questions," AMD's vice president of global corporate marketing, John Volkmann, explained to THINQ. "It's literally the standard battery of questions: Are you aware of this brand? Would you consider it? And then we ask a very specific form of a preference question."

According to Volkmann, AMD learned three important pieces of information about the public perception of its brands from the research. The first, says Volkmann, was that "the Radeon brand and the ATI brand are equally strong with respect to conveying our graphics processor offering."

Perhaps more interestingly, though, Volkmann says the second piece of information was that the "combination of AMD and Radeon actually proved to be a stronger combination than ATI and Radeon in the minds of processor-aware consumers, by a statistically significant amount."

Finally, Volkmann claims the research revealed "a high correlation between knowledge of the merger between ATI and AMD and brand preference for AMD vis-ц-vis Intel."

"The sum total of those three things led us to believe that we in fact have permission to proceed in making a change from ATI to AMD," says Volkmann, "and that it was just a question of timing."

With AMD's Vision brand programme in full swing, the launch of Fusion on the horizon and ATI currently commanding the majority of the discrete GPU business, AMD reckons it's now time to give the ATI logo its P45.

Existing graphics products will retain the ATI brand, but new graphics chips such as the forthcoming Radeon HD 6000-seriesжwill now be branded with a new AMD Radeon logo (above). The same also goes for new Fire Pro products. However, AMD is also giving OEM partners the choice of using a simple Radeon logo without the AMD badge if they choose to.

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Not only that, but several other brands also on the way out, including Sempron, Athlon Turion and Phenom, as well as AMD's Game and Live programmes. The idea is that future AMD-based systems will feature just a single AMD Vision logo.

"With Vision we are transitioning away from the CPU product naming convention; the Athlons, Semprons, Turions of the world," explained Volkmann. "So you'll be seeing much more of Vision and much less of those brands, especially as we transition to our Fusion portfolio. The logo that we'll want to be more prominent in that equation will be the Vision logo."

Volkmann estimates that the whole transition to the Vision logo will be finished within a year, and will start off when the first Fusion products are launched at the beginning of 2011.

Speaking of Fusion, that's another logo that's being dumped by AMD. According to Volkmann, AMD will continue to talk about Fusion as a term for its APUs (accelerated processing units), but is going to put its marketing dollars behind the simple AMD Vision brand.

You can see the brands that AMD hopes to drop in the chart below. Few brands will escape the axe by the looks of it, with the only notable exception being AMD's Opteron logo for servers and workstations. Of course, AMD's aforementioned discrete graphics products will also have individual Radeon and Fire Pro brands, divided into subcategories such as Premium for the high-end chips.