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Interview with ATI's Godfrey Cheng - It's all about the beans

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 11 March 2005, 00:00

Tags: ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD)

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The REALLY important stuff

The REALLY important stuff

Rys: "What's your favourite colour?"

Godfrey: Red.

Rys: "Come on, is it actually red? Escape the cliché"

Godfrey: Yeah! Porsche's Guards Red.

Rys: "Is that the colour of your 944 Turbo S?

Godfrey: 1989 944 Turbo S. Make sure you get that right in the article. And yeah, it's the colour of the car.

Rys: "How much horsepower does it make?"

Godfrey: Depending on temperature, anywhere from 320 to 340 at one bar boost.

Rys: "How fast have you driven it?"

Godfrey: Off the record?

Rys: "Of course."

Godfrey: 260km/h.

Rys: "So when I stole the 550's last time for the beans thing, what did ATI think internally?"

Godfrey: ATI internally thought it was very cheeky.

Rys: "Right, some extra important stuff now. The purple and gold colour scheme for the new X800 AIW is your colour scheme? I mean it was actually you who decided on it?"

Godfrey: Yes, it's mine.

Rys: "Right. Now explain the purple and gold for my readers."

Godfrey: I was thinking about Prince at the time, when I came up with the colour scheme. Seriously.

Rys: *laughs* "So Prince's symbol is on the board somewhere, too?"

Godfrey: Ever heard of the book, Where's Waldo? You have a close look and you tell me.

Rys: "O.K, since you gave me my X800 AIW review sample yesterday, I should give you a present in return. I've got a 6800 Ultra in my bag upstairs. If I was to give it to you right now, would it end up in the same state as my NVIDIA keyring, that I let you see last time?"

Godfrey: No comment.

Rys: *laughs* "Let me see....another tough one for you. What's your opinion on ATI's partners producing branded laser pointers?"

Godfrey: They should be banned when coupled with alcohol. They should always be used responsibly and never given to people called David Baumann. NEVER.

Rys: "Moving swiftly you have a PC in your car?"

Godfrey: Not right now, but I'd love to get my MP3 collection into my car somehow, so I'm looking in to that.

Rys: "I've got an inside tip from another Multimedia employee that there's a flux capacitor on the new All-In-Wonder. What happens at 88 miles per hour? (That question is for you, Tim!)"

Godfrey: Yes *groans* It's right next to the warp nacell and the dilithium crystals. Who gave you the 'tip'? Was it Andrew? I'll have him fired!

Rys: "I can't remember. I've actually got a serious question now. I was honestly told by someone, I forget who but this is completely genuine, that 550 PRO is simply a shrunken Rage6c and you've not actually got any new silicon and that the old Rage Pro is doing video for you now. Is that true?"

Godfrey: *laughs for a long time* We've actually develped a tool that'll convert Powerpoint slides into silicon designs, and the 550 PRO is actually the first fruits of that labour. So not quite a 6c, but close. You guys caught us, hands up.

Rys: "O.K. After 550 PRO, where do you go next? If it's really the leap you claim it is, how do you improve in a couple of years? What's left to do?"

Godfrey: Man, analogue video quality is unbounded. You can always find improvements and make it better. In our DTV business, we have a whole list of future goodies that we're going to make use of in future hardware and the successor to 550 PRO is still going to have the video quality jump everyone expects of us. But that's sometime down the line, so you'll have to wait and see.

Rys: "Was that an official comment from an ATI employee on an unreleased, unannounced product?"

Godfrey: No comment. Jesus! *laughs*

Rys: "Going with that no comment and sticking with DTV, can you talk about the DTV technology that'll appear in future unreleased graphics products?"

Godfrey: I can't talk about specifics, since we don't talk about unannounced products, but you can take solace in thef act that ATI hardware powers about 80% of North America's DTV products and we'll be using that expertise and some technology blocks from our research in future ATI graphics products.

Rys: "A lot of my readers want to know when they'll be able to buy PAL X800 AIWs in the UK. Do you have any idea when that'll happen?"

Godfrey: We're definitely shooting for March as the time for your readers to be able to buy them and use them.

Rys: "Ever owned a little red Corvette?"

Godfrey: I was actually driving to a party once, in 1999, in a little red Corvette. I'm not sure what relevance that has, though.

Rys: "Ever met Bill Gates?"

Godfrey: Indirectly. Sort of. At the MCE2005 show launch, I saw him on the show floor and actually nearly knocked him over. Being a big guy like I am, it was kind of like Mack Truck versus a Mini.

Rys: *laughs* "Right, to wrap this in-depth, entirely technical interview up, would you be interested in participating in a live interactive chat with our readers, to talk about the Multimedia business at ATI and products that might show up in the future?"

Godfrey: Absolutely Rys, not a problem. Get your new site launched and we'll do that for you, absolutely.

The fallout

So there you have it, a nice chat between me and the man who markets and shows off ATI's coolest video and audio toys. As you can see, he's deadly serious, never has a laugh and sticks to talking about video products and nothing else. Pretty boring guy and I'm not sure we'll have him do the interactive chat I mentioned at the end.

I'll leave any analysis of what he said for the eagle-eyed and keen of mind. There's some juicy bits in there if you know where to look. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.