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ATI to release Media Center evaluation kit in August

Starting in August, ATI will be expanding its support of Media Center Edition to the system integrator/builder channel, and the company will be offering an ATI evaluation kit through its Channel Partner Program. The kit will contain all the hardware and software to start building Media Center solutions, said Dave Block, senior market development manager for desktop Discrete graphics at ATI.

“With this program, what we’re trying to do is give our system builder partners that are involved in our Channel Partner Program all the tools, all the hardware and software they need to start qualifying a Media Center Edition solution,” Block said.

Two versions of the kit, an AGP one and a PCI-Express one, will be made available exclusively to ATI’s channel partners. The AGP kit will include a Radeon 9250 graphics card, an eHome Wonder, a Media Center remote control and supported software. The PCI-Express kit will contain a Radeon X600 graphics card, an eHome Wonder, a Media Center remote control and supported software.

“A lot of our business now is through the system builder channel, certainly in North America,” said Godfrey Cheng, director of marketing for multimedia products at ATI. “So if the system builders want to deliver [a Media Center] type of SKU, you only really need to go to ATI for a one-stop-shop. We have the graphics technology. We have the TV technology. We have the software technology. And we basically provide support altogether.”

According to Block, there has been a lot of interest in Media Center Edition PCs amongst smaller system builders, and with the evaluation kit, they’ll have everything they need to get started now that Windows XP Media Center Edition has been opened up to them. The kit will make the process as easy as possible to go to market with a Media Center solution, he said.

For system builders, there is a big opportunity to differentiate their solutions with the ATI kit, and to build and sell a rich Media Center configuration, Block said.

ATI will be supporting its system builders through its Channel Partner Program. Information about how to get a kit is available at the company’s partner Web site.

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