AMD will continue to supply ATI graphics chips for PCs based on Intel chips despite the fierce competition between the two companies, AMD's chief technology officer said in an interview.

The Intel question loomed large after AMD bought ATI last year. Many believed that AMD would stop supporting Intel microprocessors with the ATI chips, and that Intel would encourage its customers to use its own graphics chips or those from other companies besides AMD.

AMD CTO Phil Hester said at Computex last week that AMD will continue to supply ATI graphics products that work with Intel processors. It makes business sense for AMD to do so and there’s still a healthy market for ATI products paired with Intel processors, he said.

AMD also believes that the introduction of its Fusion chips in 2009, which will put graphics functions and the microprocessor on a single chip, will not spell the end for discrete graphics components, Hester said.

That's good news for gamers and other people who want top-end multimedia performance for work or home applications. Graphics cards with discrete GPUs (graphics processing units) have always delivered far better performance than chips with graphics built in, such as PC chipsets.

Fusion processors will improve as AMD discovers new ways to boost the performance of graphics processors and microprocessors, Hester said. One area of improvement for GPUs will be in power consumption. GPUs still use more power than microprocessors, so there’s an opportunity for AMD to use the lessons it has learned to reduce power consumption in microprocessors and apply them in GPUs.

The importance of graphics in so many devices was a major reason AMD bought ATI. "The future is consumer electronics and the PC," said Hester, indicating Fusion will be important for AMD in both segments.

Handsets are already a major market for ATI graphics. Over 200 million ATI chipsets have already been shipped in handsets, he said.