Art X is owned by ATI
What’s Art-X about? What is the company’s History?
The graphic engineering group Art-X was established in 1997, making them one of Nintendo’s “younger” allies. Don’t be fooled, Art-X are anything but greenhorns to the game scene.
The company is led by Wei Yen, formerly Silicon Graphic Inc.’s Head of Nintendo Operations. Working with Nintendo is nothing new for Dr. Yen, as he & his team were the principal force behind the Nintendo 64’s graphic architecture. Howard Lincoln "Dr. Yen has assembled at ArtX one of the best teams of 3D graphics engineers on the planet."
On Febuary 16, 2000, ArtX was acquired by ATI, one of the world's largest suppliers of 3D graphics and multimedia technologies in a deal worth over $400 million.
What is Art-X’s Relationship With Nintendo?
It’s possible that Nintendo may have provided some start-up funds to Art-X. Regardless, the company seems to have been formed with GameCube development in mind.
What is Art-X Doing for the GameCube system?
Art-X is developing the graphics chip for the GameCube system.
Does the Art-X Graphics Chip have a Name?
Art-X’s Graphics Chip has been given the very unofficial moniker “Flipper,” a fanboy creation based off of the Dolphin name.
Will The ATI Acquisition Affect Art-X’s NGC Involvement?
Not a bit. Actually, Art X’s involvement with Nintendo's next system is one of the main reasons ATI sought to acquire them. Owning Art-X gives ATI an opportunity to get into the console market.
Comments on the merger from an ATI spokesperson support this:
"ATI now becomes a major supplier to the game console market via Nintendo. The [GameCube] platform is reputed to be king of the hill in terms of graphics and video performance with 128-bit architecture."
Essentially, the only difference is that the Art-X “Flipper” chip will also have ATI’s name on it. ATI won’t tinker with the design and the chip will remain exclusive to Nintendo.
ATI is apparently eager to exploit its ties with Art-X and Nintendo and had a NGC display at the 2000 Comdex show in November (as touched on in the Controller section of the FAQ).