DreamWorks dumps AMD, teams with Intel on 3-D animation films

DreamWorks Animation SKG is pushing AMD aside to team up with chipmaker rival Intel to make the big transition to 3-D animated films next year.

DreamWorks Animation SKG is pushing Advanced Micro Devices aside to team up with chipmaker rival Intel to make the big transition to 3-D animated films next year.

DreamWorks and Intel announced on Tuesday that the two companies are forming an alliance, with Intel supplying the animators with multi-core chips. Last year, DreamWorks Animation announced that it will be going entirely 3-D by 2009, beginning with the film Monsters vs. Aliens, which is scheduled for release next March.

"Our objective is to significantly heighten the movie-going experience...," Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, said in a written statement. "Technology plays a significant role in enabling our artists to tell great stories. By utilizing Intel's industry-leading computing products, we will create a new and innovative way for moviegoers to experience our films in 3-D."

However, good news for Intel is bad news for AMD.

In April 2005, AMD was the one announcing a partnership with DreamWorks — a three-year strategic alliance aimed at advancing computer-generated filmmaking. Now, Intel is the one touting an alliance.

"This is not good news for AMD," said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT Inc. "Anytime Intel takes business away from AMD, especially in high performance computing, it's a big win for them.... In the short-term, it's probably worth more in prestige than money..., but being the processor associated with next-generation 3-D animation could be very lucrative over the long term."

King noted that being associated with the Star Wars movies was a major boon for Silicon Graphics Inc.

In addition to supplying DreamWorks with multi-core chips, Intel said its engineers also will work on building parallel applications that can take advantage of the multi cores.

DreamWorks Animation has released such movies as Shrek, Over the Hedge, Bee Movie and Kung Fu Panda.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

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