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ATI: Right Tech, Right Time

ATI Technologies (Nasdaq: ATYT  ) has been best known for its wicked fast graphics accelerators and monster motherboards. Its products are often described by words only those in the local-area network party and skateboarding demographic know. And its cutting-edge technology is synonymous with the adrenalin-pumping games that it pushes to the screens of millions of teens. It elicits awards like the coveted "Kick Ass" rating from Maximum PC magazine, announced a couple of days ago in a corporate press release.

While the company clearly wants to be known as the producer of the baddest motherboards in the business, much of its revenue growth is coming far less vociferously, from the installation of its technology into cell phones and digital televisions.

Yesterday, ATI reported record revenue of $491.5 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2004. That was an increase of 38.2% from a year earlier. Net income rose to $48.6 million, or $0.19 per share, from $15 million, or $0.06 per share, over the same period last year. And gross margin actually climbed 2.7% to 35.3%. The company credited sales growth in the graphics add-in-board, notebook, handheld chip, and digital television sectors for the strong results.

For the fourth quarter, it expects revenue to be $510 million to $550 million as a result of the improving market for PCs. However, ATI is expecting its operating margin to fall back into its target range of 32% to 35% and operating expenses to increase by 5% as it releases and markets new products.

ATI has managed to match primary competitorNVIDIA's (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) moves at every turn, and the outlook is strong, but the company is yet another one dealing with executive turmoil, following the resignation of its founder and CEO back in March. You can read more about this in Seth Jayson's Take, Shake-up at ATI, and decide for yourself whether this company is worth the added risk.

Fool contributor Mark Mahorney doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned.

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