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Graphics-card maker denies demise

VisionTek, one of the leading manufacturers of PC graphics cards based on Nvidia chips, says reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

VisionTek, one of the leading manufacturers of PC graphics cards based on Nvidia chips, denied reports Tuesday that it has gone out of business.

Reports circulating on PC enthusiast sites over the past few days cited e-mails from VisionTek employees who said they had been laid off after creditors decided to shut down the Gurnee, Ill.-based company because of unpaid debts.

John Malley, VisionTek's director of marketing, said in a statement Tuesday that although creditors had appointed a trustee, the company remained in business. "An assignee/trustee has been appointed and will attempt to maximize the value of the company's assets," he said. "The trustee is continuing to operate the company to determine if a sale is a viable alternative to a liquidation, and he is currently talking to interested parties. The company is continuing to take orders, ship products and honor rebates."

Telephone calls made Monday and Tuesday to VisionTek's main number and tech-support line went unanswered, however.

VisionTek also sells memory chips and CD drives but is mainly known for its high-end Xtasy graphics cards based on chips from graphics leader Nvidia. If VisionTek did shut down, the effect on the industry would be minimal, analysts said, owing to thriving competition among graphics-card manufacturers.

"It would leave a hole that could be filled in 30 days or less," said Jon Peddie, president of graphics industry research firm Jon Peddie Research.

Peddie said the main effect would be that VisionTek's PC manufacturer customers, such as Dell Computer, would have to qualify new graphics cards for their systems. "It could create a slight disruption," he said.

Nvidia is facing renewed competition from No. 2 graphics chipmaker ATI Technologies, which last month revealed new high-end Radeon chips that outperform Nvidia's most powerful chips.