Apple’s graphics accelerator partner, ATI, has increased its lead in the US graphics-card market.

The company took 49 per cent of the US video-card distribution market, a nine per cent increase from the previous month and more than double the market share of its nearest competitor. ATI also increased its retail-market share for video cards to 27 per cent, up from 21 per cent in January 2000, according to PC Data.

The company was recommended as a "Buy" Wednesday by Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Ray Sharma, who said he felt the worst of the bad news was now behind the company.

The company recently gave a profit warning, citing supply chain problems for worse than expected results in its current trading quarter.

ATI makes the video cards for Apple’s computers. However, with the recent arrival of Nvidia in the Mac market, and the request from 3dfx that Apple give customers a choice of video cards, analysts speculate Apple will allow different video cards to ship with its machines.