The X-bit story points out that a certification process alone won't guarantee the quality of every third-party product that reaches retail channels, even if the box does bear a "Certified by ATI" logo, but it's a good first step. For example, a visual check of display outputs is nice, but I'd rather see a more formal definition of acceptable video signal quality for all output ports.
- Hardware and driver installation;
- 12 hour 3D application test;
- 12 hour DVD playback test;
- Visual check of display outputs;
- Evaluation of packaging (hardware/accessories, software, manuals, etc);
Ideally, any tests ATI performs to certify boards should be available to the public so that consumers can validate individual boards they pick up in retail. If a board turns up out of spec, I'd expect a speedy, hassle-free replacement.