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Graphics Card News and Updates
December 16 - NVIDIA Buys Out 3dfx. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire certain graphics related assets of 3dfx Interactive (Nasdaq:TDFX), a pioneer and a recognized leader in graphics technology.
These graphics related assets include, but are not limited to, patents, pending patent applications, trademarks, brand names, and chip inventory related to the graphics business of 3dfx. In addition, 3dfx and NVIDIA have agreed to stay the patent infringement litigation between them through the closing of the transaction, at which time it will be jointly dismissed with prejudice.
Under the terms of the agreement, NVIDIA will pay to 3dfx a total consideration of $70 million in cash and 1 million shares of common stock. The asset acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is subject to 3dfx shareholder approval, the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions. This acquisition will be accounted for as a purchase and is expected to be complete in the first quarter of NVIDIA's fiscal year 2002.
NVIDIA can be found on the Web at http://www.nvidia.com.
Aug 25 - NVIDIA to Support Intel's AGP8x Interface. NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) announced today they will be the first 3D graphics company ready to deliver a product to benefit from Intel's new AGP8x interface, the next generation of the parallel AGP interface.
Like AGP4x it is a 32 bit wide bus, but the new specification allows a doubling in speed to 533MHz. Intel is releasing the rev 0.9 specifications in August 2000. NVIDIA and Intel have been engaged to gather feedback and validate the implementation in the AGP8x specification.
"We are pleased to have worked with Intel to develop the AGP8x specification and intend to fully support it in our future generation GPUs," stated Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. "By providing advanced system bandwidth to balance graphics performance, our AGP8x initiative represents a major step forward in the graphics industry."
"Intel has worked closely with NVIDIA to deliver high-performance 3D graphics capabilities to the desktop PC market segment," stated David Fair, Intel Visualization Technologies Initiative manager. "By combining our two roadmaps, we hope to move consumers, generation-by-generation, closer to Pixar level graphics on the desktop PC."
NVIDIA can be found on the Web at www.nvidia.com.
Aug 15 - NVidia announces new Detonator 3 Drivers. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) announced today the availability of its Detonator 3(TM) (D3) unified driver for its award-winning family of 3D graphics products.
The new drivers, available free of charge today at www.nvidia.com, unleash the performance potential of the current GeForce(TM) family of NVIDIA GPUs. D3 extends NVIDIA'S superiority in graphics by significantly boosting the performance and quality of what is widely considered the industry standard for PC graphics.
With its new D3 software, NVIDIA delivers up to a 50% performance gain in Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 7.0 and SGI OpenGL(R) applications.
D3 includes a wide variety of new features and optimizations, including: performance enhancements for both Direct3D(R) and OpenGL based applications, optimizations for Intel(R) i815 and Pentium(R) 4 processors, improved DVD and HDTV playback, a robust and complete TwinView(TM) feature set for the industry'S best dual-monitor performance, advanced Digital Vibrance Control(TM) user interface (for NVIDIA processors supporting Digital Vibrance Control), and an easy-to-use anti-aliasing control user interface.
Detonator 3 is based on NVIDIA'S unified driver architecture (UDA). Through UDA, NVIDIA software drivers are compatible with past, present, and future NVIDIA GPUs, and are compatible top-to-bottom with all currently manufactured versions of NVIDIA's graphics processors. Detonator 3 supports the entire TNT2(TM) product family as well as the GeForce and Quadro(TM) families of GPUs.
August 4 - S3 to shutdown Diamond Multimedia; Will continue support of existing products. S3(R) Incorporated (Nasdaq:SIII) today announced that it has initiated the shutdown of its Diamond Multimedia(TM)-branded graphics add-in board business.
Consistent with its declared intention to exit PC graphics, S3 evaluated multiple offers to sell the graphics board business, but it became clear that a redeployment of the existing resources to its high-growth Rio, home networking and information appliance businesses was the right long-term strategy for the company.
S3 will continue to supply and support its OEM customers, channel partners and end-users for the existing line of Diamond Multimedia-branded PC graphics add-in cards, but will cease development of follow-on products. The shutdown does not extend to FGL Graphics(TM), the professional graphics division of S3. Headquartered in Germany, FGL Graphics remains an independent division within S3's business portfolio.
"Shutting down the graphics board business to maintain focus and momentum reflects our commitment to rebuilding S3 as a digital media and Internet appliance company," said Ken Potashner, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of S3 Incorporated. .
In regards to completing S3's graphics chip joint venture with VIA Technologies, Potashner added that, "The Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of Taiwan initially denied the application for our joint venture based on VIA's initial application, but indicated a willingness to reconsider its decision upon receipt of revised information. We are working with VIA to try to present a proposal that is acceptable to the Taiwanese government. S3's mobile and integrated chips continue to experience widespread success."
Following its declared intent to exit the PC graphics market, S3 has been relaunched as a digital media company focused on creating products and partnerships that help build the digital home. Combining significant financial assets with a strong technology portfolio, that includes the Rio family of digital audio players and the HomeFree(TM) series of home networking solutions, S3 is uniquely positioned to capitalize on high growth opportunities in the rapidly converging Internet and consumer device markets.
S3 Web site Location: www.s3.com.
April 27 - AMD says New NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS GPU Optimized For Use With AMD Processors. AMD announced today that NVIDIA's groundbreaking GeForce2 GTS, the first shading graphics processor unit (GPU) for the desktop PC market, has been fully optimized for use with AMD processor platforms, including platforms based on the AMD Athlon(TM) processor. Significant gains in performance are being realized through optimizations at both the silicon and software driver level.
"We are very excited about the level of dedication, resources, focus, and widespread support the people at NVIDIA are putting behind our platforms," said Ned Finkle, director of AMD's Infrastructure Technology Development Group. "End users who combine the GeForce2 GTS with an AMD Athlon processor are going to realize tremendous platform performance."
"By coupling the highly-anticipated GeForce2 GTS and its new per-pixel shading operations with the outstanding performance of the AMD Athlon processor, the industry has taken a major step toward achieving cinematic level animation in real-time," said Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing at NVIDIA.
The newly optimized drivers include Microsoft DirectX 7 and OpenGL API's on all mainstream PC operating systems including Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 95, Windows 98, Windows NT(R) 4.0, Windows 2000, and Linux. These drivers are also fully backwards compatible and optimized on previously released NVIDIA graphics technologies including Riva TnT, Riva TnT2, NVIDIA GeForce256, and NVIDIA Quadro.
AMD can be found on the Web at www.amd.com.
March 7 - NVIDIA's Geforce GPU First to Deliver 64MB Double Data Rate - DDR - High-Speed Memory. NVIDIA(TM) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) today announced that it has set a new industry milestone by being first to offer 64 MB Double Data Rate (DDR) Synchronous RAM graphics solutions.
Working with the leading DDR manufacturers Hyundai and Infineon, NVIDIA's 64 MB DDR GeForce 256-based add-in cards are currently available through Dell Computer Corporation. The architecture of the NVIDIA DDR technology almost doubles the usable bandwidth and provides the industries fastest frame rates at higher resolutions and color depths.
"Our ultimate goal is to provide realistic, cinematic-quality graphics to the desktop PC and this new 64 MB DDR GeForce puts us another step closer to achieving this goal," said Dan Vivoli, NVIDIA senior vice president of marketing. "Users can now experience richly textured scenes at extremely high resolution without sacrificing framerate."
Visit the company's Web site at http://www.nvidia.com.
December 21 - NVIDIA First to use Double Data Rate DDR Memory on Graphics Cards. Continuing to raise the graphics performance bar, NVIDIA(TM) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) announced today that it has established another industry milestone by being first to deliver an ultrahigh performance Double Data Rate (DDR) Synchronous RAM graphics solution for the mainstream market.
Working with DDR manufacturers Infineon Technologies and Hyundai Electronics Corporation, NVIDIA's GeForce 256 and Quadro GPU-based add-in cards with DDR are already available this Christmas season. With DDR memory end users get lightening fast frame rates and higher resolutions and color depths. For technical information on DDR memory, refer to the NVIDIA Technical Brief located at www.nvidia.com/products/DDRtechbrief.
<The GeForce 256 with DDR was selling for around $300 retail this past Sunday.>
November 4 - VIA and S3 form new Graphics Chip Company. Formalizing their previously announced alliance, VIA Technologies (TAIEX: 2388) and S3® Incorporated (NASDAQ: SIII) announced the establishment of a joint venture to bring high-performance integrated graphics and core logic chip sets to the volume OEM desktop and notebook PC markets.
Tentatively named S3-VIA Inc., the newly formed company will have joint funding, exclusive access to both company's technology and distribution rights for developed products between S3 and VIA.
Current projects include: an integrated mobile chip set based on S3's Savage/IX architecture, a higher performance integrated desktop chip set based on S3's Savage2000 architecture and several AMD K7 designs. The first product from the new company should be shipping in early 2000.
Further information can be found at http://www.viatech.com/news/99via-s3inc.htm.
ATI RAGE FURY
A 2D/3D, 32 MB, graphics board based on ATI's RAGE 128GL graphics chip. The card has a 250 MHz DAC; Hardware DVD for full-frame, full-screen DVD playback; TV out; and support for ATI-TV, an add-on TV Tuner card. This was the first 3D production card that was designed to run 32 bit color games.
Speed - In 16 bit color games, the card was tested to be a little slower than a RIVA TNT card. However, when tested in a 32 bit color game, the card was about 30% faster than a RIVA TNT card.
Verdict- It is in the same class as the RIVA TNT based cards. The card has a very good reputation as a TV out card especially when used with a DVD player. <Note: The RAGE MAGNUM, XPERT 128, XPERT 99, All-in-Wonder 128, and the XPERT 2000 also use the RAGE 128GL graphics chip and should have similar performance to the ATI RAGE FURY. See ATI's web site for more information.>
ATI RAGE 128 PRO
The ATI RAGE 128 PRO chipset is the next generation after ATI's 128GL graphics chip. This AGP 2X/4X card, with a 2D/3D chip is usually matched with 32 MB of SDRAM memory. The chip is designed to process 16 or 32 bit true color graphics. Windows 95b (OSR2) or Windows 98 is required to run cards based on the ATI RAGE 128 PRO.
This chipset features an 8 million triangles/second set-up engine which puts it in the same speed range as the RIVA TNT2 and the Voodoo3 cards.
ATI graphics cards that will use this chipset include: ALL-IN-WONDER 128 PRO - The All in One TV, Video and Graphics Card; RAGE FURY PRO - True Color 3D Graphics and DVD Acceleration; and the XPERT 2000 PRO - Value 3D Graphics and DVD. These cards are due out at various times in the first quarter of 2000.
ATI Rage Fury Maxx
The Rage Fury Maxx is a 64 MB 2D/3D, Windows 98, AGP 2X/4X card. It is powered by dual ATI RAGE 128 PRO graphics chips (similar to the Voodoo SLI mode) using ATI's MAXX™ technology. The company claims that the card has a fill rate of 500 million pixels per second, which puts it in the class of the NVIDIA GeForce 256. The speed of the board is estimated to be 125 MHz and it uses 143 MHz SDRAM. It has a 300 MHz DAC.
ATI Radeon 256
The Radeon 256 is ATI's answer to the NVidia GeForce2 GTS. The Radian is capable of 1.5 Gigatexels/second fill rate and can draw 30 million triangles per second. <These ealry test figures makes one wonder if the production versions of this board will outpace the GeForce2 GTS with its 1.6 Gigatexels/second fill rate and 25 million triangles per second rendering speeds.>
The Radeon is capable of using 128MB of on-board DDR DRAM at a speed of 200 MHz. This GPU is also one of the first PC graphics chip to include an on-chip hardware HDTV decoder.
Per ATI, this GPU is due out sometime this Summer. <Mac G4 owners are anxious for the release of Radeon 256 graphics cards.>
Intel's 752 graphics accelerator is an 8 or 16 MB, 2D/3D, 2X AGP (which is surprising because its not 2X/4X) with a 250 MHz RAMDAC. Intel claims the card can render 3M Triangles/Second and it has 100M Pixels/Second fill rate (which is a little more than half the fill rate of a RIVA TNT based card). Intel more or less admits the card is not a 3D speed demon, positioning it as "designed for mainstream PC users who want better visual quality on all of the exciting new multimedia applications available on a PC".
The card is supposedly optimized for Pentium IIs and IIIs (that probably means it will crash an AMD based machine) and it features software DVD support.
Latest rumors are that due to the lackluster performance of this card, Intel will no longer make stand alone graphics cards.
NVidia's RIVA TNT was used in AGP 2X, 2D/3D graphics cards from several manufactures, probably two of the most popular cards were the Diamond Viper 550 and the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT . These cards typically came with 16 MB of memory and had 250 MHz DACs. They were pretty much the speed kings of their day (which ended when the Voodoo 3 and the RIVA TNT 2 came out) except when pitted against two Voodoo 2 cards in SLI mode. These cards have a 180 million pixels-per-second fill rate
RIVA TNT 2 (also Ultra, and Pro)
NVIDIA's second generation graphics chip. These 2D/3D AGP 2X/4X cards typically feature 16-32 MBs of video memory, 300 MHz DACs, and true 32 bit color.
Graphics Chip and Memory Speed - The speed of the RIVA TNT chip is normally 125 MHz with the graphics memory clock set at 150 MHz. However, this chip is readily overclocked, which has led to the RIVA TNT Ultra type cards with a chip speed of 150 MHz and a 183 MHz memory clock. Some owners of Ultra cards can overclock their cards further to a 175 MHz chip speed and a 200 MHz memory clock.
RIVA TNT 2 vs Ultra RIVA TNT 2 Speed Difference - per tests performed by Gamecenter the difference between the two types of cards is from 0-8% depending on resolution and color depth. The price difference for the two cards is between $40-$70.
TNT 2 Pro - An OEM version of the TNT 2 chip. The TNT 2 Pro delivers over 280 million pixels per second of processing power.
NVIDIA Vanta LT
This latest addition to the NVIDIA family is a low-cost, 128-bit TwiN Texel, highly integrated 2D/3D graphics processor, designed specifically for the value-conscious users. Leveraging the RIVA TNT2 core architecture, NVIDIA's Vanta LT delivers breakthrough 3D and industry leading 2D graphics performance, making it the ideal solution for small/medium business desktops. In addition to its graphics capabilities, the NVIDIA Vanta LT provides complete support for video, software and hardware DVD playback as well as the latest system technologies including AGP and Windows 2000.
Aladdin TNT2 Chipset
Merging ALi's proven Slot 1/Socket 370 Northbridge design and NVIDIA's award-winning RIVA TNT2(TM) 3D graphics core, the Aladdin TNT2 is the first integrated graphics chipset based on fourth-generation graphics technology. The Aladdin TNT2's graphics engine is derived from NVIDIA's award-winning RIVA TNT2 graphics processor and maintains the stunning quality that TNT2 delivers, including 32-bit rendering, 32-bit Z/stencil buffer and up to 32MB of dedicated frame buffer.
Additional performance enhancements include a 128-bit TwiN Texel graphics pipeline (two texture-mapped, lit pixels per clock), video in, TV out and TMDS or Digital Flat Panel support up to 1280 x 1024 resolution. A fully compatible WHQL-certified DVD decoder software solution for RIVA TNT2 is also included.
NVIDIA GeForce 256
NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) unveiled on September 1 the GeForce 256(TM), the world's first graphics processing unit (GPU) which has floating point power "equivalent to a Cray T3D".
According to NVIDIA the GeForce 256 represents several industry firsts including: first 256-bit 3D processor, first integrated geometry transform engine, first integrated dynamic lighting engine, and first four-pixel rendering pipeline.
Processor specifics from NVIDIA. " The GeForce 256 GPU is an immensely complex device with nearly 23 million transistors, more than twice the complexity of the Pentium III microprocessor. And with 50 Gigaflops of floating-point calculation capability dedicated to 3D, equivalent to the performance of a maximum configuration 256-processor Cray T3D, NVIDIA's GeForce 256 GPU delivers 15 million sustained polygons per second and more than 480 million pixels per second."
GeForce 256 supports up to 128MB of frame buffer memory, AGP 4X with Fast Writes - a unique feature in GeForce 256 - and a 350MHz RAMDAC to drive the most extreme resolutions and color depths, up to 2048 x 1536 @ 75Mhz. In addition to DirectX support, the GeForce 256 GPU provides full support for an OpenGL(R) Installable Client Driver (ICD) for Windows(R) 2000 and Windows NT(R).
Add-in card manufacturers developing GeForce 256-based graphics boards include: Creative Labs, ELSA, Guillemot, ASUSTeK, Canopus and Leadtek.
GeForce 256 with DDR memory. On 21 December, the GeForce 256 went on sale with 32 MB of DDR memory and on March 7, this was increased to 64 MB of DDR memory. See Graphics Card news above for more information.
NVIDIA(TM) Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) announced on November 2nd the Quadro(TM) workstation GPU.
Per NVIDIA, the Quadro GPU is able to process more than 200 billion operations per second, and the Quadro leads the performance scores for entry-level and mid-range Windows NT(R) workstation markets. The Quadro delivers up to 17 million triangles per second and a texture fill rate of up to 540 million pixels per second (in contrast, NVIDIA's GeForce 256 GPU delivers 15 million sustained polygons per second and more than 480 million pixels per second).
Quadro offers advanced features demanded by content creation professionals such as anti-aliased points and lines, two-sided lighting, front buffer 3D clipping and shared back-buffer support. NVIDIA Quadro-based products will ship with Intel(R)'s next-generation Pentium(R) III- and AMD Athlon(TM)-optimized OpenGL(R) drivers for Windows(R) 2000, Windows NT and Linux.
The NVIDIA Quadro workstation GPU will be offered in the new GLoria II professional graphics accelerator board from Elsa Inc.
ELSA's GLoria II 2D/3D graphics accelerator sets a new standard by offering high-end workstation graphics functionality and performance for under $900. With up to 64MB graphics memory and a 350 MHz RAMDAC, GLoria II delivers powerful graphics performance for game development, film animation and effects, computer-aided design and engineering (CAD/CAE), and image processing requirements.
Quadro with DDR memory. On 21 December, the Quadro went on sale with DDR memory. See Graphics Card news above for more information.For more information on the Quadro GPU, please visit the Company's web site at http://www.nvidia.com/.
NVIDIA Quadro 2
Previously, NVIDIA sold graphics chipsets to board manufacturers and PC OEMs. With this new product line, NVIDIA offers two complete workstation board solutions.
Quadro2 Pro - Delivers an 31 million triangles per second and one gigapixel per second rendering power -- resulting in fast, dedicated application performance for game content development, film effects and visualization.
In addition, the Quadro2 Pro delivers advanced features such as anti-aliased points and lines, two-sided lighting, full transform, front buffer 3D clipping and shared back-buffer support for powerful 3D modeling, design and drafting performance.
NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro's 350MHz RAMDAC enables displays up to 2048x1536 resolution. With its 64MB of DDR memory and 6.4 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth the Quadro2 Pro delivers realtime frame rates with 32-bit color at high resolutions.
Quadro2 MXR - Delivers 25 million triangles per second and 400 million pixels per second. It provides a cost-effective solution for mainstream professional end users who want the benefits of advanced workstation solutions but at an affordable price.
Through its TwinView(TM) display architecture, Quadro2 MXR offers unparalleled flexibility in display options. TwinView supports a dizzying array of multidisplay configurations, allowing various combinations of multiple monitors, flat panels, and TVs to be connected to a single Quadro2 MXR.
TwinView even supports two independent flat panels, an industry first. "Maya users are going to be all over these two new workstation GPUs," said Bob Bennett, General Manager of Entertainment Business Unit at AliasWavefront. "The new dual-display support of Quadro2 MXR is a workflow enhancer that will be especially appreciated."
New Partnership with Elsa. NVIDIA and ELSA signed a letter of intent to combine their workstation expertise to build a complete line of industry leading professional workstation products. The two companies will jointly market a complete line of workstation products, designed and built by NVIDIA. NVIDIA will market directly to all major OEMs, while ELSA will receive the worldwide exclusive distribution rights to market to all other channels, including system integrators, value-added resellers and distributors. As part of the partnership, ELSA's workstation graphics engineering team will join NVIDIA. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed. More information on Elsa can be found at www.elsa.com.
The Quadro2 Pro and Quadro2 MXR are scheduled to be available in Q3 2000. NVIDIA will sell Quadro2 solutions directly to OEMs. ELSA will sell and market the NVIDIA solutions to other channels through an exclusive partnership also announced today.
NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS
The GeForce2 GTS includes the NVIDIA Shading Rasterizer (NSR), a radical new technology that enables advanced per-pixel shading capabilities. This breakthrough technology has the ability to process seven pixel operations in a single pass on each of four pixel pipelines, simultaneously.
The NSR allows per-pixel control of color, shadow, light, reflectivity, emissivity, specularity, gloss, dirt, and other visual and material components used to create amazingly realistic objects and environments. Per-pixel shading delivers the next-generation of visual realism by going beyond the limited texture mapping techniques of previous graphics processors.
Did someone say speed? The GeForce2 GTS achieves an astounding four pixels per clock (dual-textured) or eight texels per clock and delivers 1.6 billion texels (or 1.6 gigatexels) per second, 800 million pixels per second and 25 million polygons per second -- more than twice the performance of the award-winning GeForce 256(TM) and more than three times the texture processing power of any competitive consumer graphics product. GeForce2 GTS drives the most extreme resolutions and color depths of up to 2048 x 1536 x 32 at 75 MHz.
Another key feature of GeForce2 GTS is its High Definition Video Processor (HDVP), which enables a variety of crystal-clear HDTV solutions when combined with a mainstream CPU and a low-cost DTV receiver. The HDVP allows mainstream high-performance processors to support all 18 Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) formats with a simple, cost-effective DTV receiver card.
Attention Quake Players. John Carmack, id Software stated, "Per-pixel shading, utilizing cube environment mapping and normalized dot product bump maps, looks incredibly good across an entire world. Everyone at id is way psyched about developing new content with the GeForce2 GTS."
The Savage 4 Pro+ chipset is manufactured by S3 Inc., which recently purchased Diamond Multimedia. The Savage 4 Pro+ is a 2D/3D 4X AGP chipset that features 32 MB video memory support, 32 bit true color rendering, native support for S3TC video compression technology, hardware-accelerated DVD, and is typically paired with a 300 MHz DAC.
S3TC - is S3's video compression technology which is supported by Direct X 6.0. S3TC compression allows for very large textures to be used with little color loss. Currently, there are no games that use S3TC compression, which renders the Savage 4 chipset's native support mute. S3TC games should start appearing this Fall, but by then there might be a whole new flock of video cards.
Speed - This accelerator is a very poor performer in 3D. Without the use of S3TC, it is about half as fast as a RIVA TNT 2 card.
Graphics cards - One of the graphics cards based on the Savage 4 Pro+ chipset is Diamond's SpeedStar A90. The SpeedStar A90 integrates 16MB of 125MHz SDRAM memory, 128-bit processing, and complete AGP 4X support.
Due out in September, the new Savage4 Xtreme(TM) chipset, has all the features of the Savage 4 Pro + except the new chipset is supposed to be faster in 3D (which it needs to be). The memory clock speed of the Xtreme is 166 MHz vs. 143 MHz on the plain Savage 4.
One of the first cards announced to use the Savage4 Xtreme(TM) chipset is Diamond's Stealth III S540 Xtreme. This card is a 4X AGP, 32 MB, 2D/3D card which supports DVD hardware compression.
On 29 August, S3 announced details of its new Savage2000 2D/3D 4X AGP chipset which will be available in video cards in October.
The Savage 2000 chipset supports: 64 MB of graphics memory, new 3D technology which includes Dual Pixel/Dual Texture Pipeline (allows a fill rate of 700 Megatexels/second which is twice as fast as a Voodoo3 3500), QuadTexture(TM) Engine (has the ability to composite four textures in a single cycle), and S3TL(TM) Technology (4-10X speed producing lighting and polygon complexity), and DTV/DVD Playback.
Diamond unveils its new Viper II graphics accelerators. The card is powered by S3(R) Incorporated's (Nasdaq: SIII) Savage2000+(tm) chip and includes: 32MB of on-board memory, DVD hardware acceleration, and TV out. Slated for shipment in late October, Diamond Multimedia's Viper II, is expected to carry a U.S. estimated retail price (ERP) of under $200.
Diamond Multimedia also plans to introduce an even higher-performance version of its Viper II graphics accelerator - the Viper II LE. Featuring S3's Savage 2000+ graphics controller, Diamond's Viper II LE with 64MB of on-board memory is slated for introduction in Q4 1999 and is targeted to carry a U.S. ERP of under $270.
For more information on the Savage 2000, visit http://www.s3.com/savage2000/index.htm.
Matrox G400 Max
With the release of the G400 Max, Matrox has again become a leader in the 3D graphics arena. Their G400 chipset is a 2D/3D AGP 4X chipset that supports up to 32 MB of graphics memory, 32 bit color, 300 or 350 MHz DAC, TV out, DVD acceleration, and it has DualHead Display which allows a single AGP card to support two separate displays.
Speed - Contrary to Matrox's claims of being 30% faster than a RIVA TNT 2 card, it was tested by Gamecenter to have about the same performance as a RIVA TNT 2 Ultra. Anyway, that's not to shabby.
3dfx Voodoo Cards
Said by 3dfx to be shipping soon, this will be their first video card to feature dual S-100 graphics processors. The Voodoo 5 5500 will be capable of a 667-733 million pixels per second, which makes this card faster than a NVidia GeForce 256 (480 million pixels per second fill rate) but it is slower than the raw speed of the GeForce2 GTS (800 million pixel/second fill rate).
The card has a 350 MHz RAMDAC and has DVD hardware support. The Voodoo5 will still run all Glide software, so you can still play all your old Voodoo games. The card will also support OpenGL and DirectX formatted games and applications. The pre-order price of the Voodoo5 5500 card is $300.
There will also be a future Voodoo5 6000 card that will be capable of a fill rate of 1.5 gigatexels.
Cornerstone Peripherals Technology, Inc. (Cornerstone) and 3dfx Interactive(R), Inc. (3dfx) announced on November 4th their first co-branded video graphics card, ImageAccel Velocity(TM), with the industry's first 380Hz RAMDAC.
Greg Harris, Vice President of Marketing for Cornerstone stated "3dfx and Cornerstone together have developed the first graphics card to drive 2048 x 1536 resolution at the flicker free standard of 85Hz."
Available in both AGP and PCI versions, the card supports true color depth (24-bit) with 16MB of video memory, and ships in December at a suggested price of $170.
For more information on the ImageAccel Velocity , visit Cornerstone's web site at http://www.bigmonitors.com/Velocity .
3dfx Voodoo3 - There will be three new 2D/3D Voodoo3 graphics cards which are scheduled to be released by the end of March. There will be no 3D only Voodoo3 card. All three cards support DirectX, Glide and OpenGL graphics and DVD Hardware Assist. In addition, 3dfx will release a 4X AGP Voodoo3 this Fall when Intel releases its Camino chipset.
What about speed? Are they faster than 2 Voodoo2 cards in SLI mode? Yes. Voodoo3 cards can render from 6 - 8 million triangles per second versus Voodoo2 SLI at 3 million. Also, Voodoo3 can display 3D in greater than 1024x768 mode, and it can also display 3D in a window.
The Three Voodoo3 Cards and their Specs
Voodoo3 2000 AGP/PCI - 16MB SDRAM, 143MHz Core Clock Speed, 6 Million Triangles/sec, 286 Megatexels/sec. Supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. Full 128-Bit 2D accelerator, and 300 MHz RAMDAC.
Voodoo3 3000 AGP - 16MB SDRAM, 166MHz Core Clock Speed, 7 Million Triangles/sec 333 Megatexels/sec. Supports resolutions up to 2048 x1536. Full 128-Bit 2D accelerator, 350 MHz RAMDAC, TV/S-Video out. DVD Hardware Assist Supports DirectX, Glide and OpenGL
Voodoo3 3500 AGP- 16MB SGRAM, 183MHz Core Clock, Speed 8 Million Triangles/sec 366 Megatexels/sec. Supports resolutions up to 2048x1536. Full 128-Bit 2D accelerator. 350 MHz RAMDAC, TV/S-Video out, Real-Time MPEG-2 Video and Audio Capture, Intelligent TV - Tuner, Digital VCR and FM Tuner.
The Voodoo2 began shipping in February of 1998. These cards work best on Pentium II class machines. The Voodoo2 is a 3D only card that is connected to the user's 2D card with a pass-through cable.
Voodoo2 (V2 1000)- 90Mhz speed, 135 MHz RAMDAC, 90 Mpixels/sec sustained fill rate for bilinear textures, with LOD MIP-mapping, Z-buffering, alpha-blending and fogging enabled
Voodoo2 SLI - Two Voodoo2 cards connected together by a cable or on the same graphics board. 360 Mtexels per second of sustained, multitexturing fill rate. GlQuake timedemos around 200 frames per second, and 1024 x 768 resolution.
Voodoo Banshee - 100 MHz, 250 MHz integrated RAMDAC, 2D/3D card which is based on the Voodoo2 for 3D and has a 128 bit 2D engine. The card is a little slower in 3D than a Voodoo 2. 100 Mpixels/sec, 100 Mtexels/sec, and up to 4 Million triangles/sec.
Voodoo Graphics- This is the original 4 MB PCI card that has a sustained speed of 30 fps. This is a 3D only card that must be connected to a 2D graphics card with a pass-through cable. This card works best on a Pentium class computer, and in fact, there is little speed difference between this card and a Voodoo2 card on a Pentium class computer (on a Pentium II class computer the Voodoo2 is twice as fast as a Voodoo Graphics card).
Voodoo Rush - A derivative of the Voodoo graphics chip for 2D/3D boards. This chip never reached the performance level of the Voodoo Graphics chip in 3D. It's claim to fame was that it could run 3D graphics in a window. If you have a Pentium class machine and want a 2D/3D graphics board then look for a combo board with the Voodoo Graphics chip.
Sites that Review 3D Graphics Cards
Some sites that review graphics boards include: CNet's Gamecenter, GameSpot, The Meter, and PC World.
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