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3Dlabs chip speeds graphics

3dlabs unveils a second-generation 3D-processing technology that will accelerate graphics using a single chip.

3Dlabs (TDDDF) unveiled a second-generation, AGP-compliant 3D processing technology that will accelerate graphics using a single chip.

The company says its single Glint Gamma processor will accelerate graphics tasks such as transforms, lighting, and clipping. Before, several digital signal processors used in conjunction with special software were required. In doing so, a complete AGP-compliant 3D accelerator solution will fit a smaller board for lower total cost.

AGP is a high-performance 3D graphics technology targeted for use in mainstream PCs and personal workstations. Specifically, AGP is a dedicated connection between 3D graphics chips and system memory that is designed to help the PC keep up with the demands of data-intensive 3D applications. AGP can store information in excess system memory rather than in more expensive memory chips commonly used with graphics accelerators.

The Glint Gamma processor will provide the host processor an additional 1 Gflop (one billion floating point operations per second) of processing power.

Typically, a host processor such as the upcoming Pentium II processor from Intel performs the task of drawing very small triangles that are then filled in by the accelerator card. The more triangles used, the more realistic the graphics, but drawing more triangles also requires additional processing power. The Glint Gamma will handle a portion of those tasks, speeding up graphics performance.

Personal computers using AGP-compliant accelerators are expected to arrive in the second half of this year, coinciding with the introduction of systems using the Pentium II, which will be the successor to the Pentium Pro. No pricing or availability for products using the new technology from 3Dlabs was announced today.