3Dlabs and Intel are teaming up in hopes of ensuring that future 3D graphics chips work well with Intel's forthcoming IA-64 family of microprocessors, the first of which will be the Merced chip, due in 1999.
For optimal 3D application performance, the graphics processor must be compatible with the interconnect busses proposed for the Merced processor's architecture. A bus is the pathway for the transmission of data between the computer's main processor and its other components, in this case the graphics processor.
The Merced architecture will initially be targeted at high-end servers and workstations. The latter is a core market for 3D graphics chips companies like 3Dlabs because workstations are used in graphics-intensive applications like MCAD (mechanical computer-aided design) and multimedia content creation.
Last month, Intel and Hewlett-Packard gave a glimpse of a 64-bit technology, dubbed "EPIC," that will underlie the superfast 64-bit processors like Merced that will begin to emerge from Intel in two years' time.