3DLabs designs and sells both workstation-class and consumer level 3D, 2D, and video accelerator chips and supporting software applications.
"Our next generation of products will definitely be AGP-compatible. We can do either a card or a chip on the motherboard, but we'd like to get on to the motherboard," said James Carrington, a director of marketing with the company. AGP will provide a significantly higher speed for graphics and facilitate fast access to host memory. These high-speed transfers allow the use of main memory for computation-intensive effects like texturing, alpha blending. and z-buffering instead of requiring more expensive SGRAM (synchronous graphics RAM).
Carrington says the advantage to having a chip on the board is that the chip can access system memory at about the same speed as the host processor, which results in improved graphics and lower cost than a similar card design.
The move into AGP chips could place the company in an unusual position. Intel is cooperating with Lockheed Martin to produce their own 3D accelerator graphics chip in a possible bid to dominate the one market in the chip industry that they are not currently in. At the same time, Intel is also an investor in 3DLabs, and they own 212,992 shares out of the 2.5 million just placed on the stock exchange.
Carrington said that more details on any new 3DLabs chips is likely to come next year at around the time that the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.