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ATI boosts graphics processors

ATI, one of leading graphics chip vendors, ships a second-generation graphics processor as well as technology which lets users connect a PC to large-screen TVs.

ATI, one of leading graphics chip vendors, has begun shipping a second-generation graphics processor as well as technology which lets users connect a PC to large-screen TVs.

The ATI 3D RAGE II chip is an enhanced, pin-compatible version of its current RAGE accelerator. The second-generation PCI-bus compatible chip boosts 2D performance by 20 percent and adds support for MPEG2 playback.

The new graphics processor is based on a re-engineered mach64 GUI engine that provides optimal 2D performance with either single-cycle EDO memory or high-speed SGRAM, the company said.

Current titles which support ATI's chip include 3D games such as Activision's MechWarrior and applications such as the WIRL 3D Web Browser from Vream.

The chip also supports acceleration of photo-realistic applications by providing true color performance at resolutions up to 1280 by 1024. RAGE II is also powerful enough for desktop publishing and CAD users who demand high performance at up to 1600-by-1200 resolution, the company said.

In addition, RAGE II is designed as a video processor, capable of supporting full-screen, full-motion, TV-quality video such as MPEG and Video CD 2.0 movie disks without the need for costly video decoder chips.

The chip also has extensive driver support including Microsoft Direct 3D and Reality Lab, QuickDraw 3D Rave, Criterion Renderware, and Argonaut BRender. OpenGL drivers are available for the professional 3D and CAD community and Heidi drivers are available for AutoCAD users. Drivers are also provided in operating systems including Windows 95, Windows NT, the MacOS, and OS/2.

The price for the 3D RAGE II is $35 for quantities of 10,000. The RAGE II supports Intel's MMX multimedia technology.

ATI is also shipping a companion chip for RAGE II, the ImpacTV chip. This chip ensures RAGE II images appear as crisp, flicker-free graphics on a big-screen television.

Home PC users can watch movies, play video games, or browse the Internet on their TVs.

ImpacTV has been sampling since August and has just entered volume production. The price for the ImpacTV is $20 for quantities of 10,000.