3DLabs Samples PERMEDIA 3 Graphics Processor

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- 3Dlabs®, Inc. today announced immediate sampling of the new 3Dlabs PERMEDIA® 3 graphics processor, with volume shipment expected in second quarter of 1999. PERMEDIA 3, the first 128-bit device in the award-winning PERMEDIA product family, incorporates support for 32-bit true-color displays, a full 32-bit Z-buffer and up to 32 Mbytes of graphics RAM to deliver high-quality picture realism as well as exceptional 3D and 2D performance. With a fill-rate of 125 million multi-textured pixels-per-second, PERMEDIA 3 offers the graphics power desired by game enthusiasts, mainstream PC consumers, and corporate desktop users.

``Our market research indicates the Performance PC add-in board (AIB) sector will grow from 33.8 million units (shipped) in 1998 to almost 56 million by 2002-one of the fastest growing AIB segments in the PC industry,'' said Dr. Jon Peddie, president, Jon Peddie Associates (Tiburon, Calif.) ``3Dlabs has made impressive moves to broaden their potential customer base to include the consumer market. PERMEDIA 3 will be a strong challenger for consumer and corporate design wins during 1999.''

Incorporating 3Dlabs' unique Virtual Texture technology, PERMEDIA 3 has hardware support that manages both on-board and system texture map memory as virtual memory for textures. When compared to other solutions, the peak performance of Virtual Textures can reduce the amount of data transferred across the AGP bus up to 4000 times. Virtual Texturing optimizes board texture memory and AGP bus bandwidth by handling texture maps in 4kb pages. These pages are demand-loaded into texture memory only as needed, allowing both the usage of non-contiguous local memory, which maximizes on-card texture map storage requirement, and the reduction of AGP bus utilization without degrading image quality. PERMEDIA 3's transparent support for Virtual Texture in Direct3D and OpenGL applications enables developers to allocate standard API texture resources only when needed.

PERMEDIA 3 provides a comprehensive implementation of the 2D, 3D, and video components of the Microsoft® DirectX® 6.1 API. In addition to triangle setup processing, PERMEDIA 3 also has a multi-stage rasterizer that implements advanced features such as bump mapping, alpha blending, tri-linear mip-mapping and Direct3D® 6 blend mode operations. For optimized digital video performance, PERMEDIA 3 has a complete video subsystem including filtered hardware overlay, colorspace conversion, and motion compensation for software DVD and MPEG2 playback.

Additionally, PERMEDIA 3 has a Triple-Blend texture core that can deliver unprecedented realism at full performance. With the ability to render up to eight Direct3D Texture Stage operations in a single pass, the PERMEDIA 3 Triple-Blend core can be used, for example, to apply a bumpmap on a surface texture map with a glossmap all in a single pass operation. This capability will enable application developers to deliver extremely realistic content to consumers while still maintaining fast frame rates at high resolutions and color depths.

``AMD is very excited to have 3Dlabs support our 3DNow! technology in their new PERMEDIA 3 chip. With the combination of 3DNow! and PERMEDIA 3, users will have available to them an unprecedented level of performance at great pricing,'' said Ned Finkle, director of Infrastructure Technology Development for Advanced Micro Devices.

PERMEDIA 3 includes 2D driver support for Windows® 95 and 98 as well as Windows NT® 4.0 and Windows 2000; and 3D driver support includes Direct X 6.0/6.1 and an OpenGL® installable client driver (ICD) tuned for game engine performance. The OpenGL ICD provides support for the multi-texture extensions utilized by Quake II as well as other game engines and it also supports the 3DNow!(TM) instruction set available in x86 CPUs from AMD and other vendors. The PERMEDIA 3 drivers are expected to pass WHQL testing and ship to customers during the second quarter of 1999.


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