3Dlabs Announces PERMEDIA 2 Graphics Processor for Low-cost
2D, 3D, Geometry and Video Acceleration
Integrates 1M 3D polygon/sec, 110 Winmarks 2D, MPEG-2 video playback, DVD support and geometry setup processing; Targeted at commercial desktop, entry-level professional and power consumer markets
San Jose, CA., May 21, 1997 3Dlabs® Inc. (NASDAQ:TDDDF) today announced PERMEDIA® 2 the second generation of its low-cost graphics processor family targeted at the commercial desktop, entry-level professional and power consumer markets. PERMEDIA 2 is a highly-integrated graphics processor that accelerates 2D and 3D graphics, 3D geometry setup processing and MPEG-2 video playback.
PERMEDIA 2 increases performance by up to two times over the first-generation PERMEDIA while significantly reducing system cost through higher integration. PERMEDIA 2 incorporates a full floating-point geometry setup processor, based on proven GLINT® Delta technology, a high-performance 230MHz RAMDAC and an enhanced graphics engine with unified 2D, 3D and video acceleration. PERMEDIA 2 is fully-compatible with both PCI and AGP busses.
In a separate release, 3Dlabs today announced 14 design wins for PERMEDIA 2 including: #9, AccelGraphics, Canopus Corporation, Diamond Multimedia, Digital Equipment Corporation, ELSA, Hercules Computing Technology, I-O Data, Melco, NeTpower, Newer Technologies, Radius, STB and Symmetric (a subsidiary of STB). PERMEDIA 2 is sampling now with a list price of $35 in volumes of 10K/month. PERMEDIA 2-based boards and systems are expected to start shipping in volume in the second half of 1997.
PERMEDIA 2 provides leading graphics performance. Some measured figures using beta drivers include: 110 Business Graphics Winmarks under Windows NT 4.0 at 1024x768x16 bits, one million texture-mapped 3D polygons-per-second and 80 million texture-mapped pixels-per-second with full perspective correction, bilinear-filtering and fogging enabled. Using the Ziff-Davis 3D Winbench benchmark, PERMEDIA 2 exceeded any currently published figures for integrated 2D/3D devices with a score of 131.
PERMEDIA 2 provides a compelling graphics solution for the commercial desktop by integrating high-performance 3D with no-compromise 2D in a low-cost package that exploits 3Dlabs' extensive range of software drivers. PERMEDIA 2 is also unique among low-cost graphics chips in being designed for OpenGL® performance and being able to run 3Dlabs' full OpenGL Installable Client Driver making it an ideal entry-level graphics solution for the personal workstation market.
PERMEDIA 2 has been developed under the technology licensing relationship between Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) and 3Dlabs. 3Dlabs and Texas Instruments will be co-marketing PERMEDIA 2 devices.
PERMEDIA 2 directly accelerates 3Dlabs' extensive range of software drivers that have been developed for the GLINT and PERMEDIA chip families, enabling OEMs to offer wide range of price/performance options while supporting just a single set of drivers. These robust and highly optimized drivers include an OpenGL Installable Client Driver and Autodesk's Heidi for Windows® NT 4.0 and Windows 95 and Direct3D for Windows 95. 3Dlabs has currently invested over 70 work years in its OpenGL Installable Client Driver, alone. Windows NT 5.0 and Memphis drivers are also being developed. This extensive set of APIs is expected to allow PERMEDIA 2-based boards to provide robust acceleration for almost all 3D applications ranging from high-end CAD packages such as SolidWorks to Direct3D game titles.
"PERMEDIA 2 strengthens our original vision of 'Pervasive 3D'," said Osman Kent, president and CEO of 3Dlabs. "PERMEDIA 2 delivers the robust 3D graphics for which 3Dlabs is well known, complete with no-compromise 2D and video acceleration. We have accomplished this at a price point that will bring high-performance 3D to another tier of mainstream desktops."
"3Dlabs has consistently been among the best to accelerate Direct3D," said Ty Graham, 3D IHV evangelist at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). "PERMEDIA 2 will play a crucial part in continuing to push the envelope of high-performance, robust 3D on the Windows platform."
"PERMEDIA 2 is an important step in enabling OEMs to build cost-effective professional 3D into every Intel Architecture-based workstation," said Kelly Stuart, IHV marketing manager at Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). "In addition, PERMEDIA 2's AGP-compatibility delivers workstation professionals an even higher level of 3D quality at the entry-level, thus supporting Intel's Visual Computing Initiative."
"3Dlabs has proven to be an excellent partner to Apple®, thanks to their aggressive support for QuickDraw® 3D," said Shawn Hopwood, QuickDraw 3D product manager at Apple Computer, Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL). "3Dlabs has enabled a number of Power Macintosh® board vendors such as Radius and Newer Technologies to come to market with professional-quality 3D graphics boards that fully leverage the strengths of our platform in multimedia and 3D, and we believe PERMEDIA 2 will continue that legacy."
"PERMEDIA 2 contains many innovations, that make it a very significant new part," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Associates, Tiburon, CA. "The unified graphics architecture of PERMEDIA 2 goes beyond using a single processor for normal 2D and 3D operations, to fully leverage the graphics core for accelerating advanced pixel functionality. Our 3D market study indicates the demand for mainstream parts like this will exceed 40 million in 1997. However, only cost-effective, high-performance parts are going to enjoy this explosive market."
"With PERMEDIA 2, 3Dlabs has brought its high-end 3D technology into the mass market. This should enable office applications of 3D," said John Latta, president of 4th Wave, Alexandria, VA. "Now that the proven GLINT Delta setup processor has been integrated into its 3D engine, it is possible for the corporate desktop to have both class-leading 3D performance and the 2D performance necessary for mainstream office productivity applications."
PERMEDIA 2 Technical Information
PERMEDIA 2 integrates a complete floating point geometry setup processor derived from proven GLINT Delta technology, that offloads all geometry setup processing from the host into a compact, hard-wired, floating point engine. PERMEDIA 2 accelerates texture normalization and floating point edge slope calculations, enables vertex sharing, as well as performing floating point to fixed-point data conversions. This "Full Setup" engine reduces both CPU load and backplane bandwidth by up to 70%, enabling a true one million polygons-per-second performance with reduced CPU loading.
PERMEDIA 2 is designed for an SGRAM memory array of 2, 4, 6 or 8Mbytes using 100MHz parts, and uses many innovative design techniques to deliver fast rasterization performance, including tiled memory access, extensive caching, multiple simultaneously open pages and extensive control of the SGRAM block fill mode. All PERMEDIA 2 memory is dynamically allocated on demand to 2D and 3D buffer functions.
PERMEDIA 2's integrated high-performance RAMDAC supports numerous pixel formats to ensure efficient use of memory resources, including the display of packed 24 bit pixels. The maximum RAMDAC frequency of 230MHz allows display resolutions of up to 1600x1200 at 83Hz.
PERMEDIA 2 contains a full 256-entry texture lookup table, permitting the use of 4- or 8-bit palletized textures with no performance penalty. PERMEDIA 2's texture lookup can be used to provide hardware-independent texture compression with a compression ratio of up to four times.
PERMEDIA 2 implements advanced video handling capabilities, including "Virtual Overlays," which manipulate a real-time video stream in 3D texture memory. This allows PERMEDIA 2's unified graphics engine to apply any 2D or 3D operations to the video stream at full frame rate. The advanced video processing capabilities of PERMEDIA 2 include handling an arbitrary number of video windows with independent XY scaling with XY filtering and optional mirroring, perspective correction for 3D video mapping, and Z-buffering and alpha-blending of video for advanced video effects in a 3D environment. PERMEDIA 2 also supports MPEG-2 acceleration, including color-conversion processing for native MPEG-2 YUV video streams and a dedicated DMA engine.
PERMEDIA 2 provides two independent VMI-compatible busses for bringing real-time video streams into and out of external hardware. The input interface can be used to support an external TV tuner, or for providing complete DVD decoding acceleration in hardware. The output interface can be used to drive an external high-quality TV encoder, providing a TV out capability independently controllable from the primary display an essential feature for PC 97 compatibility.
PERMEDIA 2 provides full Macintosh-compatibility, with 100% QuickDraw 3D functionality and full byte swapping for seamless operation in PCI Power Macintoshes. The QuickDraw 3D functionality implemented in PERMEDIA 2 includes specular lighting and texture and blending modes not included in OpenGL.
Founded in 1994, 3Dlabs is a leading innovator and a fabless supplier of high-performance graphics semiconductors, software and related technologies designed to bring cost-effective 2D and 3D graphics to the personal computer. The Company has introduced eight 3D graphics processors over the last three years with price, performance and functionality designed to meet the demand for 3D on the PC, ranging from low-cost consumer to high-end professional market segments.
The Company markets and sells its award-winning merchant 3D graphics processors to PC and graphics board OEM customers and selectively licenses its embeddable graphics processor cores on a royalty-bearing basis to strategic technology partners such as Texas Instruments. Companies using 3Dlabs' graphics processors in their computers include Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, MaxVision, NEC, NeTpower, Siemens and TriStar. Leading board vendors using 3Dlabs' graphics processors include AccelGraphics, Creative Labs, Diamond Multimedia, ELSA and Symmetric (a subsidiary of STB).
Various matters set forth in this press release, such as statements (i) relating to the Company's ability to drive technological developments; (ii) the Company's growth and expansion into markets; (iii) the ability of the Company to successfully develop, integrate and market new technologies and products such as PERMEDIA 2 on any specific timescales, if at all; (iv) the proposed features and uses of new products; and (v) the proposed timing of the introduction of new products are forward looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, the Company's ability to complete development of new products and technologies in a commercially viable manner; the ability of the Company to continue to obtain and keep design wins for its current and future products; the ability of Company's current and future products to adequately meet the price/performance requirements of its customers; the success of the Company's customers in achieving sustained demand for systems incorporating the company's current and future products if at all; the impact and pricing of competitive products, including those from Company's licensees; the introduction of alternative technological advances and other risks detailed from time-to-time in 3Dlabs' SEC reports.
Notes to Editors Please note that 3Dlabs is written as one word, without a space and with a capital D. The recommended way of writing GLINT is all capitals and for PERMEDIA we recommend small caps or all caps, depending on the medium.
Neil Trevett, 3Dlabs Inc.
Phone: (408) 436-3455
Jonathan Hirshon, Horizon Public Relations
Phone: (408) 969 4888 x101
3Dlabs, GLINT and PERMEDIA are registered trademarks and GLINT MX, GLINT Delta, GLINT Gamma and PERMEDIA 2 are trademarks of 3Dlabs Inc. Ltd. Microsoft, Windows and Direct3D are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Pentium is a registered trademark of the Intel Corporation. OpenGL is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics, Inc. All other trademarks are acknowledged and recognized.