3Dlabs Announces New Professional Graphics

From 3dlabs’ press release:

3Dlabs Inc., Ltd. this week announced at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) 2004 trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, a major breakthrough in graphics architecture: Wildcat Realizm technology. The architecture combines a next-generation Visual Processing Unit (VPU) and a unique Vertex/Scalability Unit (VSU). These work together to enable a software-compatible family of graphics accelerators ranging from a single VPU AGP 8x solution to a unique dual-VPU configuration, which takes full advantage of the enhanced bandwidth of PCI Express. Wildcat Realizm is specifically designed to provide unmatched graphics productivity for CAD, DCC and visualization professionals. It represents a significant advancement in accelerating industrial-strength shader programs written in high-level shading languages such as the OpenGL Shading Language and Microsoft DirectX 9.0 HLSL. A range of products based on the Wildcat Realizm architecture is expected to be available mid-2004.

“3Dlabs revolutionized the workstation graphics industry when it delivered the first compiler-friendly VPU and initiated the creation of the OpenGL Shading Language,” said Hock Leow, president of 3Dlabs. “Wildcat Realizm technology builds on that significant innovation by creating a uniquely scalable architecture with unmatched programmability. Our innovative VSU outperforms ordinary PCI Express bridge chips by adding significant geometry processing power and supporting multiple VPUs to enable high-level shader programs that deliver new levels of professional productivity.”

Packed with more than 150 million transistors, the Wildcat Realizm VPU removes any boundaries to running professional-grade shader programs to generate cinematic-quality visuals in real time. Wildcat Realizm technology shatters the fragment shader programmability limits of previous architectures by supporting up to a quarter of a million instructions stored in virtual memory and by offering advanced flow control. Wildcat Realizm technology implements a full floating-point VPU pipeline, with up to full 32-bit floating point per component accuracy and direct display of floating point pixels – an industry first.

The Wildcat Realizm VSU provides extreme geometry performance while enabling a dual-VPU configuration to provide unmatched high-end graphics solutions. The Wildcat Realizm VSU receives graphics commands at full bandwidth from a 16-lane PCI Express interface and processes vertices with an incredible 67 billion floating point operations per second in a powerful SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) array of highly optimized vector processors. The VSU is then able to drive two VPUs at full bandwidth over a 8.4GB/sec interface while optimally distributing graphical primitives between the two VPUs to achieve a genuine doubling of both geometry and fill-rate performance.

“Wildcat Realizm technology will significantly advance the flexibility and complexity of graphics VPUs, to enable higher quality images and interactivity,” said Woll Newall, product manager at LightWork Design. “By working closely with 3Dlabs we have ensured that LightWork’s Real-time provides the perfect solution for application developers to take best advantage of these advances.”

“Hands down, the new Wildcat Realizm technology is truly an amazing engineering feat and incredible to see in action,” said Antony Hervo, solution partner manager at SolidWorks Corporation.  “SolidWorks® 2004 RealView customers can realize maximum speed and raw power when they team the OpenGL Shading Language and 3Dlabs’ Wildcat Realizm technology together.”

“Maya professionals require power, pixel accuracy and an unencumbered outlet for creativity,” said Rob Hoffmann, senior Maya manager for Alias. “3Dlabs has a history of exceptional products that deliver the performance our customers require. Based on that history, we can’t wait to see the performance, quality and functionality that Wildcat Realizm technology has for high performance graphics professionals.”

Wildcat Realizm Features and Benefits

  • AGP 8x and PCI Express Support: Built with every graphics professional in mind, 3Dlabs Wildcat Realizm technology will be available for both AGP and PCI Express systems.
  • Flexible Floating-Point Processing: Wildcat Realizm technology can process up to 128-bit pixels with full 32-bit floating point per component accuracy for the highest color fidelity. 128-bit pixels can be seamlessly converted to and from 64-bit pixels with 16-bit floating point per component accuracy that provides a full floating-point computing environment with optimized storage requirements.
  • Compiler-friendly SIMD Architecture: Wildcat Realizm’s processor resources are organized in regular and orthogonal SIMD arrays to ensure that 3Dlabs’ compilers produce efficient code that runs the most advanced shading programs.
  • Virtual Shader Program Storage: The largest shader programs can be effortlessly compiled and executed with Wildcat Realizm technology’s massive program size limits of up to 256K of instructions stored in virtual memory.
  • Efficient Hierarchical Z-buffer: Hierarchical Z-buffer culling rapidly determines which pixels are displayed or hidden so the processor does not waste clock cycles rendering portions of the scene that are not visible.
    Sophisticated Texture Access: The Wildcat Realizm VPU can access up to 32 textures simultaneously to enable highly sophisticated fragment shader programs to be written that efficiently process a large number of inputs in a single pass.
  • Performance-boosting DirectBurst Technology: The Wildcat Realizm VSU supports onboard DirectBurst memory that transparently stores rendering commands and geometry data on the graphics accelerator to significantly accelerate any geometry-intensive application.
  • Hardware-accelerated Imaging Pipeline: Wildcat Realizm technology features an imaging pipeline that is completely hardware accelerated to avoid image processing bottlenecks.
  • Extended Virtual Memory: Wildcat Realizm technology supports an extended virtual memory space up to 256 GB for leveraging the capabilities of 64-bit systems. With full-demand paging, designers can seamlessly manipulate larger models faster than before.
  • Multiple High-resolution Displays: Wildcat Realizm supports up to two, high-bandwidth dual-link DVI-I outputs that are ideal for driving multiple high-quality professional displays from a single graphics accelerator including today’s high-end 9.2 Megapixel displays.
  • Multiview Capabilities: Wildcat Realizm technology integrates 3Dlabs’ fifth-generation Multiview Genlock and Framelock capabilities for seamless synchronization and edge blending between displays and systems for visual simulation, virtual reality and broadcast applications.
  • Comprehensive Operating System Support: Wildcat Realizm also offers support for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms running Windows and Linux operating systems.
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