Join Date: Jan 2002
A Little Catch-Up Hardware News
While we’ve been hearing talk of the entry level DX8.1 chip from ATi for some months now, but still nothing official, X-Bit Labs is now talking of RV250’s successor: RV280. They believe that RV280 will be similar to RV250 in most respects differing in AGP specification only, as RV280 is thought to support the AGP8x specification. They speculate that this could have been introduced instead of RV250 but ATi doesn’t yet feel there is sufficient support for it and more testing will be required on the interface.
The Inquirer (take it as you will) are reporting that DirectX9 will not be ready until October, a date they say will be sometime after ATi will be ready to launch their R300 based graphics boards. In this piece The Inquirer state a launch date of Mid July for R300 – while I’ve heard details may be given out in July (possibly under NDA) I would be surprised if this will be the official launch / unveiling; I have had no details from ATi as yet.
Also on an ATi related note, although not (yet) strictly 3D, is in the realm of mobile devices. We’ve heard of PowerVR’s MBX mobile solution for some time now, however despite gaining a number of licences we’ve yet to see it in any hardware as yet. It would seem that ATi has read this market quite well as their 3D-less IMAGEON-100 chip can already be found in Toshiba’s PocketPC e740 and more recently ATi has joined PalmSource Inc’s ‘Palm OS Ready Program’ potentially opening further avenues with Palm devices. Lets hope we start seeing PowerVR’s MBX 3D device in silicon and products soon.
NVIDIA’s stock price took a slight nosedive recently when an investment analyst at Prudential downgraded NVIDIA’s stock upon concerns that they will no longer hold their dominance in 2003 and fear that NV30/NV31 may not make the Christmas season. While this may not be a concern for the retail space it will mean that the OEM’s will likely have refreshed their ranges which would be the big miss. However it can be said that investment analysts occasionally have their own motives for saying such things and during a recent meeting with NVIDIA they made no indications along these lines to me. Plenty of discussion on the hardware side of this topic can be located in our forums here.
On a more positive note for NVIDIA ExtremeTech are reporting that the next generation nForce platform will be unveiled on July 15. Stay tuned for more when it’s appropriate.
The SiS Xabre 3D chips announced a while back are gradually filtering out and we’re beginning to see more (p)reviews of this part, such as Firing Squads recent preview. While compatibility (hardware and software) concerns are understandably present for these new boards it seems that the SiS chipset does bring with it a reasonable level of performance for a low end part. If they can work out the compatibility issues reasonably fast then SiS have a reasonable opportunity while no other low end boards are brining the mainstay for DX8.1 features to the market.
Finally, although not strictly hardware (although it’s makes most of our hardware operate games!) Microsofts DirectX8.1b Runtime is available for download here. No word on what this fixes or resolves.
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