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Wednesday, November 15, 2000
3dfx, ATI Interviews
3:54 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

A pair of interviews with graphics chip development rivals 3dfx and ATI have appeared on the net. While neither interview deals with the Mac platform directly, they do provide an inside look at these companies and where they may be going with their hardware plans for the future.

The interview with K.Y. Ho, CEO of ATI, was conducted by Gamecenter Alliance member Gamer's Depot. While this interview primarily focuses on the rivalry between NVIDIA and ATI now that both are competing for the same OEM markets, it does contain some interesting details. One question reveals that there are no plans for a Radeon card using MAXX technology, ATI's trick for putting dual processors on the same card; instead, this dual-processor approach will have to wait until the Radeon 2 has been released. Here is an excerpt:

GD: Are you guys looking into implementing MAXX technology with the Radeon?

K.Y.: Oh definitely, because that allows us to take one step right away, but the one thing you need to have is a  bridge chip, but it doesn’t make sense right now because of timing. The problem is that the bridge chip is not available yet and by the time we finish, Radeon2 is coming out, so it doesn’t make sense. But maybe by then we will have the bridge chip ready for Radeon2 and that’s OK, then we would have a full product life cycle. (laughs)

The idea of a card with 2 Radeon2 chips on board simple boggles the mind, when considering our experience with the blazing Radeon card. There is no firm release date for the Radeon2 chip, but there is every reason to expect it to appear for the Mac OS when it is available.

The interview with Karen Gleitsmann of 3dfx, conducted by Aussie site BigKid, is quite an interesting read in its own right. Not only does she let slip that she has a Mac at home, but she also discusses her own attitudes towards gaming. There aren't many details on future plans for 3dfx, but there is a good summary of the advantages of Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing:

Could you explain the rationale behind 3dfx's push toward FSAA?

We were originally on this path of where the frame rate was the Holy Grail. If you could get a higher frame rate, then you were the best. If you got this higher bar on the benchmarks, then you were the best. But you get to the point where you get so many frames in a second, it's just not interesting anymore. I don't really know too many people who want to play their games at 120+ frame rates per second. Once you exceed 75 or 100 fps, the benefits from higher frame rates diminish.

The processing power that we put out is so much faster nowadays. We're trying to translate that extra horsepower, that extra frame rate you have, into higher image quality and making your pixels look better. We'd like to take all that extra power and give people options of what to do with it. Let's concentrate on how we can trade off that excess frame rate to make things look better. Sampling a scene multiple times so you have straight lines that are actually straight instead of jagged; so you have better looking objects. Your objects could be more cinematically accurate in terms of shadows, in terms of motion blur and depth of field focal shift and other effects.

There is also some discussion of 3dfx developer relations and the 3dfx 'Total Immersion' clinic for developers. Read both interviews for more insight into the two companies that make Mac gaming faster and better looking with each new product.

ATI Radeon AGP Review
3dfx Voodoo5 5500 PCI Review
ATI Interview at Gamer's Depot
3dfx Interview at BigKid

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