GeForce 3, DOOM Engine Demoed in Tokyo
8:58 AM | Lucian Fong | Comment on this story
Another MacWorld has passed and another round of exciting announcements has come from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Perhaps the most exciting gaming news coming from MacWorld Tokyo was the debut of the NVIDIA GeForce 3 GPU (graphics processing unit). Codenamed NV20, it was previously speculated that the GeForce 3 would be announced for the PC near the end of February. No one, except for industry insiders, expected it to debut first on the Macintosh, let alone demo at MacWorld Tokyo. An NVIDIA engineer showed off the power of the GeForce 3 by rendering one of Pixar's first movies in real time. Here is the description of this chip's capabilites, taken from the Apple Store:
The NVIDIA GeForce3 graphics chip is the personal computer industry's most advanced graphics processing unit ever. With more than 57 million transistors its able to perform 800 million operations per second including 76 billion floating point operations per second (GigaFLOPS). Powered by the new NVIDIA nfiniteFX engine and the LightSpeed Memory Architecture, the GeForce3 GPU enables user to experience a much richer 3D graphics environment than they ever have before. Featuring a large 64MB DDR SDRAM frame buffer it can handle a new generation of games and professional applications that use large texture maps. Naturally the GeForce3 supports very high resolutions with full color support (up to 2048 x 1536 at 32 bits per pixel).Detailed specifications, such as core clock and memory speed, fillrate, and features, were not available at press time, but you can be sure that IMG will bring you the complete scoop once they are available.
The GeForce 3 demo was concluded when John Carmack of id Software took the stage and gave the first public demonstration of the new DOOM engine under MacOS X. The engine will be powering id's next game, and as is expected of Carmack it will bring yet another revolution in graphics engines and gamers' expectations of what is possible. As mentioned several times in the past, all of id's future Mac games will support MacOS X only.
The GeForce 3 will be available seperately and as BTO for $600 and $350, respectively, beginning in late-March or early-April. Because of this chip's high rate of heat dissapation, don't expect to see it in anything but G4 towers for now.
Steve Jobs also announced an update to the iMacs, paring down the number of offerings to three. In addition to the standard bevy of ports, all models now include two Firewire ports, VGA video out, and an Airport slot. More importantly, Apple has increased the speeds of the iMacs to 400, 500, and 600 MHz. The top two models use IBM's PowerPC 750cx (G3) processor, which has 256 K of on-die L2 cache running at full processor speed. Also included in those models are slot-loading CD-RW drives and ATi's Rage 128 Ultra graphics chip. Apple has eliminated the Ruby and Sage colors, while adding Blue Dalmation and Flower Power to the lineup, and retaining Indigo and Graphite. You'll have to visit Apple's website for pictures of the new colors schemes. They are quite shocking, to say the least.
The long rumored "headless iMac" also made its debut in the form of the $1299 G4 Cube. A new model featuring more RAM, a larger hard drive, and a CD-RW drive was added at the $1599 price point There are a couple of descrepancies between the Apple Store and Apple's G4 Cube page though. The specifications page lists the $1599 G4 Cube as having a 40 GB hard drive and a Radeon AGP, but the Apple Store only includes a 20 GB hard drive and a Rage 128 Pro. Hopefully, the former is the correct configuration, otherwise, you would essentially be paying $300 for 64 MB more RAM and a CD-RW drive.
Steve Jobs also cut the price of the 22" Apple Cinema Display to $2999 and announced iTunes 1.1, which now supports over 25 third party CD-RW drives.
MacNN Keynote Coverage
If you'd like a more detailed recap of all the happenings at the MacWorld Tokyo keynote, jump to MacNN and MacCentral for their keynote coverage.
MacCentral Keynote Coverage
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