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Friday, March 9, 2001
ATI Still Contender, Exec Says
9:59 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

Yesterday Thresh's Firing Squad posted an item which lead us to an earlier post by EBN on graphics chip maker NVIDIA's dominance of the 3D chip market. NVIDIA recently boosted that lead, of course, by releasing the GeForce 3 chipset, which possesses astounding abilities never seen before in the graphics card field.

However, at the end of that report, an ATI executive is quoted as saying that they will have a chipset ready by the end of the year that will "beat GeForce3's specifications" and also feature programmable vertexes and pixel shaders, one of the GeForce 3's primary strengths.

One-upsmanship is the rule in the brutal, sink-or-swim world of 3D graphics hardware; former rival company 3dfx found this out the hard way when their VSA-100 chip failed to meet both developers' and gamers' expectations. So such a statement might be expected from ATI, now the #2 chipmaker and practically the only other company of note in the entire market. However Thresh's Firing Squad and John Carmack both think this claim may be more than hot air -- the ATI Radeon has been a widely-praised card that anticipated many of the features that were later revealed as part of the GeForce 3 technology, such as HSV (a method for reducing internal memory bandwidth requirements) and support for 3D textures.

In fact a series of first-look benchmarks posted by tech site Digit-Life shows that the Radeon is much closer to the GeForce 3 than NVIDIA's previous card the GeForce 2 in feature set, abilities and internal architecture. Though these tests were conducted with pre-release drivers for the GeForce 3 and thus have to be taken with a grain of salt, the Radeon does stack up surprisingly well in areas that don't favor GeForce 3 specific features.

In any case the news that ATI has a rival chipset in the works is certainly good news for gamers, because it means the fight for the high end of the market will continue between NVIDIA and ATI -- and often that high-end technology trickles down to the everyday consumer market, such as with the ATI Mobility Radeon and the GeForce 2 MX. A rival ATI card would also pressure NVIDIA into bringing the GeForce 3 out of the price stratosphere; past "card wars" have created amazing price drops in very short periods of time. Time will tell, but Mac gamers should be very excited about having both of the major players in the graphics field on our platform at the same time -- Steve Jobs' wisdom in allowing competition into the Mac graphics market may be the best thing to happen to gamers this year.

GeForce 3-related Articles at IMG
"ATI says it will beat GeForce3" at Thresh's Firing Squad
GeForce 3 Analysis, Benchmarks at Digit-Life

Other Mac Games News for Friday, March 9, 2001

Deus Ex Multiplayer Map Pack Available3:37 PM
Interview With Apple's Clent Richardson1:53 PM
Interview with Neverwinter Nights Designer12:26 PM
Brian Love on Diablo II Expansion11:59 AM
Deus Ex MP Patch Install Tip10:30 AM
New Target Korea Trailer10:15 AM
Westlake on Radeon and UT-based Games10:11 AM
• ATI Still Contender, Exec Says9:59 AM
First Look at WWII Online9:34 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, March 9, 2001 on one page

Mac Games News for Thursday, March 8, 2001

Deus Ex Multiplayer Patch Released1:06 PM
On Tropico Politics11:39 AM
Pangea Lowers Prices10:46 AM
Doom 3 Q&A10:22 AM
Summoner Trailer Released10:15 AM
Tony Hawk 2, Centipede in Beta9:39 AM
Myth-ical Chess9:02 AM
WWII Online Interview9:02 AM
Westlake on Carbonized Games8:36 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, March 8, 2001 on one page

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Archives  News  ATI Still Contender, Exec Says