NEC Electronics Inc. debuts 3D graphics processor family based on NEC and VideoLogic's PowerVR Technology.MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 26, 1996--NEC Electronics Inc. Monday introduced a family of high-performance, scalable 3D graphics processors that deliver new levels of performance and realistic, real-time 3D imaging.
The processors are the core of PowerVR technology, a new 3D rendering architecture developed by NEC (NEC Corporation, Tokyo, www.nec.com, www.necus.com) An electronics conglomerate known in the U.S. for its monitors. In Japan, it had the lion's share of the PC market until the late 1990s (see PC 98).
NEC was founded in Tokyo in 1899 as Nippon Electric Company, Ltd. and VideoLogic. The PowerVR architecture allows content developers to create a single game for a variety of system platforms, inevitably speeding time-to-market.
Family members include PCX (1) A bitmapped graphics file format that handles monochrome, 2-bit, 4-bit, 8-bit and 24-bit color and uses RLE to achieve compression ratios of approximately 1.1:1 to 1.5:1. Images with large blocks of solid colors compress best under the RLE method. See PC Paintbrush. 1, an integrated single-chip solution for personal computers and a multi-chip solution for video arcade This article is about video arcades. For other uses of the term arcade, see Arcade.
A video arcade (also known as an amusement arcade in the United Kingdom or a game center in Japan) is a place where people play arcade video games. machines. The arcade chip set consists of an Image Synthesis Processor (ISP (1) See in-system programmable.
(2) (Internet Service Provider) An organization that provides access to the Internet. Connection to the user is provided via dial-up, ISDN, cable, DSL and T1/T3 lines. ) and a Texture Shading Processor (TSP). The single-chip PCX1 incorporates all of the features and functions of the ISP and TSP devices, plus a PCI (1) (Payment Card Industry) See PCI DSS.
(2) (Peripheral Component Interconnect) The most widely used I/O bus (peripheral bus). interface, for a cost-effective personal computer solution.
Key to NEC's 3D graphics processors' superior performance is the reduced memory architecture. NEC's processors are not affected by the memory bandwidth Memory bandwidth is the rate at which data can be read from or stored into a semiconductor memory by a processor. Memory bandwidth is usually expressed in units of bytes/second, though this can vary for systems with natural data sizes that are not a multiple of the commonly used bottleneck that limits the performance of other, conventional 3D controllers.
"NEC and VideoLogic have developed an impressive, cost-effective 3D solution for PCs, arcades and game consoles," said Jon Peddie, a leading 3D graphics analyst and editor/publisher of 3D Graphics Report newsletter. "It's robust alternative to today's 3D controllers. With NEC's ability to deliver significant volumes in 1996, PCX1 promises to be a leading contender in a field where production capacity is critical," Peddie said.
"Our partnership with VideoLogic has enabled both companies to deliver innovative solutions that will eliminate much of the time and money invested by content developers to create software for different platforms," said Mark Schoenhals, product manager for NEC Electronics. "Coupling VideoLogic's technological expertise in graphics technology and solutions in the marketplace with NEC's world-class semiconductor design and manufacturing capabilities allows NEC to meet customers' differing price/performance and time-to-market requirements."
NEC Product Solutions and Performance
PCX1 is a single chip solution targeted for use in add-in graphics cards and motherboards for personal computers. This device combines texture, shading and image synthesis processor functions, with a PCI interface on a single chip. While most 3D controllers integrate VGA (Video Graphics Array) The display standard for the PC. All PC display adapters support VGA, and Windows machines boot up in "VGA mode" before switching to higher resolutions. functions, PCX1 uses the PCI interface to access the system's VGA chip, making it compatible with most PCs and graphics controllers. Performance is 257,000 sustained (1 million peak) triangles-per-second (100 pixel triangles) at 640 x 480 resolution at 30 frames-per-second (fps) and 16.7 million colors (true color (1) Specifically, refers to 16,777,216 colors (24-bit color). See high color.
(2) Generically, refers to photo-realistic color (typically requires 24-bit color as a minimum). ) with every pixel mip mapped, textured, fogged, lit and shaded.
NEC's ISP and TSP for arcade systems are fully scalable. Designers can boost systems performance using multiple ISP chips, multiple CPUs and/or higher performance CPUs. Performance is 257,000 to more than 1 million sustained triangles-per-second at 640 x 480, 30 fps, true color, with all features turned on. Top-end performance is only limited by the number of ISPs and CPUs in the system.
NEC's devices are designed to operate with the industry's most popular microprocessors including the Intel Pentium, IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) PowerPC and MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) The execution speed of a computer. For example, .5 MIPS is 500,000 instructions per second; 100 MIPS is a hundred million instructions per second. CPUs. Graphics performance is, in part, dependent on the CPU CPU
in full central processing unit
Principal component of a digital computer, composed of a control unit, an instruction-decoding unit, and an arithmetic-logic unit. performance. As CPU performance increases, so does the 3D graphics performance of PowerVR technology-based solutions.
In the future, the company expects to introduce another integrated solution for game console manufactures that will incorporate a high-performance microprocessor core in addition to ISP and TSP functionality on a single chip.
ISP and TSP
The functions of the ISP and TSP are the core of NEC's graphics solutions. The ISP performs image synthesis which includes hidden surface removal See z buffer. , shadow generation and depth cueing. Hidden surface removal, known as Z-buffering, is carried out on the ISP. No Z-buffer memory is needed, eliminating cost as well as the bandwidth bottleneck of Z-buffer memory, which limits the performance of a conventional 3D processor.
The ISP is composed of 32 processing elements, each processing a pixel in parallel, or 32 pixels at a time. Each additional ISP added to the system adds another 32 processing elements. The result is a linear increase in performance (1x, 2x, 3x...) as additional ISPs are added to the system.
The TSP performs texturing, shading and display management. Texturing and shading are only performed on visible pixels, making performance almost completely independent of scene complexity. Deferred processing also greatly reduces the bandwidth requirements Bandwidth requirements (communications)
The channel bandwidths needed to transmit various types of signals, using various processing schemes. Every signal observed in practice can be expressed as a sum (discrete or over a frequency continuum) of sinusoidal of texture and frame-buffer memories, allowing overlays of 3D and 2D data which reduces the need for extra support chips.
NEC's 3D graphics processors are compatible with application programming interfaces (APIs) including: Microsoft DirectX and games software developers kits (SDKs); Microsoft's RealityLab; and PowerVR SGL SGL
See Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating (SGL). , a powerful, high-level API developed by VideoLogic and NEC. Support for Microsoft DirectX will allow standard Microsoft Windows See Windows.
(operating system) Microsoft Windows - Microsoft's proprietary window system and user interface software released in 1985 to run on top of MS-DOS. Widely criticised for being too slow (hence "Windoze", "Microsloth Windows") on the machines available then. 95 3D titles to exploit the capabilities of the PowerVR architecture. The PowerVR SGL gives content developers access to advanced features such as shadows and searchlights, and allows cross-platform titles for PCs, arcades and game consoles.
The PowerVR Architecture
The PowerVR architecture takes a revolutionary approach to 3D graphics systems design. Typically, 3D controllers require three memory systems: Z-buffer, texture and frame-buffer. NEC and VideoLogic eliminated the Z-buffer memory requirement and reduced the other memory bandwidth requirements. The result was a nearly limitless performance increase.
"Because PowerVR technology minimizes the memory bandwidth requirement, it will not suffer from the technology `brick wall' facing other 3D solutions," said Trevor Wing, vice president of marketing, VideoLogic. "Memory bandwidth is not critical to the PowerVR architecture. Without that performance bottleneck, PowerVR technology becomes a solution that can grow as silicon technology improves."
Further, the PowerVR solution can be used in a personal computer, arcade or console. This cross-platform scalability means a game developed for one platform can be used on any other platform using the PowerVR architecture with a software program having the same look and feel on a PC, arcade or game console.
"SEGA's early success came from customers playing the same games on both a game console and in the arcade," said Peddie. "Gamers can practice at home, then show off their skill at the arcade. With PC in this equation, the role of cross-platform scalability significantly expands -- as should interest in the PowerVR architecture."
Pricing, Packaging and Availability
The TSP and ISP devices are sampling now for approximately $210 for a chipset, and are expected to go into production in Q2 `96. The chips are packaged in plastic 352-pin perimeter ball grid array “BGA” redirects here. For other uses, see BGA (disambiguation).
A ball grid array (BGA) is a type of surface-mount packaging used for integrated circuits. (PBGA PBGA Plastic Ball Grid Array ). NEC's single-chip PCX1 is slated for sampling in Q2 `96 and volume in Q3 `96. Volume price is expected to be less than $50 in quantities of 10,000. The devices are packaged in 208-pin, plastic quad flat packs (PQFPs).
The company also offers development kits including reference boards, reference designs, Microsoft DirectX and PowerVR SGL libraries; online documentation, sample applications and model converters. For pricing and availability information, please contact the Technical Support Hotline at 800/366-9782.
VideoLogic is a leading international supplier of PC multimedia. Its market leading range of multimedia and graphics products for personal computers is sold in 50 countries through computer retail and mass merchandising channels, value added resellers and OEMs. VideoLogic Laboratories develop advanced, highly integrated multimedia semiconductors and software. VideoLogic has development agreements with Compaq, IBM, NEC. The company has a U.S. office in San Bruno San Bruno (săn br`nō), city (1990 pop. 38,961), San Mateo co., W Calif., a suburb on San Francisco Bay; inc. 1914. There is light manufacturing and petroleum refining. , Calif. and European offices in London and Frankfurt. VideoLogic PLC is a publicly traded company publicly traded company
A company whose shares of common stock are held by the public and are available for purchase by investors. The shares of publicly traded firms are bought and sold on the organized exchanges or in the over-the-counter market. on the London Stock Exchange London Stock Exchange
London marketplace for securities. It was formed in 1773 by a group of stockbrokers who had been doing business informally in local coffeehouses. .
About NEC Electronics
NEC Electronics, with headquarters in Mountain View, manufactures and markets an extensive line of electronic products including ASICs, microprocessors and microcontrollers, digital signal processors (DSP (1) (Digital Signal Processor) A special-purpose CPU used for digital signal processing applications (see definition #2 below). It provides ultra-fast instruction sequences, such as shift and add, and multiply and add, which are commonly used in math-intensive ), memories and components, including flat panel displays. The company operates a 676,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Roseville, Calif. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Dataquest, NEC Electronics ranks fourth in U.S. sales among all semiconductor companies. NEC Electronics is an affiliate of NEC eorp. (NIPNY), a $43 billion international manufacturer of computer, communications and semiconductor products.
NOTE: PowerVR is a trademark of VideoLogic. NEC, PCX1, Image Synthesis Processor and Texture Shading Processor are trademarks or registered trademarks of NEC Corp. IBM and PowerPC are trademarks or registered trademarks of IBM Corp. Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks or trademarks of Intel Corp. Compaq is a registered trademark of Compaq Computer Corp. Microsoft, Windows 95, RealityLab and Direct3D are trademarks of Microsoft Corp. MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Technologies Inc.
CONTACT: NEC Electronics
NEC Electronics Inc.
Joany Winkler Winkler may refer to:
CompuServe: GO VIDEOLOGIC
Cohn & Wolfe
Chris Wildermuth, 310/226-3094