Cirrus Logic Unveils Family of Arcade- Action 3D Solutions for the PC Market; 3D Engine Optimized for Microsoft Direct3D and Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port.
These accelerators deliver more than three times the performance of current 3D solutions, with over 50 million perspective-corrected texels per second. Additionally, Laguna3D chips are the first optimized to support both the Microsoft Direct3D API for real-time 3D graphics as well as Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP).
At a special press briefing today, Cirrus Logic demonstrated the Laguna3D accelerator (CL-GD5464) and disclosed details about the Laguna3D-AGP version. The CL-GD5464 Laguna3D chip, available now, is a 64-bit multimedia accelerator that offers arcade-action 3D graphics accompanied by fast 2D and motion video.
Both new Laguna3D family members deliver the highest sustained 3D performance of existing consumer market solutions, due to an innovative texture-management scheme and advanced memory technology. The Laguna3D family leverages the bandwidth advantages of 600MHz and 667MHz Rambus DRAM (RDRAM) memory technologies, and features a powerful graphics engine that performs 3D rendering functions using Cirrus Logic's TextureJet architecture for high-speed texture management.
"Our new 3D solutions will enable manufacturers to substantially reduce the price point for next-generation 3D graphics add-in cards and mother boards," said Robert V. Dickinson, president of Cirrus Logic's Graphics Company.
"We've designed the Laguna3D family to provide the most aggressive 3D performance going forward for mainstream PCs. With this family, we provide workstation-class performance levels for applications ranging from PC games to Internet 3D and video."
"Creative's Graphics Blaster line of accelerator cards achieve outstanding performance with Cirrus Logic's powerful chips," said Hock Leow, vice president of graphics and audio for Creative Labs. "With Laguna3D, we will offer an excellent 2D/3D solution at a very affordable price, further enabling us to build upon Creative's success in this market."
Support for Standard APIs
To ensure full support for Direct3D-based applications, the new chips address all the key features of this API, including accelerated low-resolution modes, hardware arithmetic stretching and multiple display buffering. The Laguna3D family also supports the CGL interface from Creative Labs, as well as Open GL for workstation-level applications.
John Latta, president of 4th Wave, a technology assessment research firm, noted, "As more Direct3D-based titles stream to market throughout 1997, Cirrus Logic's Laguna family is well positioned to optimize virtually all of the Direct3D acceleration features."
Enhanced 3D Performance With TextureJet Architecture
Laguna3D accelerators support key 3D rendering functions in hardware, such as Gouraud shading, perspective correction, Z-buffering, texture map filtering, alpha blending, fogging and texture decompression.
According to Jon Peddie of the research firm Jon Peddie Associates, "Our research shows that a major problem, recognized in the developer industry as a top issue impacting 3D graphics performance, is getting textures in and out of memory."
Designed to address this problem, the Laguna3D devices deliver the highest sustained arcade-performance levels currently available, combining the advantages of Cirrus Logic's TextureJet architecture with those of RDRAM memory.
The TextureJet architecture is a powerful texture-management scheme that addresses the need to make 3D experiences more realistic through higher resolutions and faster action. By implementing a hardware texture manager and a sophisticated PCI/AGP bus mastering scheme, TextureJet architecture enables the Laguna3D chips to display an increased amount of complex textures at fluid 30fps (frames per second) motion.
While the bus master maximizes system throughput, the hardware texture manager significantly reduces the CPU-consuming need to access the frame buffer when moving textures between system memory and the 3D graphics subsystem. It achieves this by supporting 1K of texture cache for storage, and by featuring an on-chip address translation table that tracks, via dynamic random accessing, all the memory locations of textures being used.
With this built-in hardware texture manager, the Laguna3D architecture inherently supports Intel's AGP model, allowing easy migration to full support for AGP.
Enhanced 3D Performance with RDRAM
From a memory architecture perspective, Rambus memories deliver over 600Mbytes-per-second memory bandwidth, yet they are as affordable as conventional DRAMs, making them ideal for high-bandwidth 3D consumer applications. RDRAMs use a high-speed 8-bit-wide interface, which minimizes the number of controller pins required for the memory interface and allows the continued and cost-effective use of popular 208-pin packages.
The next-generation product in the Laguna3D family, the Laguna3D-AGP accelerator (CL-GD5465), will add support for Intel's Accelerated Graphics Port. AGP will provide even higher bandwidth and lower-latency connections between the graphics subsystem and system memory, raising 3D graphics performance to workstation level.
Cirrus Logic is able to deliver the first AGP-compliant product ahead of competing solutions, because the internal architecture of Laguna 3D is built around the AGP programming model. This lets system and peripherals manufacturers take advantage of the programming model now and be ahead of the time-to-market curve when AGP core logic and operating systems are available.
"Cirrus Logic has really taken a leadership position by implementing the Accelerated Graphics Port interface," said Carl Everett, senior vice president of Intel Corporation. "Top industry support such as Cirrus' will help drive compelling high-performance 3D graphics into the mainstream PC platform."
A Balanced Product
The mainstream market for multimedia graphics solutions requires integrated 3D, 2D, and video functionality. Besides their 3D features, the new chips support high-performance 2D graphic resolutions of up to 1600 x 1200 at 85MHz and true color operation up to 1024 x 768. This very high resolution stems from a high-speed, integrated 230MHz DAC and clock synthesizer and a full-featured VGA controller. Video playback capabilities include displaying a high-quality, scaleable MPEG2 video window.
Price, Packaging and Availability
The CL-GD5464 is packaged in a 208-pin plastic quad flat pack (PQFP) and is now shipping in volume. Cost at 10,000 units is $29.50. The Laguna3D-AGP accelerator is expected to sample in Q4 96 with production volumes available in Q1 97.
Cirrus Logic Inc. is a leading manufacturing of advanced integrated circuits for the desktop and portable computing, telecommunications and consumer electronics markets. The company applies its system-level expertise in digital and analog design to innovate highly integrated, software-rich solutions.
Additional information about Cirrus Logic and its subsidiaries can be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.cirrus.com/ or via fax-on-demand at 800/359-6414 (dial 510/249-4200 from outside the United States.) -0-
Note to Editors: Laguna3D and TextureJet are trademarks of Cirrus Logic, Inc. Rambus is a registered trademark and RDRAM is a trademark of Rambus Inc. Graphics Blaster is a trademark of Creative Labs, Inc. Microsoft and Direct3D are either registered trademarks on trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks noted herein are registered to the respective owners.
CONTACT: Cirrus Logic Inc. (editor contact)
Connie Duncan, 510/226-2346
Saul Altabet, 510/252-6286 (reader contact)
Tsantes & Associates (editor contact)
Mary Jane Reiter, 408/452-8700
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|Date:||Sep 24, 1996|
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