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VSIS unveils 3DPro -- Workstation-Class 3D Graphics Technology For The PC; New graphics technology -- codeveloped by VSIS, Mitsubishi Electric and Evans & Sutherland -- to deliver real-time, true-color, 3D cost-effectively to the PC.

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 12, 1996--VSIS Inc., the new Mitsubishi Electronics America Silicon Valley design start-up company, today unveiled its new 3DPro(TM) technology designed to bring workstation-class 3D graphics to the PC at an affordable system cost.

Codeveloped by VSIS Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation (NASDAQ:ESSC), the 3DPro technology enables real-time, high-resolution, true-color 3D graphics on Pentium(R) or Pentium(R) Pro-based PCs.

According to Stephen Hester, executive vice president, VSIS Inc.: "Today's announcement signifies delivery on the 1995 technology development partnership between Mitsubishi, VSIS and Evans & Sutherland, to produce professional 3D graphics products for the personal computer market. All three companies brought their core competencies to bear on the new 3DPro architecture. Mitsubishi Electric contributed its 3D-RAM and Cached DRAM graphics memory products and deep submicron silicon process technology, Evans & Sutherland provided its extensive 2D and 3D rendering design and well-known Velocity(TM) software expertise, and VSIS brought its extensive graphics market expertise and systems-level knowledge to bring it all together."

The 3DPro technology handles three stages in the 3D graphics pipeline: geometry (setup), rendering and rasterization, to enable cost-effective, high-end, professional, 3D CAD, visualization, simulation and digital content creation applications on a PC platform and price point.

3DPro Offers Workstation-level Performance, Rich 3D Features

The 3DPro technology processes up to 2 million polygons per second and is scalable as CPU performance increases. It also processes 60 million pixels per second at 66 MHz (32-bit, perspective-corrected, blended and clipped, bilinear MIP mapped). This performance is dramatically superior to 3D graphics technologies currently available on the market and compares favorably to a UNIX workstation, such as Silicon Graphics' High Impact(TM).

The 3DPro technology provides full OpenGL(R) hardware acceleration and supports professional-level 1280 x 1024 resolution with true 24-bit, double-buffered RGB color with 8-bits of alpha, and a 24-bit Z-buffer with 8-bit overlay/Window ID. 3DPro will be the first to truly close the 3D performance gap between PCs and workstations.

The 3D features supported by Mitsubishi's 3DPro technology include Gouraud shading, fog, transparency, antialiasing, perspective-correct bilinear and trilinear MIP mapping, overlay planes, alphablending, depth cueing, lights, stenciling, stippling, scissoring and window clipping. Video support includes 30 fps hardware and software MPEG support, YUV/RGB color space conversion, and scaling and perspective calculations.

Robust Hardware and Software Support

The 3DPro offers robust hardware and software support, including Windows NT(R) and Windows(R) 95, as well as API support for OpenGL(R), Autodesk(R) Heidi(TM), and Microsoft(R) Direct3D(TM). This means that most any 3D software application will be accelerated with Mitsubishi's 3DPro technology.

In addition, the 3DPro will support the industry-standard PCI bus (single slot, PCI version 2.1), with future support for AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port). Future processor support for the 3DPro includes Digital Equipment's Alpha(TM) microprocessor.

Independent Software Developers Enthusiastically Support 3DPro

3DPro technology was designed specifically for high-end, 3D-intensive authoring applications on the PC, including computer aided design (CAD), digital content creation, simulation and visualization and is already receiving enthusiastic support from independent software developers.

According to Lightscape Technologies Inc. Product Marketing Manager Nicholas Napp: "The Lightscape Visualization System(TM) for NT offers the same functionality as its UNIX cousin. Our NT customers are looking forward to new hardware, such as 3DPro, that will bring UNIX-level 3D acceleration to their NT environment."

Advanced Visual Systems Inc. Product Manager Jim Aucoin indicates that: "Increasing numbers of business users are identifying the usefulness of data visualization to spot trends or identify anomalies in huge amounts of data. With key technology and support from companies like Mitsubishi, Evans and Sutherland, and VSIS, we foresee increased price performance leading to growth in this market."

Said Jim Oyler, president and CEO of Evans & Sutherland: "3DPro is the next paradigm in 3D computing. Earlier generations of graphics-intensive applications were cumbersome, and the software tools were expensive. Now, with 3DPro, using REALimage(TM) technology, we have broken the barrier, ushering in very fast professional graphics on the NT workstation. That's where software and standards will be set, and we're there."

Stephen Hester continued: "We believe 3DPro is the genesis of the next paradigm in 3D computing. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, we began to see computer-generated 3D graphics on the `big screen.' These were created with extremely expensive supercomputers. Then, in the early to mid 1980s we saw the emergence of workstations to generate faster, better and much less expensive 3D graphics and animation. Now, with the 3DPro, we are ushering in real-time, workstation-level 3D graphics, cost effectively on the PC platform."

Hester concluded: "Up to now, 3D graphics have been possible on the PC platform, but there have been many compromises -- agonizingly slow screen redraws, low image quality and low resolution. 3DPro brings what we call `no compromise' 3D to the PC. It is indeed what the industry has been waiting for."

Advanced 3DPro Architecture Key to Cost-effective PC Performance

The 3DPro's advanced architecture is the key to its performance and cost-effectiveness on the PC platform. It combines the best of graphics memory technologies from Mitsubishi Electric, renowned software and hardware graphics acceleration technology from Evans & Sutherland, and systems design expertise from VSIS.

The key components of the 3DPro are Mitsubishi's 3D-RAM frame buffer memory, Evans & Sutherland's REALimage graphics engine, and Mitsubishi's Cached DRAM (CDRAM) which functions as local texture memory.

Mitsubishi's 3D-RAM frame buffer memory improves data transfer rates by integrating key functions on one integrated circuit, including an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) to accelerate Z-buffering and alphablending. In this way, the 3D-RAM eliminates read-modify-write bottlenecks and enables the 3DPro to achieve its high-level 3D graphics performance.

Mitsubishi's CDRAM texture memory incorporates high-speed, on-board SRAM cache enabling fast texel access. This allows the REALimage graphics engine to rapidly generate richly detailed, real-time texture mapped images. The CDRAM maintains low latency even under the demanding requirements of trilinear MIP mapping.

Evans & Sutherland's REALimage graphics rendering technology is a 2D/3D graphics engine with full OpenGL acceleration. It also includes Evans & Sutherland's Velocity software that supports the highest level of OpenGL performance (version 1.1).

Developer Program, Manufacturing and Availability

A developer program for 3DPro is being initiated now. Samples of the 3DPro will be available in the fall of this year, with production volumes slated for the spring of 1997.

The key 3DPro components, the 3D-RAM, the CDRAM and the rendering controller based on REALimage technology, will be manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation.

About Evans & Sutherland

Evans & Sutherland (E&S) manufactures hardware and software for highly realistic visual systems that produce high-quality, 3D graphics and synthetic environments for a variety of simulation, training, engineering, and virtual reality applications. The company has delivered visual systems for simulation and training to the civil aviation and defense industries, every U.S. branch of service, allied military forces and NASA, museums, planetariums, and location-based entertainment centers. E&S was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in the University of Utah Research Park, Lake City, Utah. The E&S home page is located at

About VSIS and Mitsubishi Electric

VSIS Inc. (pronounced "Vee-sis") is a Silicon Valley-based start-up design company incorporated in Delaware on April 1, 1996, with 100 percent venture capital funding provided by Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc. VSIS' mission is to address the emerging systems-level applications requirements of North American customers and to define and design chipset and system-on-a-chip solutions to meet those needs. As an autonomous entrepreneurial company, VSIS is managed by a board of directors as a profit-making venture. The company employs several business models to create intellectual property, business opportunities, end-products and bottom-line income. These business models include augmenting Mitsubishi Electric core technologies with internal R & D, codevelopment and strategic alliances, whole or partial company or technology acquisition, technology transfer and technology licensing. The name "VSIS" is derived from the phrase "VLSI System Solutions." -0-

NOTE TO EDITORS: VSIS and the VSIS logo are trademarks, and "The System Is The Chip" is a service mark of VSIS Inc., a Mitsubishi Electric America Inc. group company.

Mitsubishi and the Mitsubishi logo are registered trademarks of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation in the U.S., Japan and other countries.

CONTACT: The Horn Group

Susan Rozmanith, 415/579-6447



John Garner, 408/774-3191
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Aug 12, 1996
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