Nvidia’s GeForce 3 chip is coming to the Mac first and will be available as a BTO (build to order) option from Apple soon.
The high-end chip will cost US$600, will be available in late March, and can be ordered by customers or resellers, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during his Feb. 22 Macworld Tokyo keynote. He said the GeForce 3 was the “most advanced graphic chip ever” (boasting 57 million transistors and a workload of 76 gigaflops).
“We’ve been working very closely with Nvidia and have developed a great relationship with them,” Jobs said. “We think the GeForce 3 will spark a revolution in real-time graphics.”
David Kirk, chief scientist at Nvidia, showed a demo of the GeForce running on a G4 under Mac OS 9. Then John Carmack of
Id Software showed some of the gaming company’s future work running on the chip under Mac OS X.
“We’ve been doing hacks and tricks for years, but now we’ll be able to do things we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Carmack said. “For instance, every light has its own highlight and every surface casts a shadow, like in the real world. Everything can behave the same now and we can apply effects for every pixel.”
During the eye-popping demo, what was shown was in actual game code and being done in real-time, he added.
“We’re very excited about the quality we’re getting,” Carmack added. “This is a wonderful time to be in graphics and the GeForce 3 is the most exciting thing we’ve had to work with in years.”
Jobs said that the GeForce 3 would be a “landmark” in computer graphics.
Special thanks to MacCentral reader Brian Hendrickson for the photos used in this story.