Graphics chip maker
Nvidia Corp. has officially announced the GeForce3 for the PC. The announcement has taken place almost a week after the chip was first
unveiled to the public during the keynote address for Macworld Expo Tokyo.
To officially show the GeForce3 to PC folks, Nvidia has chose the Intel Developer’s Forum, which is taking place through Thursday at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.
Nvidia president and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang used the announcement to share his company’s vision of the future of 3D technology.
“Over the next several years we will create dramatic advances in 3D technology. Rich 3D graphics are the essence of a variety of digital appliances, from workstations to PCs to game consoles, like Microsoft’s Xbox. The GeForce3 GPU represents a quantum leap forward in computer graphics and will redefine these platforms,” said Huang.
Outside of announcing the chip for the PC, Nvidia hasn’t unveiled a whole lot that is news to Macintosh users. The GeForce3 GPU has already been described in some depth by Nvidia in
a briefing with reporters last week — it features a new core technology called the nfiniteFX Engine, which enables developers to program their own custom looks and special effects. The hardware also sports the Lightspeed Memory Architecture, which promises much better performance that what’s been available even by Nvidia in the past.
The nfiniteFX Engine has benefits for Mac and PC software developers alike, but Nvidia indicated that the hardware’s vertex and pixel shading technology is the same as what’s been licensed to Microsoft for DirectX 8. DirectX is a suite of APIs that Microsoft makes available to Windows developers that helps them to more easily create 3D games and applications, networking support, support for game peripherals, and more. Also, Nvidia said that the chip’s core technology is the same as what’s used in the Xbox, the next-generation video game console currently in development by Microsoft. Xbox is expected to be released later this year.
“Exciting new PCs equipped with GeForce3 will be available next month,” said Nvidia. Nvidia did not mention what PC manufacturers will be making GeForce3-based cards available to their customers, however.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs
said last week at Macworld Expo Tokyo that the GeForce3 will be “available first on the Mac,” which some have taken to mean that the GeForce3 will ship on the Mac first. The issue has generated tremendous contention between Mac users and PC users — many PC users claim that the GeForce3 will ship at the same time PCs as it will on the Mac, perhaps even sooner. Regardless, Apple is the first computer maker to accept orders for computers equipped with the new graphics hardware.
The Apple Store is now accepting orders for Power Mac G4s equipped with a graphics card configured with the GeForce3 chip. The GeForce3-equipped card adds $350 onto the price of a build-to-order Power Mac G4, with availability expected in March. The Apple Store also has listed a GeForce3 upgrade kit for AGP-equipped Power Mac G4s, although they are not presently taking orders for the kit. The kit will be available in late April for $599.